Matthew 6:23 is the twenty-third verse of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount.


In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall
be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in
thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

The World English Bible translates the passage as:

But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be
full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you
is darkness, how great is the darkness!

For a collection of other versions see BibleHub Matthew 6:23


The previous verse established a somewhat ambiguous metaphor of the generous/undivided eye being the source of light into the body. This verse presents the opposite stating that an evil eye plunges one into darkness. The evil eye was both an expression for jealousy and for stinginess (cf. Matthew 20:15.[1]

The verse puts great emphasis on the depth of darkness that a poor spiritual eye will place a person in, because placing too much focus on wealth or possessions can distort judgment.[2] Morris feels that it implies that those who are so blinded cannot even realize that they are in darkness.[3] John Phillips suggests that here Jesus teaches the possibility of having a "spiritual astigmatism" (failing to converge vision in one focal point), and urges the disciples to have a "single" eye to "see through the folly of laying up treasure on earth and keeps the next world in proper focus".[4]

The metaphor of light as holiness and darkness as evil is also found in the Qumran literature and in the Gospel of John.[citation needed]


  1. ^ France, R.T. (2007). Bruce, Frederick Fyvie (ed.). The Gospel of Matthew. New international commentary on the New Testament. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 262. ISBN 9780802825018.
  2. ^ Coogan, Michael David (2007). Coogan, Michael David; Brettler, Marc Zvi; Newsom, Carol Ann; Perkins, Pheme (eds.). The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Issue 48 (Augmented 3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 16 New Testament. ISBN 9780195288810.
  3. ^ Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to Matthew. Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1992.
  4. ^ Phillips, John (2005). Exploring the Gospel of Matthew: An Expository Commentary. The John Phillips Commentary Series. Volume 1 (reprint ed.). Kregel Academic. p. 119. ISBN 9780825433924.


  • Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981

Preceded by
Matthew 6:22
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 6
Succeeded by
Matthew 6:24