“Give us this day our daily bread” Matthew 6:11
Today’s Word began seven years ago. Perhaps it’s worth looking back, reflecting and adding to where this all began. For a little while, we’ll take some of those old editions and add some new insights.
Daily - The Greek word is epiousion. This is one of the most unusual words in the entire Bible. It occurs only in the Lord’s Prayer. In order to understand the meaning of most of the Biblical expressions, scholars often look to other uses either in the Bible or outside the Bible. But this word appears here in this verse for the first time; is not found in any other Biblical context and has no clear cognates in other ancient languages. All of this is even more unusual since the meaning of the word certainly must have been clear to Jesus’ disciples and the early Christians.
We can learn more about this word by looking at its parts. Epi means “from” or “of.” Ousia is the Greek word for “being” (to exist). Literally, this word tells us that God will give us our being – our very existence.
This much is clear. This petition in the Lord’s Prayer pushes aside any claim that we might have on even the basic necessities of life as our rights. Life’s most basic needs are the gifts of God. It is not that we are to be content with only the most basic elements of life. Rather, we are to acknowledge that everything, even the bare necessities, come to us as gifts. When we think of this part of the verse, the strange word for “daily” begins to make some sense. We are part of the fellowship of the redeemed. More than anyone, we know that our basic needs must come to us one day at a time. We are healed for this day. We are helped for this day. We are whole for this day. The basic necessities of our lives cannot be stored up for tomorrow nor appropriated from yesterday. We can only live daily. When we say the Lord’s Prayer, the word “daily” has a special significance. This word summarizes our lives. One day at a time.
Of course, Yeshua didn’t speak this Greek word in His teaching on prayer. But since we don’t have any connections between this word and any Hebrew word, we are left with a blank to fill in. Perhaps the best way to do that is to reflect on the life-orientation of our Master. Did He live one-day-at-a-time? Well, yes, but . . . Wasn’t He the one who said, “For this purpose I have come into the world.” Living one-day-at-a-time doesn’t mean living without plans and purposes. It’s not the direction that’s an issue here. It’s the method. The compass point doesn’t change even if I only take one step a day in that direction. Epiousion seems to be about my daily dependence rather than my daily direction. It is prayer before action; listen before speaking; waiting before deciding – and more than anything else – thanksgiving. We need a daily dose of divine favor. “In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God in the Messiah Yeshua toward you.”
Topical Index: 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Matthew 6:11, epiousion
And for those who missed the weekend announcement of the book Flutter-Byes, here is the link.