Word Study – “Worry”

Based on Grasping God’s Word Assignment 9-2

What is the Greek word μεριμναο translated “worry” in Matthew 6:25?

Strong’s Number: 3309

Greek transliterated word for 3309: merimnao

Used in the NT 19 times.

New American Standard (NAS) Word Usage – Total: 19

(Taken from Bible Study Tools website, 2013).  The NAS translates the Greek word μεριμναο transliterated merimnao into the following English words:

anxious (1 time) in Philippians 4:6

care (1 time) in Matt. 6:34

concerned (5 times) in 1 Cor. 7:32 – 34 and Phil. 2:20

have…care (1 time) in 1 Cor. 12:25

worried (4 times) in Matt. 6:25, 27, 28 and Luke 10:41

worry (6 times) in Matt. 6:31, 34, 10:19; Luke 12:11, 22, 26

worrying (1 time) in Luke 12:25

The things we are told not to worry about

Matthew 6:25 – life, what we eat, drink or put on.

Matthew 6:27 – how long we live

Matthew 6:28 – clothing

Matthew 6:31 – food, drink, clothing

Matthew 6:34 – tomorrow

Luke 12:22 – life/ eating, body/clothing

Luke 12:25 – how long we live

Luke 12:26 – other matters!

What is the context in Matthew 10:19 and Luke 12:11?

Persecution, being in front of a court to defend yourself or your faith.

Is this a different kind of worry than that prohibited in Matthew 6:25?

The worry in Matt. 6:25 is about basic needs – this worry distracts us from the Lord.  The worry in Matt. 10:19 and Luke 12:11 is directed towards the Lord, about saying the wrong thing that may get us into trouble or might not glorify Him. However both are similar in that they show a lack of trust in God to provide.

What stands in contrast to Martha’s worry (Luke 10:41)?

Mary’s listening to the Lord.

How does this contrast help to define Martha’s worry?

Martha’s worry then becomes a lack of listening to God, being distracted from what really matters by constant activity.


In 1 Cor. 7 Paul uses the word 4 times.  Describe the context of this usage.

This time the word is again used in the context of being distracted from the Lord, this time by a spouse.

What do the contexts of 1 Corinthians 12:25 and Philippians 2:20 have in common?

They use the word in a different sense from the other verses, i.e. in the sense of care or concern for another person rather than worry about ourselves.

What kind of worry is Paul describing in Philippians 4:6?

All kinds of worry.

How do you know?

It says “Be anxious for nothing.”

The semantic range (various meanings) of the Greek word μεριμναο transliterated merimnao

Worrying (about life, (food, drink, clothing))

Being distracted (from the Lord)

Caring/ concerned (for someone else)

Being anxious or of an anxious mind.


Matthew 6:25 is about worrying about life, being of an anxious mind, being distracted from and not trusting the One that really matters – the Lord.  A good translation of the word for me in Matthew 6:25 would be “distracted”:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be distracted (from your devotion to God) by your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

One response to “Word Study – “Worry””

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