What does Matthew 6:33 mean?
ESV: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
NIV: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
NASB: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.
CSB: But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
NLT: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
KJV: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
NKJV: But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Verse Commentary:
This is one of the key verses in all of Jesus' teaching, commonly used in quotes, artwork, and Bible memorization. Like any other lesson from Christ, it must be understood in the context of the verses that come before it. Too often, Jesus' words here have been ripped out of that context and used to suggest that God will supply endless material blessings if His children seek Him first. That is not, at all, the meaning of this sentence.

The context of "these things" are the basic needs of life: food and clothing. Jesus has commanded His readers not to live in continually worry about how they will obtain those, even if they don't know where the next meal is coming from. He wants them to trust the heavenly Father to provide what is needed for His children because He values them so greatly (Matthew 6:25–32). Instead of living in constant and fruitless worry, Jesus gives His followers a different outlet for their energy: pursue God's kingdom, trust His righteousness, and leave it to Him to take care of the basic needs of our lives.

The call to "seek first" God's kingdom and righteousness connects to the other teachings Jesus has given in this Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1–2, 5–6, 16–17). Motives matter, and only by sincerely putting God first can we pursue righteousness. Followers of Christ should prioritize living according to the principles He has been teaching (Matthew 6:24; John 14:15). Jesus' earliest message was the same as that of John the Baptist, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17).

To seek God's kingdom and His righteousness means to live in that ongoing repentance from sin, and to lead the kind of sincere, from-the-heart, devoted-to-God lifestyles Jesus has been describing. In response, God will make provision for whatever it is we truly "need" in order to accomplish His will.
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.
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