Matthew 6:25 MEANING

Matthew 6:25
(25) Take no thought.--The Greek word some times thus translated, and sometimes by "care" or "be careful" (1 Corinthians 7:32-34; Philippians 2:20; Philippians 4:6), expresses anxiety, literally, the care which distracts us. And this was, in the sixteenth century, the meaning of the English phrase "take thought." Of this we have one example in 1 Samuel 9:5; other examples of it are found in Shakespeare, "take thought, and die for Caesar" (Julius Caesar, ii. 1), or Bacon (Henry the Eighth, p. 220), who speaks of a man "dying with thought and anguish" before his case was heard. The usage of the time, therefore, probably led the translators of 1611 to choose the phrase, as stronger than the "be not careful" which in this passage stood in all previous versions. The changing fortune of words has now made it weaker, and it would be better to substitute "over-careful" or "over-anxious." The temper against which our Lord warns His disciples is not that of foresight, which merely provides for the future, but the allowing ourselves to be harassed and vexed with its uncertainties. To "take thought" in the modern sense is often the most effectual safeguard (next to the higher defence of trust in God) against "taking thought" in the older.

For your life.--The Greek word is the same as that commonly rendered "soul," and the passage is interesting as an example of its use in the wider sense which includes the lower as well as the higher life. (Comp. Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16:25; Mark 3:4, et at.) We note in the form of the precept the homeliness of the cases selected as illustration. We hear the language of One who speaks to peasants with their simple yet pressing wants, not to the wider cares of the covetous or ambitious of a higher grade.

Is not the life more than meat, . . .?--The reasoning is a fortiori. God has given you the greater, can you not trust Him to give you also the less? In some way or other there will come food to sustain life, and clothing for the body, and men should not so seek for more as to be troubled about them.

Verses 25-34. - These verses, with the exception of the last, which should perhaps hardly be included, are very similar to the parallel passage, Luke 12:22-32. It seems probable that in the differences Luke preserves the more original form (cf. the notes on the separate verses, infra). What their original position was is another question. Their immediate sequence in Luke to the parable of the rich fool is no doubt perfectly natural, and is accepted by most commentators as original; but the connexion with the context here is so close that, especially with the probabilities of the case in vers. 22, 23, and ver. 24, St. Matthew may, after all, have recorded them in their original place. Our Lord says in these verses, "Dare to follow out this warning that I have given you about double service into your daily life. Do not give way to anxiety about the things of life, but look up to God in steady gaze of faith; he will provide." 'Or, more in detail - If God has given you life, shall he not add the food and the clothing (ver. 25)? Anxiety about the support of your life is needless (witness the birds, ver. 26) and powerless (witness the limit of a man's life, ver. 27); while as for clothing, it is equally needless (witness the flowers, ver. 28) and comparatively powerless (witness Solomon's own case, ver. 29). Remember your relation to God (ver. 30). Therefore do not give way to the least anxiety about these things (ver. 31), because this is to fall to the level of the Gentiles, and also because God, whose children you are, knows your needs (ver. 32). But make his cause, without and within, your great object, and all your needs shall be supplied (ver. 33). Therefore be not at all anxious, bear the burden of each day only as each day comes round (ver. 34). Verse 25. - Therefore (διὰ τοῦτο). Because of this fact last mentioned, the impossibility of dividing your service. Cease to be anxious about things of this life, for anxiety about these is a mark of your attempting this impossibility. I say unto you. Though the absence of the personal pronoun (unlike Matthew 5:22, etc.) shows that he is not here contrasting himself with them or with others, yet he still emphasizes his authority. Take no thought; Revised Version, be not anxious (μὴ μεριμνᾶτε). The translation of the Authorized Version, which was quite correct in its day (cf. also 1 Samuel 9:5), is now archaic, and therefore often misunderstood. For the popular derivation of μεριμνάω ("division," "distraction"), cf. 1 Corinthians 7:33, "But he that is married is anxious for (μεριμνᾷ) the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and is divided (μεμέρισται)." Observe that forethought in earthly matters was practised by our Lord himself (John 12:6). For your life (τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν). In the Gospels ψυχή is the immaterial part of man, his personality as we should say, which survives death (Matthew 10:28), and is the chief object of a man's care (Matthew 10:39, where see note). What ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink. Although the second clause is omitted by א and a few chiefly "Western" authorities, it is probably genuine, especially as there is no trace of it in Luke (but cf. Westcott and Heft, 'Introd.,' p. 176). Is not the life more than meat? i.e. you possess the greater, shall there not be given to you the less? Humphry compares Matthew 23:17. Meat; Revised Version, the food (τῆς τροφῆς); i.e. the Revised Version

(1) changes "meat" to its modern equivalent,

(2) defines with the Greek the food as that which is necessary for the body. Similarly before "raiment."

6:25-34 There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often insnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life,.... Since ye cannot serve both God and "mammon", obey one, and neglect the other. Christ does not forbid labour to maintain, support, and preserve, this animal life; nor does he forbid all thought and care about it, but all anxious, immoderate, perplexing, and distressing thoughts and cares; such as arise from diffidence and unbelief, and tend to despair; which are dishonourable to God, as the God of nature and providence, and uncomfortable to men:

what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. The several and the only things, which are necessary for the support and comfort of human life, are mentioned; as meat, drink, and clothing; Eating and drinking are necessary to preserve life; and raiment, to cover and defend the body, from the injuries of the heavens: and having these, men have everything necessary, and ought herewith to be content; nor should they be anxiously thoughtful about these: for

is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? And yet, God has given these without man's thought: and since these are better, and much more excellent, than food and raiment, as all must and will acknowledge; and God has given these the greater gifts, it may be depended upon, that he will give the lesser; that he will give meat and drink; to uphold that valuable life, which he is the author of; and raiment to clothe that body, which he, with so much wisdom and power, has accurately and wonderfully made.

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