While teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus made up a new word not used anywhere else in the Bible. The new word coined by Jesus is the Greek word epiousios. Bible translators have had a very difficult time figuring out exactly what this word means. Because of their lack of understanding, the King James translators decided to use the word daily.
Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Most people think this is like saying ‘grace’ before a meal, but it is not a “give me” prayer, asking for breakfast, lunch or supper. It is not a request for daily physical food and the necessities of life.
The correct meaning of these words of Jesus Christ is of paramount importance. On the surface, this explanation certainly seems plausible.
The King James translators, without understanding what it means to “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” completely missed the point when they translated the Greek word epiousios as “daily.”
The disciples saw Jesus praying and asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1). Did He respond by teaching them to be sure and ask for physical food each and every day? Or, was Jesus pointing them to an indispensable truth that is lost on the world? When this is fully understood, it will be absolutely clear that “Give us day by day our daily bread” is not primarily about asking for food.
What new concept was Jesus teaching His disciples that they needed to learn in order to pray effectively? This request to the Father is one of the most misunderstood sayings in the entire Bible. Remember that this is not a prayer to be memorized and recited, but a collection of key areas of consideration for developing a prayerful relationship with our Father.
The Bible is specifically inspired so that the world cannot see God’s truth in it. The deeper truths contained in the Word of God appear to be foolishness to the unconverted mind. The Holy Scriptures are revealed only to those whom God calls and opens their minds. Luke gives an example of the very select audience for whom Jesus intended His message.
Luke 10:21-24 Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and
said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight. …Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.
Jesus was saying in effect, “There is more here than meets the eye.” This phrase “Give us this day our daily bread” holds a greater meaning for us.
When Jesus gave the disciples guidelines on how to pray, He gave them the principle that places spiritual matters ahead of fundamental necessities. He told them to choose the spiritual over the physical. Jesus taught the disciples that the Father knew their needs even before they asked, and would supply them! Jesus said:
Matthew 6:31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?
Jesus was not sending a contradictory signal to His men – saying on the one hand ask for daily bread, and on the other hand not to worry about daily bread. These verses must agree with one another and with the remainder of Scripture.
Most Bible translators are not in agreement as to what this word means. However, E.W. Bullinger wrote that the word epiousios is a reference to Jesus Christ Himself. In the E.W. Bullinger Companion Bible, we find this explanation for epiousios: “daily Greek epiousios. A word coined by our Lord, and used only here and Luke 11:3, by Him. Compounded from epi = upon, and ousios = coming…Therefore, it means coming or descending upon, as did the manna, with which it is contrasted in John 6:32-33. It is the True Bread from heaven, by which alone man can live – The Word of God, which is prayed for here.” (bold emphasis mine)
Jesus incorporates this meaning when He makes reference to Himself saying, “This is that bread.”
John 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eats of this bread [food] shall live forever.
The world has rejected this vital truth that we are able to see! Jesus is that bread of Life that descends from heaven! This definition of daily answers the apparent contradiction of whether or not we should be concerned about our food and drink, as it points to the higher spiritual reality of our need for Jesus Christ in our lives. Give us this day our daily bread is a petition to our heavenly Father to supply our every spiritual need and help us “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14)