Matthew 6:12

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Matthew 6:12 is the twelfth verse of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This verse is the fourth one of the Lord's Prayer, one of the best known parts of the entire New Testament. This verse contains the fifth petition to God.

In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.

The World English Bible translates the passage as:

Forgive us our debts, as
we also forgive our debtors.

For a collection of other versions see here: Matthew 6:12

The Greek word here translated as debts literally meant financial debts owed to another. However, the Aramaic word for debts could also mean sins or errors. In the Gospel of Luke the very similar prayer has the more metaphorical wording. It is thus generally accepted that this verse is talking about sins, rather than loans.[1] This verse has thus often been translated with the word "trespasses" in place of the word debts. However, some groups have read this verse as condemning all forms of lending.

Forgiveness had a central role in the Judaism of the period, and asking for forgiveness from God was a staple of Jewish prayers. It was also considered proper for individuals to be forgiving of others, for mistakes they made. Luz notes that this verse is unique in so closely relating the two notions. To be pious one must forgive one's fellows as God forgives all. This verse presupposes universal sinfulness. Everyone, no matter how holy, has sins that need to be forgiven

The patristic scholar Henry Chadwick says that Matthew 6:12 refers to Sirach 28:2 ("Forgive your neighbor a wrong, and then, when you petition, your sins will be pardoned.").[2]


  1. ^ Harrington, Daniel J. The Gospel of Matthew. Liturgical Press, 1991 pg. 95
  2. ^ Chadwick, Henry.(2001) The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, page 28, ISBN 0-19-924695-5
  • Fowler, Harold. The Gospel of Matthew: Volume One. Joplin: College Press, 1968
  • Hill, David. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981
  • Luz, Ulrich. Matthew 1-7: A Commentary. trans. Wilhlem C. Linss. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortess, 1989.

Preceded by
Matthew 6:11
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 6
Succeeded by
Matthew 6:13