- (AMP) Give us daily our bread [food for the morrow].
- (ASV) Give us day by day our daily bread.
- (BBE) Give us every day bread for our needs.
- (CEV) Give us each day the food we need.
- (ESV) Give us each day our daily bread,
- (ISV) Keep giving us every day our daily bread,
- (LITV) Give us our needed bread day by day;
- (MSG) Keep us alive with three square meals.
- (Murdock) give us daily the bread we need;
Why have I given you so many different translations for such a simple verse? The reason is as you will see from the verses above, there are lots of variation. I have not realized before there was such a huge debate over this verse. It is only now that I am looking at this in detail that I have found there is so much discussion over it. The debate centres around the use of two different words. They are “daily” and “bread“. The last one is the simplest to explain. The first word is more involved and so I will leave that till last.
The word [artos] literally means bread. But it has a wider sense of “food” and more general still related to “the basic food staple needed for us to exist”. Whether that means potatoes in the West or rice in Asia or taro in the Pacific Islands or chapati on the Indian subcontinent, the basic component of food is what is being meant. Beyond that the idea is everything that is really needed by man for his earthly physical existence. So you can see the variation in the translations above as they switch between the shades of meaning contained in the nuances of [artos}. “Bread” as in the Amplified Bible, the American Standard Version, the Bible in Basic English, English Standard Version, International Standard Version, the Literal Version and Murdock’s translation is the most frequently used option. But note the additional variation of “needs” in the BBE, the CEV, Murdock’s version and the added sense in MSG.
Let’s look at the other word in contention here; that is the word [epiousios]. This word is rare. Basically we are limited to its use here in Luke and Matthew’s version. But in Matthew’s version he adds the word [semeron], “today”, this day, this night, this current period in time. Let us examine the word [epiousios]. There is much debate over its usage because there are layers of meaning to it and it is only used in this one context.
Here are the options:
- ‘That which is necessary for existence‘, derived from [epi] meaning “for” and [ousia] meaning “existing”.
- ‘For the current day‘, or “for today”.
- ‘For the following day‘ from the construction [he epiousa]. I.e. “Tomorrow”
- Relating to that which pertains ‘to the Day of the coming Kingdom‘ from the construction [to epion] meaning “the bread of the future”.
In the first option listed above it is more the idea of the measure required to meet the need rather than the time being important (daily). Rather the sense is meeting your need, that which you need for existing. In the second option the idea is the bread we need for the coming day, this particular day which we are facing. The third option focuses on the day following this one, in other words “tomorrow”, that which is needed for the immediate future. Finally the word relates to the bread for “The Coming Day”, “The bread of the future” meaning that which we are going to enjoy in the Kingdom of God which it finally comes in all of its fullness.
You mean all of this is tied up in these few words? Yes I am afraid so. Take some time to ponder on it some more and I will bring some clarity and some application to it in the next Gem.
Never let yesterday consume too much of today, or it might destroy tomorrow!Rick Godwin
Yesterday is a cancelled check; Tomorrow is a promissory note; Today is the only cash you have, so spend it wisely.Kim Lyons
Remember, man does not live on bread alone: sometimes he needs a little buttering up.John Maxwell
Exercise daily, walk with the Lord.Anon