Some words of Jesus seem to make no sense at all. We read, “The eye is the lamp of the body…”. Then, as if this was not confusing enough, Jesus adds: “So, if your eye is healthy (ἁπλοῦς) your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad (πονηρὸς), your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matt. 6:22-23a)

The most popular way of dealing with texts such as these is to ignore them!

First, let’s talk about the “The eye is the lamp of the body.”  Modern people, like you and I, think of the eye as a window that allows light into the body. Ancient Jews, however, thought that the eye was the origin of light (something of a flashlight). In other words, everything in your life depends on how you see things. Someone put it this way: “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude” (don’t worry I had to reread it few times too, but it was worth it!).

Our second insight concerns the meaning of the “healthy eye” versus “evil eye”. A better translation should be “a single-minded eye” versus “lustful eye.” Jesus is using these terms metaphorically. A man with a “single-minded eye” looks at a God-given path alone! God’s word becomes the guiding light (Ps. 119:105). But the one with “the lustful eye” gets distracted and greedy by looking at the possessions of others. As envy takes root, generosity dies. Then darkness settles in.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

41 COMMENTS

    • I agree with you Alvin. I am also retired. I find these topics and discussions very appealing. Unfortunately, I also find the cost challenging. In the meantime, learn what we can from these mini-samples. Shalom

      • Read your comment today as I was browsing this great site. We too are seniors whom God has blessed. I wonder if you would still love to take this course.? If you do then contact me…you may be able to make your dream reality ..Diane Allan Ontario

    • I, too, am financially challenged but I bit the bullet and enrolled. I’m glad I did. I’m receiving much insight. Even this short article, the “light in the eyes,” was so insightful yet I have read this passage for years and just glazed over it. It just took a little tweak from a Hebraic point of view and it brought a whole new view. I am a bible teacher in a community bible study. These courses are really helpful.

    • So how come Jesus, who is also G_d got it wrong The eye is not the lamp of the body like Jesus said. If he is “3 in one. the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, wouldn’t he have known that the eye isn’t like a lamp.

      • Elizabeth, Jesus did NOT get this wrong, the point of the article is he has a different perspective than how we see things today. The eye IS like a lamp (Greek word-Lampa!) to the body in that without it we have no light. (lights out=eyes closed!)

      • The eye can let in to the body many sights. For example, a person can look at someone of the opposite gender and find them attractive. If the attraction becomes great, it can lead to a lovely outcome and a marriage. But, if already married, it can lead to adultery.

  1. I apply principles (insight) and I have never understood the “Final Judgement” in Matt 25:31-46 so here goes. The righteous ask Jesus, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?’ The question then becomes how did we get this kind of light to serve others? The answer is they were blessed by the Father. I never noticed the blessing before. What blessing is this?

    • I do tend to see a lot of “squirrels” when I learn and it is amazing that God can make each and every squirrel fruitful! The lamp and the light of Matt 6:22 seem to be God’s goodness leading us to repentance (attitude, not necessarily servitude YET). The reason the righteous couldn’t see in the Final Judgement (Matt 25:31-46) is because they hear His Voice (the blessing and curse, Deut 30:1). I think this one is the restoration of Israel.

      • Hello Kat, It’s good to see you strive to study and understand the Scriptures. I think on this one you might be trying mine out more than is intended. The passage in Matt. 25:31-46 isn’t actually the final judgment, as that is in Rev. 20:11-15 (in my understanding of eschatology, Matt 25:31-46 goes along with Rev. 19:11-21). This is the judgment of the nations before the Millennial time. However, whatever your view, the blessing is simply stated in Matt 25:34 and it is that they will enter or inherit the kingdom.

        • To clarify a point: Salvation isn’t by works, but by faith alone in Jesus alone (Acts 20:21; John 14:6; Eph. 2:8-9). The works people do in Matthew 25:31-46 reveal that they had faith. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:20 ‘by their fruits ye shall know them.’ He didn’t say by their fruits they are saved, but the fruit or works reveal the heart. Blessings, Donald

    • One would tend to not understand if you accepted the inequality inherent in most cultures, as equality or equal justice is basic to understanding God’s equal love for the least, as well as for the worldly more powerful. Understanding the universal message of The Golden Rule from The Creator of All, found within the hearts of all people of good will, as opposed to the unwillingness to make sure all have at least their basic needs among those with damaged hearts who then tend towards self interest only! Scriptures written by males from a male only viewpoint of God.

  2. I’m afraid you missed the boat on this. This whole passage has to do with being miserly or stingy versus being generous. “Ayin hara” (evil eye) is a Hebrew idiom for being stingy or miserly while “ayin tovah” (good eye-not single eye) is an idiom for being generous. Proverbs 22:9 in the KJV translates “ayin tovah” as: He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. Proverbs 28:22: A man with an evil eye (ayin rah) hastens after wealth, And does not know that want will come upon him.

    • I think you may have missed the boat missed by us :-). I suggest to reread the article more carefully. 🙂

      • Interesting how some will read with preconceived notions and allow those notions color all that is read instead of reading what is actually written. This, I think, is the point of the article. Everything we see is filtered through our experiences, attitudes, biases, etc. That determines our understanding.

    • How do you take this? “he who has eyes to see let him see? or He who has ears to hear let him hear?” and “he who has ears to hear let him hear”?

  3. Very good view about the “lamp of the body”, which remind me of watching the world with the attitude of Jesus’ teachings (make our eyes bright and the whole body shining with true light ), not the attitude from the world (from inheritance, cultural environment and tradition. etc. to make lustful eyes and shadowy or dirty body). The attitude is much more senseful than the aptitude in God’s kingdom: the Church in Philadelphia has a little strength(aptityde) but has excellent attitude: patience, and so Jesus praise her and lift her up!

  4. No nonsensical words have ever proceeded from the lips of the Lord . No nonsensical words can ever proceed from the lips of the Lord . Let us never ever allow any thought of anything nonsensical from the Lord . It is we who are nonsensical . He is Lord , we are frail children of dust and Adam . Any thought of nonsensical proceeding from the Lord is Anathema .

    • Hi KV, you misunderstand the title of this essay. My point is Jesus’s words “seem” like nonsense because we often do not understand them in their proper context – Which is why we must study the Jewish context of the New Testament!

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with Leviticus and The New Testament or The Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

      • This is an example to me of getting lost on some of Jesus’ sayings:
        “Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

  5. Singlemindness on light does actually lit us like a lightbulb …in façt way better, its literal. I experienced it. Long story short…moses hid under a veil to hide the light because it terrified people.. I must add its not easy to get there.

  6. I love to read your e-mails! Very enlightening! I would love to take your courses but I struggle to remember even things that I already know. I took a course in Hebrew when I was a lot younger but I can’t bring it back!
    I loved visiting Israel and praying at the Kotel and touring wonderful and very meaningful sites! I am a Christian with much love for Israel!

  7. Eph 1:18-23
    I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. NIV

    Ps 19:8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. KJV

    Hab 1:13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
    you cannot tolerate wrong.
    Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
    Why are you silent while the wicked
    swallow up those more righteous than themselves? NIV

    With the Matthew passage and the ones above it would seem to me it is how we look at things or others from the eyes of our hearts. Everything God created was good and we should be viewing things for the good God intended and not with a selfish view.

  8. I am financially tied up right now. God knows what is going on but God willing I will be able to take the course in the new year.

  9. Dr Eli, Some of the articles that you discuss here I have already come across in my complete Jewish study Bible by David Stern, in the CJB there are inserts to help understand Jesus’ sayings, the saying of Jesus “if the light in you is single” really helped.

    • Awesome! It’s encouraging to know how many people are discovering the Jewish Messiah and Jewish Scriptures.

    • Israel Bible Center equips you with the tools you need to enter into the Jewish world of Scripture. We provide first-rate teaching, and the opportunity to learn from some of the world’s top scholars. As a student, you will be able to interact personally with our teaching faculty, and gain access to hundreds of hours of Bible courses, including Exodus and The New Testament and The Revelation in a Jewish Context II : Discovery. Become a part of the community of teachers and students at Israel Bible Center today!

  10. Also binding and loosing is about church discipline etc, this opens up while new areas of understanding, we believers in the way haven’t been taught probably have we!!!!

  11. The references to the light, eye, attitude took me to my next thoughts.
    In the New Testament it stated what we should do and not do.
    God’s called by these to does, and Jesus fulfill by acting on it.
    It tend to show a personality we must accept, and live.

  12. As the commandment state: “Love thy neighbor as thou self, and God above all”.
    This alone show that if your actions is badly towards others that your “eye” or spirit is ill and you do not love yourself. When act with God’s Love then happiness and peace follows.

  13. “This life’s dim windows of the soul distorts the heavens from pole to pole. And leads you to believe a lie when you see with, no through, the eye”. (William Blake)

  14. Mark 4:12so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven. if ones eye is bad”he sees many things, but does not observe them; Isaiah 44:18 They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut

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