To get what Matthew 6:23 means based on its source text, scroll down or follow these links for the original scriptural meaning , biblical context and relative popularity.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

High popularity: 590 searches a month
Popularity relative to other verses in Matthew chapter 6 using average monthly Google searches.

Matthew 6:23 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.
But δὲ But, and, etc But
if ἐὰν A conditional particle; in case that, provided, etc.; often used in connection with other particles to denote indefiniteness or uncertainty if
thine σου Of thee, thy thine
eye ὀφθαλμός The eye (literally or figuratively); by implication, vision; figuratively, envy (from the jealous side-glance) eye
be (may, might, can, could, would, should, must, etc.; also with G1487 and its comparative, as well as with other particles) be be
evil, πονηρὸς Hurtful, i.e., evil (properly, in effect or influence, and thus differing from G2556, which refers rather to essential character, as well as from G4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); figuratively, calamitous; also (passively) ill, i.e., diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e., derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners evil
thy σου Of thee, thy thy
whole ὅλον "whole" or "all", i.e., complete (in extent, amount, time or degree), especially (neuter) as noun or adverb whole
body σῶμά The body (as a sound whole), used in a very wide application, literally or figuratively body
shall be ἔσται· Will be shall be
full of darkness. σκοτεινὸν Opaque, i.e., (figuratively) benighted full darkness
If εἰ If, whether, that, etc If
therefore οὖν (adverbially) certainly, or (conjunctionally) accordingly therefore
the τὸ The (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) the
light φῶς Luminousness (in the widest application, natural or artificial, abstract or concrete, literal or figurative) light
that is τὸ The (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom) that is
in ἐν "in," at, (up-)on, by, etc in
thee σοὶ To thee thee
be ἐστίν, He (she or it) is; also (with neuter plural) they are be
darkness, σκότος Shadiness, i.e., obscurity (literally or figuratively) darkness
how great πόσον Interrogative pronoun (of amount) how much (large, long or (plural) many) how great
is (No Greek definition. English implied.)
that darkness! σκότος Shadiness, i.e., obscurity (literally or figuratively) darkness

Verse Context

See Matthew 6:23 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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  • 21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

  • 22  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

  • 23  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

  • 24  No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

  • 25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?


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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