Parallel Bible VersionsGreek Bible Study Tools

Matthew 6:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— 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.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen by them: otherwise ye have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Take heed not to do your alms before men to be seen of them, otherwise ye have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— [But] take heed, that ye do not, your righteousness, before men, to be gazed at by them,—otherwise at least, reward, have ye none, with your Father who is in the heavens.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— 'Take heed your kindness not to do before men, to be seen by them, and if not—reward ye have not from your Father who [is] in the heavens;
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father who is in heaven.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Take heed that yee doe not your almes before men, to bee seene of them: otherwise yee haue no reward of your father which is in heauen.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— SEE that in your almsgiving you do it not before men, so as that you may be observed by them; otherwise no reward is for you with your Father who is in heaven.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— Be cautious in your alms-giving, not to perform it before men, so that ye may be seen of them: otherwise, ye have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Take heed 4337
{4337} Prime
From G4314 and G2192; (figuratively) to hold the mind (G3563 implied) towards, that is, pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to.
<5720> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Imperative (See G5794)
Count - 592
that ye do 4160
{4160} Prime
Apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary; to make or do (in a very wide application, more or less direct).
<5721> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 647
not 3361
{3361} Prime
A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogitive implying a negative answer [whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one]); whether.
your 5216
{5216} Prime
Genitive case of G5210; of (from or concerning) you.
alms 1654
{1654} Prime
From G1656; compassionateness, that is, (as exercised towards the poor) beneficence, or (concretely) a benefaction.
before 1715
{1715} Prime
From G1722 and G4314; in front of (in place [literally or figuratively] or time).
men, 444
{0444} Prime
From G0435 and ὤψ [[ops]] (the countenance; from G3700); manfaced, that is, a human being.
to be seen 2300
{2300} Prime
A prolonged form of a primary verb; to look closely at, that is, (by implication) to perceive (literally or figuratively); by extension to visit.
[4314] Standard
A strengthened form of G4253; a preposition of direction; forward to, that is, toward (with the genitive case the side of, that is, pertaining to; with the dative case by the side of, that is, near to; usually with the accusative case the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, that is, whither or for which it is predicated).
<5683> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Passive (See G5786)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 159
of them: 846
{0846} Prime
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
otherwise 1490
{1490} Prime
εἰ δὲ μήγἐ
ei de me(ge)
{i deh may'-(gheh)}
From G1487, G1161 and G3361 (sometimes with G1065 added); but if not.
ye have 2192
{2192} Prime
A primary verb (including an alternate form σχέω [[scheo]], {skheh'-o}; used in certain tenses only); to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession, ability, contiguity, relation or condition).
<5719> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 3019
no 3756
{3756} Prime
A primary word; the absolutely negative (compare G3361) adverb; no or not.
reward 3408
{3408} Prime
Apparently a primary word; pay for service (literally or figuratively), good or bad.
of 3844
{3844} Prime
A primary preposition; properly near, that is, (with genitive case) from beside (literally or figuratively), (with dative case) at (or in) the vicinity of (objectively or subjectively), (with accusative case) to the proximity with (local [especially beyond or opposed to] or causal [on account of]). In compounds it retains the same variety of application.
your 5216
{5216} Prime
Genitive case of G5210; of (from or concerning) you.
Father 3962
{3962} Prime
Apparently a primary word; a 'father' (literally or figuratively, near or more remote).
which 3588
{3588} Prime

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
is in 1722
{1722} Prime
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
heaven. 3772
{3772} Prime
Perhaps from the same as G3735 (through the idea of elevation); the sky; by extension heaven (as the abode of God); by implication happiness, power, eternity; specifically the Gospel (Christianity).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Matthew 6:1

_ _ Matthew 6:1-18. Sermon on the Mount — continued. Further illustration of the righteousness of the kingdom — Its unostentatiousness.

_ _ General caution against ostentation in religious duties.

_ _ Take heed that ye do not your alms — But the true reading seems clearly to be “your righteousness.” The external authority for both readings is pretty nearly equal; but internal evidence is decidedly in favor of “righteousness.” The subject of the second verse being “almsgiving” that word — so like the other in Greek — might easily be substituted for it by the copyist: whereas the opposite would not be so likely. But it is still more in favor of “righteousness,” that if we so read the first verse, it then becomes a general heading for this whole section of the discourse, inculcating unostentatiousness in all deeds of righteousness — Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting being, in that case, but selected examples of this righteousness; whereas, if we read, “Do not your alms,” etc., this first verse will have no reference but to that one point. By “righteousness,” in this case, we are to understand that same righteousness of the kingdom of heaven, whose leading features — in opposition to traditional perversions of it — it is the great object of this discourse to open up: that righteousness of which the Lord says, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). To “do” this righteousness, was an old and well-understood expression. Thus, “Blessed is he that doeth righteousness at all times” (Psalms 106:3). It refers to the actings of righteousness in the life — the outgoings of the gracious nature — of which our Lord afterwards said to His disciples, “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples” (John 15:8).

_ _ before men, to be seen of them — with the view or intention of being beheld of them. See the same expression in Matthew 5:28. True, He had required them to let their light so shine before men that they might see their good works, and glorify their Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). But this is quite consistent with not making a display of our righteousness for self-glorification. In fact, the doing of the former necessarily implies our not doing the latter.

_ _ otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven — When all duty is done to God — as primarily enjoining and finally judging of it — He will take care that it be duly recognized; but when done purely for ostentation, God cannot own it, nor is His judgment of it even thought of — God accepts only what is done to Himself. So much for the general principle. Now follow three illustrations of it.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Matthew 6:1-4

_ _ As we must do better than the scribes and Pharisees in avoiding heart-sins, heart-adultery, and heart-murder, so likewise in maintaining and keeping up heart-religion, doing what we do from an inward, vital principle, that we may be approved of God, not that we may be applauded of men; that is, we must watch against hypocrisy, which was the leaven of the Pharisees, as well as against their doctrine, Luke 12:1. Almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, are three great Christian duties — the three foundations of the law, say the Arabians: by them we do homage and service to God with our three principal interests; by prayer with our souls, by fasting with our bodies, by alms-giving with our estates. Thus we must not only depart from evil, but do good, and do it well, and so dwell for evermore.

_ _ Now in these verses we area cautioned against hypocrisy in giving alms. Take heed of it. Our being bid to take heed of it intimates that it is sin. 1. We are in great danger of; it is a subtle sin; vain-glory insinuates itself into what we do ere we are aware. The disciples would be tempted to it by the power they had to do many wondrous works, and their living with some that admired them and others that despised them, both which are temptations to covet to make a fair show in the flesh. 2. It is a sin we are in great danger by. Take heed of hypocrisy, for if it reign in you, it will ruin you. It is the dead fly that spoils the whole box of precious ointment.

_ _ Two things are here supposed,

_ _ I. The giving of alms is a great duty, and a duty which all the disciples of Christ, according to their ability, must abound in. It is prescribed by the law of nature and of Moses, and great stress is laid upon it by the prophets. Divers ancient copies here for tn elemosunnyour alms, read tn dikaiosunnyour righteousness, for alms are righteousness, Psalms 112:9; Proverbs 10:2. The Jews called the poor's box the box of righteousness. That which is given to the poor is said to be their due, Proverbs 3:27. The duty is not the less necessary and excellent for its being abused by hypocrites to serve their pride. If superstitious papists have placed a merit in works of charity, that will not be an excuse for covetous protestants that are barren in such good works. It is true, our alms-deeds do not deserve heaven; but it is as true that we cannot go to heaven without them. It is pure religion (James 1:27), and will be the test at the great day; Christ here takes it for granted that his disciples give alms, nor will he own those that do not.

_ _ II. That it is such a duty as has a great reward attending it, which is lost if it be done in hypocrisy. It is sometimes rewarded in temporal things with plenty (Proverbs 11:24, Proverbs 11:25; Proverbs 19:17); security from want (Proverbs 28:27; Psalms 37:21, Psalms 37:25); succour in distress (Psalms 41:1, Psalms 41:2); honour and a good name, which follow those most that least covet them, Psalms 112:9. However, it shall be recompensed in the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14), in eternal riches.

Quas dederis, solas semper habebis, opes.
The riches you impart form the only wealth you will always retain.
— Martial.

_ _ This being supposed, observe now,

_ _ 1. What was the practice of the hypocrites about this duty. They did it indeed, but not from any principle of obedience to God, or love to man, but in pride and vain-glory; not in compassion to the poor, but purely for ostentation, that they might be extolled as good men, and so might gain an interest in the esteem of the people, with which they knew how to serve their own turn, and to get a great deal more than they gave. Pursuant to this intention, they chose to give their alms in the synagogues, and in the streets, where there was the greatest concourse of people to observe them, who applauded their liberality because they shared in it, but were so ignorant as not to discern their abominable pride. Probably they had collections for the poor in the synagogues, and the common beggars haunted the streets and highways, and upon these public occasions they chose to give their alms. Not that it is unlawful to give alms when men see us; we may do it; but not that men may see us; we should rather choose those objects of charity that are less observed. The hypocrites, if they gave alms to their own houses, sounded a trumpet, under pretence of calling the poor together to be served, but really to proclaim their charity, and to have that taken notice of and made the subject of discourse.

_ _ Now the doom that Christ passes upon this is very observable; Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. At first view this seems a promise — If they have their reward they have enough, but two words in it make it a threatening.

_ _ (1.) It is a reward, but it is their reward; not the reward which God promises to them that do good, but the reward which they promise themselves, and a poor reward it is; they did it to be seen of men, and they are seen of men; they chose their own delusions with which they cheated themselves, and they shall have what they chose. Carnal professors stipulate with God for preferment, honour, wealth, and they shall have their bellies filled with those things (Psalms 17:14); but let them expect no more; these are their consolation (Luke 6:24), their good things (Luke 16:25), and they shall be put off with these. “Didst thou not agree with me for a penny? It is the bargain that thou art likely to abide by.”

_ _ (2.) It is a reward, but it is a present reward, they have it; and there is none reserved for them in the future state. They now have all that they are likely to have from God; they have their reward here, and have none to hope for hereafter. Apechousi ton misthon. It signifies a receipt in full. What rewards the godly have in this life are but in part of payment; there is more behind, much more; but hypocrites have their all in this world, so shall their doom be; themselves have decided it. The world is but for provision to the saints, it is their spending-money; but it is pay to hypocrites, it is their portion.

_ _ 2. What is the precept of our Lord Jesus about it, Matthew 6:3, Matthew 6:4. He that was himself such an example of humility, pressed it upon his disciples, as absolutely necessary to the acceptance of their performances. “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth when thou givest alms.” Perhaps this alludes to the placing of the Corban, the poor man's box, or the chest into which they cast their free-will offerings, on the right hand of the passage into the temple; so that they put their gifts into it with the right-hand. Or the giving of alms with the right hand, intimates readiness to it and resolution in it; do it dexterously, not awkwardly nor with a sinister intention. The right hand may be used in helping the poor, lifting them up, writing for them, dressing their sores, and other ways besides giving to them; but, “whatever kindness thy right hand doeth to the poor, let not thy left hand know it: conceal it as much as possible; industriously keep it private. Do it because it is a good work, not because it will give thee a good name.” In omnibus factis, re, non teste, moveamur — In all our actions, we should be influenced by a regard to the object, not to the observer. Cic. de Fin. It is intimated, (1.) That we must not let others know what we do; no, not those that stand at our left hand, that are very near us. Instead of acquainting them with it, keep it from them if possible; however, appear so desirous to keep it from them, as that in civility they may seem not to take notice of it, and keep it to themselves, and let it go no further. (2.) That we must not observe it too much ourselves: the left hand is a part of ourselves; we must not within ourselves take notice too much of the good we do, must not applaud and admire ourselves. Self-conceit and self-complacency, and an adoring of our own shadow, are branches of pride, as dangerous as vain-glory and ostentation before men. We find those had their good works remembered to their honour, who had themselves forgotten them: When saw we thee an hungered, or athirst?

_ _ 3. What is the promise to those who are thus sincere and humble in their alms-giving. Let thine alms be in secret, and then thy Father who seeth in secret will observe them. Note, When we take least notice of our good deeds ourselves, God takes most notice of them. As God hears the wrongs done to us when we do not hear them (Psalms 38:14, Psalms 38:15), so he sees the good done by us, when we do not see it. As it is a terror to hypocrites, so it is a comfort to sincere Christians, that God sees in secret. But this is not all; not only the observation and praise, but the recompence is of God, himself shall reward thee openly. Note, They who in their alms-giving study to approve themselves to God, only turn themselves over to him as their Paymaster. The hypocrite catches at the shadow, but the upright man makes sure of the substance. Observe how emphatically it is expressed; himself shall reward, he will himself be the Rewarder, Hebrews 11:6. Let him alone to make it up in kind or kindness; nay, he will himself be the Reward (Genesis 15:1), thine exceeding great reward. He will reward thee as thy Father, not as a master who gives his servant just what he earns and no more, but as a father who gives abundantly more, and without stint, to his son that serves him. Nay, he shall reward thee openly, if not in the present day, yet in the great day; then shall every man have praise of God, open praise, thou shall be confessed before men. If the work be not open, the reward shall, and that is better.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Matthew 6:1

In the foregoing chapter our Lord particularly described the nature of inward holiness. In this he describes that purity of intention without which none of our outward actions are holy. This chapter contains four parts, The right intention and manner of giving alms, Matthew 6:1-4. The right intention, manner, form, and prerequisites of prayer, Matthew 6:5-15. The right intention, and manner of fasting, Matthew 6:16-18. The necessity of a pure intention in all things, unmixed either with the desire of riches, or worldly care, and fear of want, Matthew 6:19-34. This verse is a general caution against vain glory, in any of our good works: All these are here summed up together, in the comprehensive word righteousness. This general caution our Lord applies in the sequel to the three principal branches of it, relating to our neighbour, Matthew 6:2-4; to God, Matthew 6:5-6; and to ourselves, Matthew 6:16-18. To be seen — Barely the being seen, while we are doing any of these things, is a circumstance purely indifferent. But the doing them with this view, to be seen and admired, this is what our Lord condemns.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Matthew 6:1

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

(1) Ambition makes alms vain.

(a) This word "reward" is always taken in the scriptures for a free recompense, and therefore the schoolmen fondly set it to be answerable to a deserving, which they call "merit".

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Mark 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and [of] the leaven of Herod.
Luke 11:35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.
Luke 12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let [them] slip.

or, righteousness,
Deuteronomy 24:13 In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.
Psalms 112:9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
Daniel 4:27 Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
2 Corinthians 9:9-10 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. ... Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)

to be:

Matthew 6:5 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.
Matthew 6:16 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.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Matthew 23:28-30 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. ... And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
2 Kings 10:16 And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot.
2 Kings 10:31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.
Ezekiel 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee [as] my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, [but] their heart goeth after their covetousness.
Zechariah 7:5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh [month], even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, [even] to me?
Zechariah 13:4 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
John 5:44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that [cometh] from God only?
John 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Galatians 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.


Matthew 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Matthew 6:6 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.
Matthew 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Matthew 10:41-42 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. ... And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold [water] only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Matthew 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.
1 Corinthians 9:17-18 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation [of the gospel] is committed unto me. ... What is my reward then? [Verily] that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
Hebrews 6:10 For God [is] not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
2 John 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

of your:
or, with your,
Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
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Dt 24:13. 2K 10:16, 31. Ps 112:9. Ezk 33:31. Dn 4:27. Zc 7:5; 13:4. Mt 5:16, 46, 48; 6:4, 5, 6, 9, 16; 10:41; 16:6, 27; 23:5, 14, 28; 25:40. Mk 8:15. Lk 11:35; 12:1, 15; 16:15. Jn 5:44; 12:43. 1Co 9:17. 2Co 9:9. Ga 6:12. He 2:1; 6:10; 11:26. 2Jn 1:8.

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