Let your light shine




In this verse from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his followers to do the right thing to set a good example and so God may be glorified.

To get what Matthew 5:16 means in detail, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Very high popularity: 9,900 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Matthew chapter 5 using average monthly Google searches.

Matthew 5:16 Translation & Meaning

What does this verse really mean? Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Greek Scripture. This shows the English words related to the source biblical texts along with brief definitions. Follow the buttons in the right-hand column for detailed definitions and verses that use the same root words. Use this reference information to gain deeper insight into the Bible and enrich your understanding. Information based on Strong's Exhaustive Concordance[1].

KJV Verse Original Greek Meaning/ Definition
This is a simplified translation of the original Greek word. Follow the buttons on the right to get more detail.
Use the buttons below to get details on the Greek word and view related Bible verses that use the same root word.
Let your ὑμῶν Of (from or concerning) you Let
light φῶς Luminousness (in the widest application, natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative) light
so οὕτως In this way (referring to what precedes or follows) so
shine λαμψάτω To beam, i.e., radiate brilliancy (literally or figuratively) shine
before ἔμπροσθεν In front of (in place (literally or figuratively) or time) before
men, ἀνθρώπων Man-faced, i.e., a human being men
that ὅπως What(-ever) how, i.e., in the manner that (as adverb or conjunction of coincidence, intentional or actual) that
they may see ἴδωσιν Used only in certain past tenses, the others being borrowed from the equivalent G3700 and G3708; properly, to see (literally or figuratively); by implication, (in the perfect tense only) to know see
your ὑμῶν Of (from or concerning) you your
good καλὰ Properly, beautiful, but chiefly (figuratively) good (literally or morally), i.e., valuable or virtuous (for appearance or use, and thus distinguished from G0018, which is properly intrinsic) good
works, ἔργα Toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication, an act works
and καὶ And, also, even, so then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words and
glorify δοξάσωσιν To render (or esteem) glorious (in a wide application) glorify
your ὑμῶν Of (from or concerning) you your
Father πατέρα A "father" (literally or figuratively, near or more remote) Father
which is τὸν The (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) which is
in ἐν "in," at, (up-)on, by, etc in
heaven. οὐρανοῖς The sky; by extension, heaven (as the abode of God); by implication, happiness, power, eternity; specially, the Gospel (Christianity) heaven

Verse Context

See Matthew 5:16 with its adjacent verses in bold below. Follow either of the two large buttons below to see these verses in their broader context of the King James Bible or a Bible concordance.

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Verse Search Popularity Levels What do people search for?

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Very Low
  • 14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

  • 15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

  • 16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

  • 17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

  • 18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.


The King James Bible (1611) and Strong's Concordance (1890) with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries are sourced from the BibleForgeDB database ( within the BibleForge project ( Popularity rankings are based on search volume data from the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool.

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