Matthew 6:11 is the eleventh verse of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and forms part of the Sermon on the Mount. This verse is the third one of the Lord's Prayer, one of the best known parts of the entire New Testament. This brief verse contains the fourth petition to God.

Matthew 6:11
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Pater noster 5 (Fridolin Leiber).jpg
A 19th century depiction of this verse
BookGospel of Matthew
Christian Bible partNew Testament


The original Koine Greek, according to Westcott and Hort, reads:

Τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον[1]
(Interlinear: "The -- bread -- of-us -- - -- epiousion -- give -- us -- today")[2]
"Give us today our epiousios bread"
Matthew 6:11 [3]

Via linguistic parsing, Epiousios is translated as supersubstantialem in the Vulgate (Matthew 6:11) and accordingly as supersubstantial in the Douay-Rheims Bible (Matthew 6:11):

"Give us this day our supersubstantial bread."

Reflecting interpretations from the Vetus Latina, the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

"Give us this day our daily bread."

The English Standard Version translates the passage as:

"Give us this day our daily bread."

For a collection of other versions see BibleHub Matthew 6:11.

This petition marks a change in the character of the prayer. The first three petitions called for the glory of God in the second person. This petition, and the two that follow, call for personal needs to be met in the second person plural. Unlike the earlier parts of the prayer, there is no clear parallel to this one in Jewish prayers of that era.


There are multiple ways of interpreting this verse, primarily because of the uncertain translation of the word epiousios. The original word ἐπιούσιος (epiousios), commonly characterized as daily, is unique to the Lord's Prayer in all of ancient Greek literature. The word is almost a hapax legomenon, occurring only in Luke and Matthew's versions of the Lord's Prayer, and nowhere else in any other extant Greek texts.[4] Several other terms in the New Testament are also translated as daily, but they all reference hemeran (ἡμέραν, "the day"), which does not appear in this usage.[5]


In the New Testament era, bread was the most important food, especially for the poor and dispossessed segments of society who Jesus frequently refers to in the Sermon on the Mount. Bread was so large a part of the diet, that translating the term as simply food may be closer to its contemporary understanding.[6] Boring believes that while there may be other metaphorical meanings, this basic meaning of bread as sustenance would always have been read into the verse.[7]

Early adopters of the "daily" interpretation include the Vetus Latina manuscripts, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, and Theodore of Mopsuestia.[8] The translation of quotidianum was also used by Jerome, not while translating Matthew but when translating the same word in the Sermon in Luke. Quotidianum became the standard term in the Catholic liturgy, as the Lord's Prayer used an earlier translation than the Vulgate.[9]

One problem with this interpretation is that in Matthew 6:31 only a few verses later, Jesus tells his followers to not worry about things such as food.[10] Raymond E. Brown rejects the literal interpretation as the rest of the prayer is clearly metaphorical and eschatological, and a literal request for bread is out of place.[10]

A more difficult matter for the "daily" interpretation[citation needed] is that while epiousios is often substituted by the word "daily," all other New Testament translations from the Greek into "daily" otherwise reference hemeran (ἡμέραν, "the day"), which does not appear in this usage.[2][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

Barclay M. Newman's A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, published in a revised edition in 2010 by the United Bible Societies has the following entry:

ἐπι|ούσιος, ον (εἰμί) of doubtful meaning, for today; for the coming day; necessary for existence[21] It thus derives the word from the preposition ἐπί (epi) and the verb εἰμί (eimi), from the latter of which are derived words such as οὐσία (ousia), the range of whose meanings is indicated in A Greek-English Lexicon.[22]

Daily remains the most common translation. William Hendriksen observes that, without any real proof for alternate readings, there is no need to abandon the traditional translation that readers are familiar with. "Daily", he says, is also quite close to both the "necessary for survival" and "for the coming day" meanings, which are the most popular among scholars.[23]


The problem of epiousios was noted as early as Origen, who felt term was a neologism created by the gospel writers. He interpreted the word as meaning "necessary for existence."[24] Following this linguistic parsing, Jerome translated "ἐπιούσιον" (epiousios) as supersubstantialem in the Gospel of Matthew. This itself is a new word, not before seen in Latin.[10]

This translation has often been connected to the eucharist. The bread necessary for existence is the communion bread of the Last Supper. That the gospel writers needed to create a new word indicates to Eugene LaVerdiere that they are describing something new. Eating the communion bread at the last supper needed a new word.[25]

This wide-ranging difference with respect to meaning of epiousios is discussed in detail in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church by way of an inclusive approach toward tradition as well as a literal one for meaning:

"Taken in a temporal sense, this word is a pedagogical repetition of "this day," to confirm us in trust "without reservation." Taken in the qualitative sense, it signifies what is necessary for life, and more broadly every good thing sufficient for subsistence. Taken literally (epi-ousios: "super-essential"), it refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of Christ, the "medicine of immortality," without which we have no life within us."[26]

This interpretation was also central to the Bogomil sect. In Bulgarian Bibles to this day, epiousios is translated as daily substantial.[9]

Barclay M. Newman's A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, published in a revised edition in 2010 by the United Bible Societies has the following entry:

ἐπι|ούσιος, ον (εἰμί) of doubtful meaning, for today; for the coming day; necessary for existence[21] It thus derives the word from the preposition ἐπί (epi) and the verb εἰμί (eimi), from the latter of which are derived words such as οὐσία (ousia), the range of whose meanings is indicated in A Greek-English Lexicon.[22]

This interpretation was supported by early writers such as Augustine, Cyril of Jerusalem, Cyprian of Carthage, John Cassian[8][10] and it is still a part of Catholic doctrine. The connection to the eucharist is rejected by most current scholars. Brant Pitre notes that "it receives virtually no support among modern exegetes."[10] Boring notes that the connection with the eucharist is ahistoric as the ritual only developed some time after the Gospel was written and the author of Matthew does not seem to have any knowledge of or interest in the rituals of the eucharist.[7] Craig Blomberg agrees that these "concepts had yet to be introduced when Jesus gave his original prayer and therefore could not have been part of his original meaning."[4] Buttrick summarizes the consensus that "for centuries the church interpreted epiousios sacramentally: Bread was Eucharist. But the word does not refer to eucharistic bread."[27]


This verse can also be read in an eschatological context. Epiousios can be translated as "bread for tomorrow" or "bread for the future."[28] This translation is also advanced as a possibility by Jerome.[10] Other early supporters of this translation are Cyril of Alexandria and Peter of Laodicea.[24] Albert Schweitzer reintroduced this translation in modern times.[28]

In the New Testament bread is common "symbol of eschatological blessedness" and the metaphor of the Kingdom of Heaven as a divine banquet was a common one at the time and found at Luke 14:15.[7] The obscurity of the word epiousios could be because it specifically refers to bread of the end times, or perhaps to the manna of the Exodus 16:4, which comes in amounts sufficient for each day.[29] The link to the manna provided by God to the Israelites during Exodus could represents the reward the faithful can expect from God at the end of times.[30] Thus the prayer could be calling for a new eschatological exodus.[10]

Crump rejects this metaphorical interpretation. He notes that tomorrow is not an eschatological term in Matthew, and while bread is used metaphorically elsewhere in Matthew, the context is always clear.[29] Schweizer similarly doubts the non-literal interpretations. Throughout the gospel Jesus has been portrayed as caring for the daily needs of his followers, and his miraculously providing them with bread is a symbol of this. Schweizer feels bread was a very real need, not a metaphoric one.[30] R.T. France similarly argues that nothing in the verse implies bread should not be seen literally.[31]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ New American Bible translation
  4. ^ a b Craig L. Blomberg (5 March 2015). Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions. InterVarsity Press. pp. 131–. ISBN 978-0-8308-9933-3.
  5. ^ W. E. Vine; Merrill Unger (26 August 1996). Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words: With Topical Index. Thomas Nelson Inc. pp. 1751–. ISBN 978-1-4185-8585-3.
  6. ^ Leland Ryken; James C. Wilhoit; Tremper Longman III (11 May 2010). Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. InterVarsity Press. pp. 118–. ISBN 978-0-8308-6733-2.
  7. ^ a b c Boring, Eugene "Gospel of Matthew." The New Interpreter's Bible, volume 8 Abingdon, 1995
  8. ^ a b Nicholas Ayo (2002). The Lord's Prayer: A Survey Theological and Literary. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-7425-1453-9.
  9. ^ a b Georgi Vasilev (17 October 2007). Heresy and the English Reformation: Bogomil-Cathar Influence on Wycliffe, Langland, Tyndale and Milton. McFarland. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-7864-8667-0.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Brant Pitre (23 November 2015). Jesus and the Last Supper. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 159–. ISBN 978-1-4674-4404-0.
  11. ^ The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, 1993, The United Bible Societies, (basis: UBS4 Greek text), page x of Introduction
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b Cf. Barclay M. Newman, A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, United Bible Societies 2010 ISBN 978-3-438-06019-8.
  22. ^ a b Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon: οὐσία
  23. ^ Hendriksen, William. The Gospel of Matthew. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976
  24. ^ a b Douglas E. Oakman (1 January 2008). Jesus and the Peasants. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 217–. ISBN 978-1-59752-275-5.
  25. ^ Eugene LaVerdiere (1996). The Eucharist in the New Testament and the Early Church. Liturgical Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-8146-6152-9.
  26. ^
  27. ^ David Buttrick (2002). Speaking Jesus: Homiletic Theology and the Sermon on the Mount. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 147–. ISBN 978-0-664-22602-2.
  28. ^ a b David Edward Aune (2013). Jesus, Gospel Tradition and Paul in the Context of Jewish and Greco-Roman Antiquity: Collected Essays II. Mohr Siebeck. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-3-16-152315-1.
  29. ^ a b David Crump (1 September 2006). Knocking on Heaven's Door: A New Testament Theology of Petitionary Prayer. Baker Books. pp. 149–. ISBN 978-1-4412-3904-4.
  30. ^ a b Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975
  31. ^ R.T. France (11 July 2007). The Gospel of Matthew. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 249–. ISBN 978-0-8028-2501-8.

Preceded by
Matthew 6:10
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 6
Succeeded by
Matthew 6:12