LORD's Prayer 9
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
We have grown so used to this phrase from the King James Version of the Lord’s Prayer that we scarcely notice its oddness. If the bread is “daily,” after all, why mention “this day”? The oddness of diction points to a possible mistranslation. And the mystery deepens when we realize that the Greek word rendered as “daily” here (epiousian) does not contain the Greek word for day in any form, and only appears in this one place in the Bible, in fact, in all of Greek literature. It is a unique word to characterize a most particular bread.
Such ancient eminences as St. Jerome and Augustine translated this word very differently, not as daily but as “supersubstantial,” or “more than what exists; spiritual.” In other words: Give us this day the bread from beyond existence (that makes existence possible).
Such an interpretation/translation fits with the whole bread-from-heaven motif of the New Testament, which begins with Jesus being born precisely in Bethlehem (Hebrew for House of Bread), and continues through the feeding of the five thousand (Mt 14:13-21), the images of the bread of life (Jn 6:35,51), the sower parables (Mt 13:1-23, Mk 4:1-20, Lk 8:1-15) , and the breaking of bread by which the risen Christ is revealed to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Lk 34:13-35). It also fits with the emphasis of the Lord’s Prayer on hallowing the name, which is YHWH or to be.
The I AM is the bread from heaven, which bestows being from beyond being. What is it to ask for that?
All blessings to all,