The Lord’s Prayer 7: “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

Articles Leave a Comment

The deceptively simple petition from Matthew 6:11, "Give us this day our daily bread," has been a matter of controversy for centuries. The unusual Greek word epiousion, which is translated "daily," is the root of the controversy. Some scholars have suggested that the original phrase contained the similar-sounding Greek word epeimi, (the next), and so meant "bread for the next day." Nevertheless, the Latin translation of the New Testament understood the word as meaning bread needed for sustenance.

This article belongs to the “Studying the Lord’s Prayer with Brad Young” series. For an overview of the entire series, click here.

The deceptively simple petition from Matthew 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread,” has been a matter of controversy for centuries. The unusual Greek word ἐπιούσιον (ep·i·OU·si·on), which is translated “daily,” is the root of the controversy. Some scholars have suggested that the original phrase contained the similar-sounding Greek word ἔπειμι (EP·ei·mi, “the next”), and so meant “bread for the next day.” Nevertheless, the Latin translation of the New Testament understood the word as meaning bread needed for sustenance.

Jerome (A.D. 342-420) remarked in his commentary on Matthew that he had found in the Gospel of the Nazarenes the Hebrew word מָחָר (mā·ḤĀR, “tomorrow”) with the word for bread. However, māḥār has no textual witness other than Jerome’s recollection, and furthermore it cannot account for the somewhat obscure Greek word epiousion. While it is true that the Greek epeimi is close to “tomorrow” in meaning, a translator most likely would have used the common Greek word for tomorrow, αὔριον (AV·ri·on), to translate the Hebrew māḥār.

Paid Content
Premium Members and Friends of JP must be logged in to access this content:

If you do not have a paid subscription, please consider registering as a Premium Member starting at $10/month (paid monthly) or only $5/month (paid annually): Register

One Time Purchase Rather Than Membership
Rather than purchasing a membership subscription, you may purchase access to this single page for $1.99 USD. To purchase access we strongly encourage users to first register for a free account with JP (
Register), which will make the process of accessing your purchase much simpler. Once you have registered you may login and purchase access to this page at this link:

Login & Purchase
To read the next article in this series, click here.
The Lord’s Prayer in Greek at the Church of the Pater Noster. Photographed by Anton 17 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
This article originally appeared in issue 15 of the Jerusalem Perspective magazine. Click on the image above to view a PDF of the original magazine article.

Leave a Reply

  • Brad H. Young

    Brad H. Young

    Brad H. Young is the founder and president of the Gospel Research Foundation, Tulsa, Oklahoma. A founding member of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research, he is professor of New Testament Studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. Young earned M.A. and Ph.D.…
    [Read more about author]

  • JP Content

  • Suggested Reading

  • Hospitality Heritage of the ChurchPetros Petra WordplayHistorical Jesus a Tanna FIDeliver Us From Evil6 Stone Water JarsEnemies of the HarvestWere Women Segregated?Luke 9-51-56—A Hebrew FragmentUnlocking the Synoptic ProblemNew Portrait of SalomeInsulting God's High PriestLoving BothMedieval JargonBeating the (Thorny) Bushes title 2Gergesa, Gerasa, or GadaraPG‘Everything Written…in the Psalms About Me’ (Luke 24-44)And OR In Order To RemarryAnti-Jewish TendenciesScribal ErrorsAllegro to ZeitlinTwena With All Due RespectTorah in the Sermon on the MountBethsaida 002Flusser Times of the GentilesIf Your Eye Be Single cover imageIntro to SynopticStewards of God's KeysBy the Finger of GodPower of ParablesTrees of LifeBest Long-TermFlusser Parables of Ill ReputeNew International JesusReich Design and MaintenanceSafrai Synagogue CenturionNun GergesaSabbath BreakersNeot KedumimWealth of Herod the GreatGood Morning, ElijahMiraculous CatchSalted With FireJewish Laws of Purity in Jesus' DayMidrash in the New TestamentAesop's Fables and the Parables of the SagesJesus’ Temptation and Its Jewish BackgroundOstracon From Qumran FlusserOrigins of Jesus' Dominical TitleDid Jesus Make Food Clean?Evidence of Pro-Roman Leanings in the Gospel of MatthewA Body, Vultures & SoMBinding and Loosingספר פתרון תורהPilgrimage in the Time of Jesus cover