Many times over many decades I’ve been lifted in a challenging time by just one verse of scripture. And I’m not alone, as an internet search will quickly reveal. Here’s the verse I’m talking about, and its not even a complete sentence: “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7 NKJV). You could read it in any other essentially literal translation, like ESV, NASB, CSB, ASV, NET, and of course the KJV, “good enough for the apostle Paul and good enough for me!”
The key is to simply read what is written and then think about it. Take it on its face value, and most times you will have God’s truth and be blessed and encouraged. Initially don’t try to dissect it or check several translations. Just read it several times and be encouraged. “David was greatly distressed… but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (I Samuel 30:6 KJV).
God (verse 6) “cares for you” — that is truth, and truth is reality. So if you fulfill any stated condition, then it is reality in your life right now.
It is immediately obvious that there is a correspondence between the two phrases in the verse. I’ll quote it this way as a simple introversion:
A. Casting all your care
B. upon him;
B. for he
A. cares for you.
Another way to show it would be:
B. all your care
C. upon him;
C. for he
B. cares for you.
A. [Result: no cares left to cast!]
Now let us think about the English words used. “Casting” means “to cast out or off something,” and other usages derive from that simple meaning. The “something” in this case is “all your care.”
A “care” is a matter that right now is a burden or concern to you, something you are anxious and worried about. I’ve often said that unless the word “all” is modified (like “all Americans”), you can study it until you are blue in the face but “all” still means “all.” Not one care is omitted, so it doesn’t matter whether the care is large or small, chronic or casual, your part is to cast it on God, “upon him,” and take your hands off it.
And why does he encourage us to take this action? Because he “cares for you.” Its just that simple. No need for two people or even the whole church to share the burden, for once you cast it on him, God has you covered. So let him take care of the situation.
Notice that I haven’t strayed from the simple English translation or even turned the page in my Bible, and already I’m too blessed to be distressed! Oh, if the church would teach their attendees to just read the Bible and believe what they read!
Be not dismayed whate’er betide,
God will take care of you.
Beneath His wings of love abide,
God will take care of you.
God will take care of you,
Through every day, o’er all the way,
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.
(Civilla Martin, 1904)
Now I’d like to take the process a step further with the Bible aids available. Many will have what are called Reference Bibles, with a center column of cross-references or the references across the bottom like footnotes. Study Bibles take it a step further and include a commentary on the text. If you read your Bible on your smartphone you might not have these aids available to you, but you can always ask Dr. Google by entering the verse reference.
So using these types of aids, I first discover a parallel verse in the Old Testament: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). This was how God looked after His chosen people Israel, and how He looks after His family now in the Church age. God has a long history of responding to your burdens if you cast them on Him.
I also discover that the Greek word translated “casting” or “cast” is only used twice in the New Testament, so that raises my curiosity. The other usage is in Luke 19:35, “And they brought it [the colt] to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it” (ESV). Now here is a word picture we can all understand. There’s no pleading with the colt to take their cloaks, the disciples just throw them on his back. So there’s no need to plead with God; just do what He told you to do. How? Tell Him that your burdens now belong to Him.
The word “casting” in the Greek has the sense of “once and for all,” the aorist tense (which we don’t have in English). Some translations add those words (Amplified, Weymouth, Vincent’s Word Pictures), and rightly so. You only need to do it once; a second time would be unbelief.
Sometimes it is valuable to check what word other translations use, especially if the word used is all Greek to you! I found these words for “casting” in I Peter 5:7: putting, tossing, leave, turn over, throw, let them fall. “To throw upon” is the definition of the actual Greek word. Do you get the message?
How much should you throw? “… all your care.” All still means all. Once you throw it or toss it, your hands are empty. Don’t take your care back! Leave it where it belongs. And the word “care” is a good translation. Other words used are “anxieties, worries, concerns” (Amplified Bible) and “troubles.” These are part of the human condition, well-known by everyone, so there is no need to get more specific.
Coming to the second part of the verse, we find a different word used for “care,” “… for He cares for you.” The word here means “of interest, or concern.” The Amplified reads, “for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” Obviously a different word was needed because God doesn’t have anxieties or worries. Others translate it simply, “For he cares about you”; “For his interest is in you” (Moffatt); “it matters to Him concerning you” (LITV).
This reminds me of a lyric by a favorite songwriter of mine, Audrey Meier, who also wrote “His Name is Wonderful.” Another of her songs reads,
It matters to him about you,
Your heartaches, your sorrow he shares.
Regardless of what you may do,
He wants you, He loves you, He cares.
Oh yes, it matters to him about you,
Believe it because it is true,
Cling to his hand, He’ll understand,
For it matters to Him about you.
(Audrey Meier, 1959).
Before this subject turns into a book length manuscript, I need to finally point out that I Peter 5:7 is not a complete sentence (in spite of some translations using the word “Cast” instead of “Casting). It is actually a continuation of verse 6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (7) Casting all…”
“Humble yourself” is in the passive mode in the text, so it should read “Be humbled” or “allow yourself to be humbled,” or “bow down” (Knox). And that follows on from verse 5, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,” a quotation from Proverbs 3:34. So we have “The Responsibility — Be Humbled,” “The Recipe — Casting all your care,” and “The Reason — For He cares for you.”