Matthew 6:25 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 6:25, NIV: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Matthew 6:25, ESV: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25, KJV: Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Matthew 6:25, NASB: 'For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is life not more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25, NLT: 'That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life--whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:25, CSB: "Therefore I tell you: Don't worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing?

What does Matthew 6:25 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

As most of the modern world would define it, most of the people hearing Jesus' Sermon on the Mount were "poor." Most people in that era lived from day to day. For some, what they earned each day was all they had to live on for the next day. When Jesus instructed these people to pray for "daily bread," it resonated with their life experience (Matthew 6:11). They might have struggled more with Jesus' teaching in the previous verses: not to obsess over wealth, but to focus on godly and eternal rewards (Matthew 6:19–24).

Surely, those who are poor can hardly be guilty of stockpiling treasures on earth—they aren't even sure where tomorrow's bread will be coming from. However, in this passage, Jesus shows that even those who have little wealth can become preoccupied with material things. Even the very poorest people can serve money instead of God (Matthew 6:24). To the poor, Jesus applies this by reminding them not the be anxious about the money they don't have.

He commands His followers not to worry about their lives, including what they will eat or drink or wear. People of the ancient world often wore the same one or two sets of clothes until they fell into rags. A large part of each day would be focused on obtaining, preparing, or earning money for food. Jesus points out that life is about more than what we eat and what we wear—God has purposes for us beyond those temporary details.

Jesus is not telling His followers to quit their jobs. He is not telling them to simply sit idly and wait for God to supernaturally provide. Nor is He suggesting it's wrong to earn money to provide for their families. He is not telling His followers they should not wisely save for future needs. In keeping with the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is commanding His listeners to take control of what is going on in their minds and hearts. The word translated "worry" or "be anxious" here is merimnate. This can mean to care for or think about something. In this context, it means to obsess or agonize. Jesus' point here is not that we should be careless, but that we should not be fearful.

In a meaningful sense, living in constant worry about money is a way of "serving" money instead of serving God. Living in fear Jesus says, is not the point of real life. He will clarify this in the following verses.