What does Matthew 6:32 mean?
ESV: For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
NIV: For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
NASB: For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
CSB: For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
NLT: These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
KJV: (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
NKJV: For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has given a blunt command to all who call God their heavenly Father: Don't be anxious. Don't worry, even about the most basic needs of life, like food, drink, and clothing. Why? Because God will provide for you. He is able, and you are highly valuable to Him (Matthew 6:25–31). He knows what we really need to accomplish His purposes, even when that's not ideal according to our preferences (Matthew 5:3–12).

The crowd following Jesus was overwhelming made up of Israelites. The Jewish people understood themselves to be the people of God. Jesus now shows how their lives should be different from those of the Gentiles. The modern English word "Gentile" simply means those who are not Jewish. When Jesus uses the word, in the context of His era, He is often referring to those modern people would call pagans: worshippers of idols and foreign gods. He says such people organize their entire lives around getting food, drink, and clothing. Those with an ungodly approach are constantly trying to bargain or compete with the world around them. They're obsessed with stockpiling wealth and keeping terrible things from happening to them. Idol worshippers are continually trying to get the "gods" to be pleased with them.

Jesus tells His Jewish listeners that should not be how they think about God, who is their heavenly Father. Like all good fathers, God knows and takes responsibility to meet the needs of His children. They don't have to live in constant worry that God may not show up in their moment of need. God wants His people to serve Him out of sincerity and devotion—we don't need to convince or remind Him of anything.
Verse Context:
Matthew 6:25–34 concludes this part of the Sermon on the Mount with Jesus' teaching about anxiety. Even to the very poor, Jesus says not to worry about food or clothes. God feeds the birds and clothes the lilies beautifully, and His children are far more valuable than birds. Anxious emotions can't add even an hour to a person's life. Instead, Jesus tells His followers to trust God to provide what they truly need. The context of what we ''need,'' however, is the will of God—which might look very different from what we would prefer (Matthew 5:3–12).
Chapter Summary:
The Sermon on the Mount continues in chapter 6, which is entirely composed of the words of Christ. Jesus teaches that God rewards deeds motivated by sincere devotion to Him, not by approval from other people. He teaches a simple and authentic model prayer. Christ warns against stockpiling money and possessions on earth. Instead, believers should make choices that store up treasure in heaven. A person's top priority can either be God, or money, but cannot be both. Along with that, Jesus says believers should fight against anxiety about daily needs. The heavenly Father knows what we need. All we need to do is pursue His kingdom and righteousness; He will take care of our needs, one day at a time.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 5 began Matthew's telling of the Sermon on the Mount. In that passage, Jesus pointed out that thoughts and attitudes are part of righteousness, just as much as actions. In Chapter 6, He explains how good deeds are only righteous when done out of sincere devotion to God, rather than for other people's approval. He also provides a model for prayer. Jesus explains how excessive worry, such as over money, interferes with faith in God. Knowing that God loves us should lead believers to trust Him, not to be anxious. Chapter 6 is one of the few chapters of the New Testament entirely composed of the words of Christ. In chapter 7 Jesus will introduce additional themes such as appropriate judgment, trust in God, and treatment of others.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 4/23/2024 8:02:23 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.