Our Daily Bread

I came across a discussion of the Greek word translated “daily” in the Lord’s Prayer, epiousion. Via Challies, the article, “How Do We Define Biblical Words?” pointed out that this particular segment of the Lord’s prayer had some controversy surrounding it. That was news to me, though years ago another part of the Lord’s prayer, “lead me not into temptation”, took on a whole different interpretation than I had expected when a discussion moved me to look into that.

So, in what seemed a simple enough request there is much more to learn about what we are being taught. There some consensus that the word translated “daily” is more the way we would understand a concept like “Superessential”.

Jesus uses an unbelievably strange word that does not occur anywhere else in all Greek literature except for discussions of the Lord’s Prayer. -Bill Mounce

Looking further … this came up in a forum:

But epi + ousia also, literally, means ‘above essence’ or ‘above being’; and so there is a second possible interpretation, which would render epiousion as something akin to ‘superessential, supersubstantial’, etc. This meaning, too, was not unknown to the Fathers; and particularly because it related to bread in the prayer, the Eucharistic overtones of the word were significant. Thus the request in the prayer is for bread that goes beyond that of mere subsistence: the bread of life. We see this, for example, in St Cyril of Jerusalem:

“Give us this day our substantial bread. Common bread is not substantial bread, but this Holy Bread is substantial, that is, appointed for the substance of the soul. For this Bread goeth not into the belly and is cast out into the draught, but is distributed into thy whole system for the benefit of body and soul. But by ‘this day’, he means, ‘each day’, as also Paul said, ‘While it is called today’ (cf. Hebrews 3.15).” (St Cyril, Mystagogical Catecheses, 5.15)

For me, it draws together with ideas on Jesus teaching that He came to give life abundantly. There is a great deal of teaching now on this abundance…just as formerly there was much interpretation given about having only so much as was “needful”.

I don’t think we are looking so much at conflicting ideas as the building of a concept that our own selfish, self promoting natures conflict with. The idea has unity, our desire to rationalize our choices does not. At the root of it is our struggles with learning how to pray. It then makes perfect sense that this would be included in the master pattern on how to pray.

We need more to survive and thrive in each day than some pieces of physical bread, but we do need physical bread. Every day we look to the almighty God, our great sustainer. It evokes the name of God, El Shaddai, Our Provider. With the whole concept of someone who nourishes us in the most elemental way.

It melds with an idea I have thought of lately- that we have not only lost the concept of what it is to “Father”, but what the true picture of “Mother ” is, as well. This is why it is so easy to get mixed up in how we relate on these most elemental levels.

The farther from God, the more lost we are in so many ways.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.