Matthew 6:11, What kind of bread??

Give us this day our epiousios bread.

//Lest anyone think that today we have a perfect understanding of what Bible writers meant as they wrote, I provide today’s verse as a contrary example. We assume “daily” bread, of course, but who’s to say for sure? It is what’s called a hapex legomena, a word that appears only once in the Bible, and which must therefore be interpreted based entirely upon the surrounding context or word construction. While it’s true that two books (Matthew and Luke) speak of this “daily bread”, both are quoting the same saying of Jesus.

There are some 1500 hapex legomena words in the Old Testament, 686 in the New Testament. Translations of these words are no more than educated, logical guesses, though they grow more accurate over time as we uncover more ancient documents to provide more context. We still don’t know, for example, what gopher wood is (the material used to construct Noah’s Ark.)  And as many times as we’ve repeated the Lord’s Prayer, we don’t really know what kind of bread we’re praying for. Not once have we found that word in any other classical Greek literature. In the 20th century, we thought we had finally discovered a confirmation of its use, written next to the names of several grocery items on what appears to be an ancient shopping list. A closer examination of the papyrus in 1998, however, determined that the word was not epiousi but elaiou (oil).

So we still don’t know what kind of bread Jesus wanted us to eat. Something gluten-free would be my guess.

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