Matthew 6:11

Our daily bread (ton arton hmwn ton epiousion). This adjective "daily" (epiousion) coming after "Give us this day" (do hmn shmeron) has given expositors a great deal of trouble. The effort has been made to derive it from epi and wn (ousa). It clearly comes from epi and iwn (epi and eimi) like th epioush ("on the coming day," "the next day," Acts 16:12 ). But the adjective epiousio is rare and Origen said it was made by the Evangelists Matthew and Luke to reproduce the idea of an Aramaic original. Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary say: "The papyri have as yet shed no clear light upon this difficult word ( Matthew 6:11 ; Luke 11:3 ), which was in all probability a new coinage by the author of the Greek Q to render his Aramaic Original" (this in 1919). Deissmann claims that only about fifty purely New Testament or "Christian" words can be admitted out of the more than 5,000 used. "But when a word is not recognizable at sight as a Jewish or Christian new formation, we must consider it as an ordinary Greek word until the contrary is proved. Epiousio has all the appearance of a word that originated in trade and traffic of the everyday life of the people (cf. my hints in Neutestamentliche Studien Georg Heinrici dargebracht, Leipzig, 1914, pp. 118f.). The opinion here expressed has been confirmed by A. Debrunner's discovery (Theol. Lit. Ztg. 1925, Col. 119) of epiousio in an ancient housekeeping book" (Light from the Ancient East, New ed. 1927, p. 78 and note 1). So then it is not a word coined by the Evangelist or by Q to express an Aramaic original. The word occurs also in three late MSS. after 2Macc. 1:8, tou epiousiou after tou artou. The meaning, in view of the kindred participle (epioush) in Acts 16:12 , seems to be "for the coming day," a daily prayer for the needs of the next day as every housekeeper understands like the housekeeping book discovered by Debrunner.