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11

Give us this day our daily bread.


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Fourth Petition:

11. Give us this day our daily bread—The compound word here rendered "daily" occurs nowhere else, either in classical or sacred Greek, and so must be interpreted by the analogy of its component parts. But on this critics are divided. To those who would understand it to mean, "Give us this day the bread of to-morrow"—as if the sense thus slid into that of Luke "Give us day by day" (Lu 11:2, (as Bengel, Meyer, &c.) it may be answered that the sense thus brought out is scarcely intelligible, if not something less; that the expression "bread of to-morrow" is not at all the same as bread "from day to day," and that, so understood, it would seem to contradict Mt 6:34. The great majority of the best critics (taking the word to be compounded of ousia, "substance," or "being") understand by it the "staff of life," the bread of subsistence, and so the sense will be, "Give us this day the bread which this day's necessities require." In this case, the rendering of our authorized version (after the Vulgate, Luther and some of the best modern critics)—"our daily bread"—is, in sense, accurate enough. (See Pr 30:8). Among commentators, there was early shown an inclination to understand this as a prayer for the heavenly bread, or spiritual nourishment; and in this they have been followed by many superior expositors, even down to our own times. But as this is quite unnatural, so it deprives the Christian of one of the sweetest of his privileges—to cast his bodily wants in this short prayer, by one simple petition, upon his heavenly Father. No doubt the spiritual mind will, from "the meat that perisheth," naturally rise in thought to "that meat which endureth to everlasting life." But let it be enough that the petition about bodily wants irresistibly suggests a higher petition; and let us not rob ourselves—out of a morbid spirituality—of our one petition in this prayer for that bodily provision which the immediate sequel of this discourse shows that our heavenly Father has so much at heart. In limiting our petitions, however, to provision for the day, what a spirit of childlike dependence does the Lord both demand and beget!




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