Our Daily Bread: Quotes and Comments

While studying the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer I came across some helpful quotes and comments. Perhaps these will be a blessing to you as they were to me when thinking about this part of the prayer, “Give us today our daily bread” (NIV).

Chrysostom: What is daily bread? Just enough for one day. Here Jesus is speaking to people who have natural needs of the flesh, who are subject to the necessities of nature. He does not pretend that we are angels.

Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 135.

Gregory: We call it ‘our’ bread, yet pray that it may be given us, for it is God’s to give, and is made ours by our receiving it.

Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers: St. Matthew, ed. John Henry Newman, vol. 1 (Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1841), 230.

Calvin: But here it (‘bread’) has a still more extensive meaning: for we ask not only that the hand of God may supply us with food, but that we may receive all that is necessary for the present life.

 John Calvin and William Pringle, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke, vol. 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 323.

Luther: But he (the one who prays truly) knows that what he has is the gift of God, and he says from his heart: Lord, I know that I cannot of myself produce or get a piece of my daily bread, or shield myself against any kind of need or misfortune; therefore I will await it and beseech it from thee, as thou dost teach me, and dost promise to give me, as he who is ready with favors regardless of my thoughts, and who anticipates my need.

 Martin Luther, Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, trans. Charles A. Hay (Philadelphia: Lutheran Publication Society, 1892), 252.

Watson: “God gives us daily bread, let us give him daily praise” (Ps. 146:2).

Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2009).

Witsius: “…Every one prays for bread, not for himself only, but for others. It is the part of a greedy, avaricious, and envious man to say, Give me. Jesus has taught us to say, Give us. In this way we know that whatever blessings are granted by God in answer to those prayers, are granted on the condition that they be shared along with others.

Herman Witsius and William Pringle, Sacred Dissertations on the Lord’s Prayer (Edinburgh: Thomas Clark, 1839), 282.

Boston: [This petition means…] That it is God who giveth us bread. The necessaries and conveniences of life are distributed by his hand, Psal. 145:16. Though you get your bread by your labour, you have it from God; for it is God that gives success to your labours. Though others give it you of their own, it is from God; for it is he that opens their hearts to bestow it on you, Deut. 8:17, 18. Neither your industry nor interest can procure it without him.

 Thomas Boston, The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion, Part 2, ed. Samuel M‘Millan, vol. 2 (Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1848), 608.

Stott: The petition that God will ‘give’ us our food does not, of course, deny that most people have to earn their own living, that farmers have to plough, sow and reap to provide basic cereals or that we are commanded to feed the hungry ourselves. Instead, it is an expression of ultimate dependence on God who normally uses human means of production and distribution through which to fulfil his purposes. Moreover, it seems that Jesus wanted his followers to be conscious of a day-to-day dependence. 

 John R. W. Stott, The Message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7): Christian Counter-Culture, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 149.

The Heidelberg Catechism: Question 125. What is the fourth petition? Give us this day our daily bread. That is: Be pleased to provide for all our bodily need; that we may thereby know that Thou art the only fountain of all good, and that without Thy blessing, neither our care and labor, nor Thy gifts can profit us; and may therefore withdraw our trust from all creatures, and place it alone in Thee.

Heidelberg Catechism, Heidelberg Catechism, Revised Edition (Cleveland, OH: Central Publishing House, 1907), 131.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q. 104. What do we pray for in the fourth petition? A. In the fourth petition (which is, Give us this day our daily bread) we pray, That of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy his blessing with them.k

 The Westminster Assembly, The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition (Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851), 426–427.

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Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015