Amplified: Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
NLT: You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: "If any of you were asked by his son for bread would you be likely to give him a stone (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Or, who is there of you, a man, who, should his son ask for a loaf of bread; he will not give him a stone, will he? (Eerdmans)
Young's: 'Or what man is of you, of whom, if his son may ask a loaf -- a stone will he present to him?
Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?: e tis estin (3SPAI) ex humon anthropos, on aitesei (3SFAI) o huios autou arton me lithon epidosei (3SFAI) auto (Luke 11:11, 12, 13)
What man is there among you - Obviously a father does not give that which is harmful to a child, but rather that which will be for good. Keep in mind that is this comparison, human parents are only a faint picture of the our Father's heart. He delights to give His children those things which are for their good and what will be for their lasting profit. Prayer is the appointed means whereby these mercies are received.
E M Bounds tells of an encouraging story of a praying son of the Most High who asked specifically "for a loaf" and did not receive "a stone"… "
A Stone Or Bread?- No loving father would give a stone or a snake to his hungry son if he asked for a piece of bread or a fish. Jesus used the absurdity of that analogy in Matthew 7 to underscore the heavenly Father's readiness to give good things to His children when they ask Him. He wanted them to have complete confidence in the Father's provision for their spiritual needs. Sometimes, however, it may seem as if the Lord has given us "stones" instead of "bread." But in His wisdom, He actually is working through our circumstances to give us something far better than what we requested. An unknown author expressed it this way:
Confident Prayer - As one of Africa's first explorers, David Livingstone loved its people and longed to see them evangelized. His journals reveal his spiritual concern and deep faith.
In late March 1872, he wrote, "He will keep His word--the gracious One, full of grace and truth--no doubt of it. He said, 'Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out' and 'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name I will give it.' He will keep His word; then I can come and humbly present my petition, and it will be all right. Doubt is here inadmissible, surely."
Livingstone had rock-like confidence in the Father's promises. In our praying we too can exercise the trust that God will not deny our requests when they are in keeping with His will. (By the way, are we reading His Word so that we know His will?)
We can defeat doubt when we remind ourselves that no matter what happens in life, He cares deeply about us and longs to give us the wisdom to handle what comes our way (1 Pet. 5:7; Jas. 1:5). Our faith will grow stronger as we realize that our heavenly Father is gracious, delighting to give good gifts to His children (Mt. 7:11). Humbly but confidently, we can come to Him with our requests. --V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Keeping Track Of Prayers - Shortly before Margaret Koster died in 1997, I wrote an article about her, telling of her diligence in prayer. Despite her age, she set an example of faithfulness in prayer—continuing to spend hours each day speaking with the Lord she loved. Now she's reaping the rewards of that faithfulness.
But there's another story about Margaret that needs to be told—a story of how seriously she took her prayer-life. When she was younger, Margaret would pray each day for missionaries she knew about. She also kept a journal of her prayers—complete with answers.
One time when one of "her" missionaries was home from his overseas ministry, Margaret approached him, showed him her journal, and said, "I have recorded every prayer request you made as a missionary. And I have put down every answer that I know of. But I also have some prayers for which I don't know the answers. You need to sit down with me and tell me how God answered those prayers so I can write them down."
Now that's taking prayer seriously! We learn from Margaret not only the importance of prayer but also the reality of God's answers. Remember, "If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us" (1 John 5:14). —Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
We must call on the Lord with reverence,
In John Piper's book Desiring God he explains why more Christians are not asking, seeking, knocking writing that…
Amplified: Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
NLT: Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: or if he asks for a fish would you give him a snake? (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Or, should he also ask for a fish; he will not give him a snake, will he? (Eerdmans)
Young's: 'and if a fish he may ask -- a serpent will he present to him?
Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?: e kai ichthun aitesei (3SFAI) me ophin epidosei (3SFAI) auto?
If your child asks for a stone or a snake, will you give it to him? No, no matter how much he begs. Children often ask for foolish things, which are withheld. The same is true with our heavenly Father. As ignorant, willful children we often ask for things that to us seem like fish or bread but which God knows will have the effect (figuratively of course) of a stone or a snake in our lives. Our Heavenly Father says no, not because He hates us but because he loves us. God's "No" is a sure sign of His wisdom and His love for us. If a five-year-old asks to play with a sharp knife, most reasonable fathers would respond with a definitive "No" and even let him cry and pout. His tears only show his immaturity. And frankly, if the father does give him the knife, it shows he doesn't really love him at all. In the same way, as God's children, believers often ask for things that might bring us harm, including even things we think are good, like a new job, a better salary, a new house, etc. But God Who Alone knows the beginning from the end, sees through to the end and knows that what we have asked for would harm us more than help us. So in His omniscient, loving wisdom He says "No".
Greek: ei oun humeis poneroi ontes (PAPMPN) oidate (2SRAI) domata agatha didonai (PAN) tois teknois humon, poso mallon o pater humon o en tois ouranois dosei (3SFAI) agatha tois aitousin (PAPMPD) auton.
Amplified: If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him! (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
NLT: If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: If you then, for all your evil, quite naturally give good things to your children, how much more likely is it that your Heavenly Father will give good things to those who ask him?" (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Therefore, as for you, in view of the fact that though being those who are evil, actively opposed to that which is good, you know how to be constantly giving good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him for them? (Eerdmans)
Young's: if, therefore, ye being evil, have known good gifts to give to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in the heavens give good things to those asking him?
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!: ei oun humeis poneroi ontes (PAPMPN) oidate (2SRAI) domata agatha didonai (PAN) tois teknois humon, poso mallon o pater humon o en tois ouranois dosei (3SFAI) agatha tois aitousin (PAPMPD) auton. (Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Job 15:16; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9,19; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 2:1, 2, 3; Titus 3:3)(Exodus 34:6,7; 2Samuel 7:19; Psalms 86:5,15; 103:11, 12, 13; Isaiah 49:15; 55:8,9; Hosea 11:8,9; Micah 7:18; Malachi 1:6; Luke 11:11, 12, 13; John 3:16; Romans 5:8, 9, 10; 8:32; Ephesians 2:4,5; 1John 3:1; 4:10) (Psalms 84:11; 85:12; Jeremiah 33:14; Hosea 14:2; Luke 2:10,11; 11:13; 2Corinthians 9:8-15; Titus 3:4, 5, 6, 7)
Evil (4190) (poneros from pÃ³nos = labor, sorrow, pain) means evil in active opposition to good. The point Jesus makes is striking. Even earthly parents who are evil in the sense of being actively opposed to good, are still predisposed to constantly be giving good gifts to their children. That being the case, how much more willing is the perfect Father give good gifts to those who keep asking Him!
Good gifts - Good fathers are eager to help their children and give good gifts to their children.
Jesus use of "much more" is what is referred to as an argument from the lesser to the greater (a fortiori argument), in this case from the human to the divine. If it is true of the lesser, how much more of the greater. God is our Father, our Abba, our Dearest Father par excellence! Think of our earthly fathers at their very best and multiply that by infinity, and you have it. As fathers, few of us are perfect, but even the most imperfect of us are usually able to love our children. But there is a Father Who is much greater than we are and Whose heart is pure and good and Whose love knows no bounds. Isaiah records our Father's words (He is speaking to Israel but the principle applies to believers)… :
And so our Heavenly Father bids us come to Him in prayer. He never errs and never makes mistakes like even the best of earthly fathers. That is the real meaning of the phrase "how much more." God knows much more than we do. God cares much more than we do. He is richer than we are and he is far more willing to answer our prayers than we are to have them answered. And we know that our Father loves us because He gave His own Son to die for us even when we were His enemies. Will He refuse us any good thing we ask of Him? The cross proves that the heart of God is good. And we come to that same good heart every time we pray.
Note the final phrase "to those who ask Him." We should expect God to answer our prayers and we can expect nothing without prayer. In the deepest, most profound sense God's blessings are "limited" to those who ask for them. He will not give if we do not ask. The gates of heaven open to those who pray. Those same gates are closed to everyone else.
Carson writes that…
Someone once said,
Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare
Come, my soul, thy suit prepare:
J R Miller (Who Is He?) - Good Things from God