Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought ... - The general design of this paragraph, which closes the chapter, is to warn his disciples against avarice, and, at the same time, against anxiety about the supply of their needs. This he does by four arguments or considerations, expressing by unequalled beauty and force the duty of depending for the things which we need on the providence of God. The "first" is stated in Matthew 6:25; "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" In the beginning of the verse he charged his disciples to take "no thought" - that is, not to be "anxious" about the supply of their wants. In illustration of this he says that God has given "life," a far greater blessing than "meat;" that he has created the body, of far more consequence than raiment. Shall not he who has conferred the "greater" blessing be willing to confer the "less?" Shall not he who has formed the body so curiously, and made in its formation such a display of power and goodness, see that it is properly protected and clothed? He who has displayed "so great" goodness as to form the body, and breathe into it the breath of life, will surely "follow up" the blessing, and confer the "smaller" favor of providing that that body shall be clothed, and that life preserved.
No thought - The word "thought," when the Bible was translated, meant "anxiety," and is so used frequently in Old English authors. Thus, Bacon says, "Haweis died with ' thought' and anguish before his business came to an end." As such it is used here by our translators, and it answers exactly to the meaning of the original. Like many other words, it has since somewhat changed its signification, and would convey to most readers an improper idea. The word "anxiety" would now exactly express the sense, and is precisely the thing against which the Saviour would guard us. See Luke 8:14; Luke 21:34; Philippians 4:6. "Thought" about the future is right; "anxiety, solicitude, trouble" is wrong. There is a degree of "thinking" about the things of this life which is proper. See I Timothy 5:8; II Thessalonians 3:10; Romans 12:11. But it should not be our supreme concern; it should not lead to anxiety; it should not take time that ought to be devoted to religion.
For your life - For what will "support" your life.
Meat - This word here means "food" in general, as it does commonly in the Bible. We confine it now to animal food. When the Bible was translated, it denoted all kinds of food, and is so used in the old English writers. It is one of the words which has changed its meaning since the translation of the Bible was made.
Raiment - Clothing.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Matthew 6:25:
1 Corinthians 6:13
1 Corinthians 7:32
1 Thessalonians 2:8
1 Timothy 4:3
1 Timothy 4:8
1 Peter 5:7
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