The Meaning of Matthew 5:14 Explained

Matthew 5:14

KJV: Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

YLT: 'Ye are the light of the world, a city set upon a mount is not able to be hid;

Darby: Ye are the light of the world: a city situated on the top of a mountain cannot be hid.

ASV: Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.

What does Matthew 5:14 Mean?

Study Notes

"kosmos" = "mankind."
The Greek word kosmos means "order," "arrangement," and so, with the Greeks, "beauty"; for order and arrangement in the sense of system are at the bottom of the Greek conception of beauty.
When used in the N.T. of humanity, the "world" of men, it is organized humanity-- humanity in families, tribes, nations--which is meant. The word for chaotic, unorganized humanity--the mere mass of man is thalassa, the "sea" of men (e.g.) Revelation 13:1 (See Scofield " Revelation 13:8 ") . For "world" (kosmos) in the bad ethical sense, "world system" John 7:7 .

Context Summary

Matthew 5:10-16 - The New Salt And Light Of Human Society
We must expect to be persecuted, if we hold up the pure light of a consistent life amid the evils of the world. Men hate the light which exposes their misdeeds. They will tolerate you only so long as you leave them alone. But the universal testimony of those who have suffered thus is that the Son of man walks through the furnace beside His faithful martyrs.
Our holy lives ought to act as salt to arrest the corruption around us. It is said that the presence of a child has arrested many a crime. A sudden silence should fall on certain kinds of conversation when we enter the room. But it is very easy to lose our saltness, as did Lot in Sodom and the seven churches of Asia. See also Ezekiel 15:2-5. Our lives ought to serve also as light. The spirit of man is a candle. See Proverbs 20:27. We need to be kindled by the nature of God. Men light candles and God will light you. Let us burn and shine as John did, John 5:35. Beware of the bushel and ask God to choose your stand. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 5

1  Jesus' sermon on the mount:
3  The Beattitudes;
13  the salt of the earth;
14  the light of the world
17  He came to fulfill the law
21  What it is to kill;
27  to commit adultery;
33  to swear
38  He exhorts to forgive wrong,
43  to love our enemies;
48  and to labor after perfection

What do the individual words in Matthew 5:14 mean?

You are the light of the world Not is able a city to be hidden on a hill lying
Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου οὐ δύναται πόλις κρυβῆναι ἐπάνω ὄρους κειμένη

φῶς  light 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: φῶς  
Sense: light.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
κόσμου  world 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: κόσμος  
Sense: an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.
δύναται  is  able 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: δύναμαι  
Sense: to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom.
πόλις  a  city 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: πόλις  
Sense: a city.
κρυβῆναι  to  be  hidden 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Infinitive Passive
Root: κρύπτω  
Sense: to hide, conceal, to be hid.
ὄρους  a  hill 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: ὄρος  
Sense: a mountain.
κειμένη  lying 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: κεῖμαι  
Sense: to lie.