Matthew 6

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version

← Matthew 5   Matthew 7 →

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 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?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

← Matthew 5   Matthew 7 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1, 680, 1017, 1285, 1749, 1839, 1875, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 23, 48, 81, 164, 413, 501, 749, ...

Divine Providence 18, 217, 230, 233, 264

Life 28

Heaven and Hell 64, 281

True Christian Religion 112, 113, 299, 306, 318, 383, 403, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 124, 144, 200


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 48, 102, 152, 193, 228, 254, 274, ...

Charity 156

An Invitation to the New Church 37

Spiritual Experiences 252, 361, 732, 1312, 1731, 1790, 1826, ...

Spiritual Experiences (Travel Diary) 4735

Marriage 112, 113

Scriptural Confirmations 6, 68

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 15:24, 16:19

Joshua 24:14

1 Kings 3:13, 17:4, 9, 18:21, 26, 29

2 Kings 4:33, 17:33

2 Chronicles 20:6, 29:3, 31:21

Job 7:1, 12:7, 22:25

Psalms 139:2, 145:15, 147:9

Proverbs 20:6, 23:4, 5, 30:8

Ecclesiastes 2:14, 5:1

Song of Solomon 2:1

Isaiah 26:20, 29:23, 58:5, 63:16, 65:24

Lamentations 3:41

Daniel 6:11

Zephaniah 1:5

Haggai 2:19

Malachi 3:10

Word/Phrase Explanations

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

reward
A "reward" in the Bible represents something that brings people together, or brings spiritual states together, and binds them. It's easy to see this in...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

Trumpet
The sounds of trumpets are heard in heaven when assemblies and appointments happen. So among the children of Israel, for whom everything was representative of...

Streets
The phrase 'in the streets and synagogues' in Matthew 6:2, 5, and Luke 8:26-27, refers to a representative rite amongst the Jews to teach in...

glory
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

say
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Left hand
'The left hand' in a negative sense signifies falsity which is used to produce evil.

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

know
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

Right hand
'The right hand' signifies the whole of a person regarding intellectual power, and so, regarding faith. 'To place the right hand on the head,' signifies...

Secret
'Secret' or 'hidden' signifies the inward part of a person. 'The secret place' signifies where the Lord is.

pray
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

love
To some degree, there really is no spiritual meaning to the word “love” in the Bible. Why? Because if you truly love another, that is...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

shut
There are only a couple of references in the Writings to "close" used as a verb, and both stem from Amos 9:11, which talks about...

door
In a general sense, doors in the Bible represent the initial desires for good and concepts of truth that introduce people to new levels of...

Heathen
'The time of the heathen,' as mentioned in Ezekiel 30:3, signifies the heathen, or wickedness.

heard
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

much
Intellectual things – ideas, knowledge, facts, even insight and understanding – are more separate and free-standing than emotional things, and it’s easier to imagine numbering...

ask
The words "ask" and "question" are used a number of different in natural language, and a number of different ways in the Bible. The spiritual...

Hallowed be thy name
'Hallowed be thy name,' as mentioned in Matthew 7:9, signifies going to the Lord and worshipping him, as mentioned in Revelation 15:4, John 12:28, etc....

hallowed
The Bible describes many things as being holy, or sacred. The Ark of the Covenant is one very holy object. The inmost chamber of the...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

kingdom
In the most general sense, a kingdom in the Bible represents a church. In a more specific sense, a kingdom represents a church in regards...

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

daily
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

bread
The word “bread” is used two ways in the Bible. In some cases it means actual bread; in others it stands for food in general....

debts
If you think about it, you can see that it’s easy to “borrow” thoughts and ideas from other people – even written ideas from thousands...

Temptation
'Hour of temptation,' as in Revelation 3:10, signifies the time of the last judgment.

Power
Power,' as in Revelation 4, signifies salvation, because all divine power regards this as its final purpose. A person is reformed by divine power, and...

Amen
Amen signifies divine confirmation from truth, consequently from the Lord himself.Amen signifies truth, because the Lord was truth itself, therefore he so often said Amen...

trespasses
'Transgressions' or 'trespasses' denote such evils as are done against the truths of faith.

Fast
To fast as in Mark 2:19, signifies to mourn on account of the defect of truth and good. Fasting corresponds to temptation.

anoint
Oil in the Bible represents the Lord’s love, so anointing someone (or something) with oil was a way to make that person (or object) a...

head
The head is the part of us that is highest, which means in a representative sense that it is what is closest to the Lord....

wash
'Washing of the hands' was an ancient declaration of innocence, and signifies purification from evils and falsities, as in Psalms 73:13 and Matthew 27:24.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

treasures
Substance' and 'treasures,' as in Jeremiah 17:3, signify the spiritual riches of faith, or the aspects of the doctrine of faith.

upon
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

Moth
'A moth' denotes falsities and evils in the extreme borders of the natural mind. 'A moth' corresponds to evil uses.

break
To “break” something creates an image that is much different from “attacking,” “destroying,” or “shattering.” It is less emotional, less violent in its intent; it...

Steal
In a natural sense, the commandment 'Thou shalt not steal,' in Exodus 20:15, means, according to the letter, not stealing, robbing, or committing piracy in...

Treasure
'Treasure,' as in Matthew 13:44, signifies divine truth in the Word.

heart
The heart means love. A good heart means love to the Lord and to the neighbor while a hard or stony heart means the love...

light
Nov. 4, 1879: Thomas Edison filed a patent for a long-burning light bulb. Nov. 5, 1879: The light bulb was universally accepted as the symbol...

Body
The body (Matt. 6:22), signifies the man (homo). "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree" (Deut. 21:23), signifies lest it should be...

eye
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

darkness
"Darkness" is a state without light. "Light" is truth from the Lord, so "darkness" is a state where truth is lacking.

man
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

serve
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

hate
If you truly hate someone, that means you would kill them and destroy their reputation if you could do so without repercussion – not a...

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

Hold
'A hold,' 'a den,' or 'dungeon,' as mentioned in Revelation 18:2, signifies hell, because people who are there are in confinement.

despise
We tend to think of "despising" something or someone as just a strong way of expressing dislike, but there is a further shade of meaning...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

mammon
"Mammon" is an ancient word that means "wealth" or "riches," and is used in the Bible in a negative way, denoting worldly wealth as opposed...

thought
Those who are 'anxious' are not content with their own lot, and do not trust the Divine, but only themselves. They only look to worldly...

life
According to Swedenborg, the Lord is life itself, and we are recipients of life. This is true even of the most evil spirits, who loved...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

drink
Food in the Bible represents the desire for good, and water and other drinks represent the understanding and true ideas we need to recognize what...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Put on
'To put on' is communication and imbuement.

meat
'Provision' or 'meat,' as in Genesis 42:25 and Psalm 78:25, signifies support from truth and good.

Raiment
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

Sow
'To sow,' as in Isaiah 28:24, signifies learning. 'To sow beside all waters,' as in Isaiah 32:20, relates to people who allow themselves to be...

Reap
'To reap' signifies executing judgment. 'Reaping' denotes the reception of truth in good.

Gather
To gather, as in Genesis 6:21, refers to those things which are in the memory of man, where they are gathered. It also implies that...

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

Grow
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

Solomon
Solomon was permitted to institute idolatrous worship to provide an image of the Lord's kingdom or the church in all the religions of the whole...

Grass
Grass signifies the scientific principle. Just as green grass serves animals for support, scientific truth serves men for spiritual nourishment. ‘Grass’ is scientific truth, and...

Oven
'An oven,' as in Malachi 4:1, signifies hell, where the people live who confirm themselves in false doctrines and evils of life from earthly and...

faith
It's interesting to note that despite the prominent place of faith in mainstream Christian belief systems, the word itself appears exactly twice in the King...

seek
The meaning of "to seek" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but there is a bit of nuance: Swedenborg tells us that in most cases...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

righteousness
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Analyzing the Lord's Prayer
Look at the Prayer to see which parts are statements and which are requests. 
Activity | Ages over 11

 Blessings: Life Is Eternal
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Blessings: The Word of God
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Border for the Lord's Prayer Calligraphy
Color the border around this calligraphy of the Lord's Prayer.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Clothes That Angels Wear
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Conversation with God
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Dare to Give
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Divine Providence and Tragedy
The Lord respects our freedom because He loves us. He respects it so much that He allows us to get into trouble, and then as far as we are willing, He brings us new strength out of our troubles
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Do Not Worry
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 Earthly vs. Heavenly Treasures
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 For Reflection: Treasure of the Heart
How can we gather spiritual treasure and bring forth good?
Activity | Ages over 15

 Give Us This Day
Project | Ages up to 6

 Golden Rule and Prayer Crossword Puzzle
Crossword puzzle about the Golden Rule and the Lord's Prayer.
Activity | Ages 7 - 14

 Heavenly Clothing
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 His Kingdom
Article | Ages over 18

 Identify and Name False Gods
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Infinite Meaning in the Lord's Prayer
Think of ways that you can become more “connected” with the Lord and the people around you.
Activity | Ages over 15

 Kingdom of God
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Looking More Closely at Flowers
Ways to help children appreciate the beauty of flowers the Lord has created. 
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Lord's Prayer Book
Illustrate your own book about the Lord's Prayer, following the suggestions given below each phrase of the prayer.
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Lord's Prayer in Folding Hands
Put the text of the Lord's Prayer in hands that can be folded in prayer.
Project | Ages up to 10

 Make a Border for the Lord's Prayer Calligraphy
Make your own border for the Lord's Prayer.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Make a Mural of the Lord's Prayer
Make a mural with a section depicting each portion of the Lord's prayer. Then illustrate what each part means to you.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 Memory Verse: Our Daily Bread
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: The Lord Protects Us
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 Memory Verse: Trusting in the Lord
Activity | Ages 4 - 14

 No Other Gods
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Our Father, Who Art in Heaven
How, then, should we pray, and what should we ask for from the Lord? One of His disciples asked the Lord this while He was on earth.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Quotes: Holy Is His Name
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Praying to the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Quotes: Trusting in the Lord
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Relationship With God
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Seek First the Kingdom of God
The most important thing for us to do is to think about the Lord and try to obey what He says.
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Simplicity
In order for us to receive the Lord's words, we must be simple - simple in the sense of being single-minded, looking to one source of truth, and in having our internal and external thoughts agree. 
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Spiritual Treasure
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Taking Care for the Morrow
We must work and plan for the future but trust that the Lord has the ability and the desire to lead us to heavenly happiness. 
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Glory of the Lord
We can know and love the Lord in His glorified human even better than the disciples did.
Article | Ages over 18

 The Life Which Lasts Forever
Death is a new beginning. We continue to be the same people. We meet up with people we know. And husbands and wives who had been separated by death are reunited. This is a beautiful picture, and it can provide tremendous reassurance.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father
Make a picture of the Lord who is our Father in heaven, always looking out for us. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 1)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord Is Our Heavenly Father (version 2)
Color picture of the Lord with children.
Picture | Ages up to 14

 The Lord's Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is a way of talking directly to the Lord who is our Heavenly Father. The Lord gave us this prayer because it can lead our minds to the important things that will make our spirits grow strong. Sample from the Jacob's Ladder Program, Level 1, for ages 6-7.
Religion Lesson | Ages 6 - 7

 The Lord's Prayer
The Lord's prayer in a color border.
Picture | Ages over 15

 The Lord’s Prayer
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Lord’s Prayer
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 The Lord's Prayer Calligraphy with Violet Border
The Lord's Prayer with a lovely border of violets around it.
Project | Ages 7 - 17

 The Second Coming
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 The Sermon on Mount: Do Not Worry
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on Mount: How to Pray
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 The Sermon on the Mount
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Sermon on the Mount (3-5 years)
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer
Activity | Ages over 15

 Thy Kingdom Come
Activity | Ages over 15

 Treasures in Heaven
What would you put in a treasure box for life here on earth? What would you put in a treasure box for heaven?
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Treasures in Heaven, Treasures on Earth
On one chest, write what you would put in a treasure box for life here on earth. In the other treasure chest, write what you would want to pack in a treasure box for heaven.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Trusting in the Lord's Providence Bookmarks
Print out these beautiful bookmarks with quotes about trusting in the Lord. 
Project | Ages over 15

 Understanding the Meaning of the Lord's Prayer
This is an overview of the deeper meaning of the prayer.
Activity | Ages over 11

 Vain Repetitions
Activity | Ages over 15

 Why Did God Create Me?
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18


Translate: