In yesterday’s study, we saw that Jesus provided a cure for anxiety by what He said in Matthew 6: “Therefore, I say unto you, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on… For after all these things do the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (vv. 25, 32-33).
The translators of the New Scofield Reference Bible (as well as the translators of most modern versions) did not retain the old King James expressions in this passage. The King James Bible says, “Take no thought for your life… Take no thought for the morrow.” This translation has misled some people into thinking that Jesus was warning against making proper provision for the future or even against thinking about these things, both of which are untrue. Actually, we have a case here where words have just changed their meaning. The original, both in the Greek and the English of the time of King James, was just “Stop worrying.” And Paul meant the same thing when he told the Philippians, “Be anxious for nothing” (Phil. 4:6). Peter was referring to the tendency of some Christians to worry when he wrote, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Christians, you see, are not to be anxious or worried about anything. We worry, that’s true, but we do not need to. Moreover, we should not worry. For worry can effectively stifle the Christian life and ruin one’s witness.
If we’re to understand the essential point of these verses in Matthew 6, it’s very important to recognize the clear outline that we have here. The clue to it is found in the repetition of the word “therefore” in verses 25, 31, and 34. It’s been said that whenever in your reading of the Bible you come upon the word “therefore,” you should not go on until you understand what it is “there for.” Well that’s good, and if that’s true for one instance of the word, it’s much truer when the word is repeated several times over. “Therefore” really means “for this reason” or “because of this.” So we immediately recognize that in these verses Jesus gives a conclusion—in each case identical—based on three things that have gone before. Because of the teaching in verses 32 and 33, the Christian is not to worry. The entire section contains three points which in each case, are followed by the identical conclusion.