Home Church Moves to change the wording of the Lord's Prayer used by Catholics around the world appear to be gathering pace as the Italian Bishops' Conference has submitted a new version to the Vatican for approval. Pope Francis said the Lord's Prayer was 'not a good translation'.
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I'm sorry, it's gibberish. As textual scholar Dan Wallace said:. So the proper translation is quite clear. The reason that some try to change it is not out of linguistic knowledge, but rather because they are uncomfortable with what they perceive to be the implications of Jesus' words or have their own theological agenda. The modern Pope and the Mormon false prophet are not the first to raise this issue. There were, indeed, a few writers in the early church who also wrestled with this text in what, on the surface, appears a fairly similar way.
The earliest and most notable of these was Tertullian. The first major church leader to write in Latin rather than Greek, this early-third-century writer commented:.
At first glance, one might mistake Tertullian as agreeing with Joseph Smith that the text should be translated "suffer us not to be led into temptation. But Tertullian does not believe that this is the proper translation. He rightly translates it from Greek to Latin as "lead us not into temptation. He goes on in the same passage to address the testing of Abraham and the temptation of Jesus. In the passage, Tertullian is trying to explain the text in light of both the immediate context and the rest of Scripture.
Yet he consistently translates the phrase as "lead us not into temptation.
Lead Us Not into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil - The Catholic Thing
Tertullian elsewhere comments:. For this is what follows, 'But deliver us from the wicked one,' that is, do not lead us into temptation by giving us up to the wicked one, for then are we delivered from the power of the devil, when we are not handed over to him to be tempted," De Fuga in Persecutione, Section 8. So Tertullian paraphrases the meaning of "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one," as "do not lead us into temptation by giving us up to the wicked one, for then are we delivered from the power of the devil, when we are not handed over to him to be tempted.
He does so by rightly explaining that Satan does the tempting, but God does the leading, and it is God we are asking to lead us on paths where Satan cannot tempt or afflict us. So while occasionally interpreting the passage in words the revisionists might like, Tertullian is quite clear that the text actually says, "lead us not into temptation. A few other church father's after Tertullian followed his lead, borrowing much of his language to interpret the text, 2 but none of this offers any grounds to translate the text any other way than "lead us not into temptation," or something synonymous.
It is worth briefly noting that, ironically, the Mormon prophet also provides his own refutation.
Prior to his "inspired" translation of the Bible, Joseph Smith claimed to translate the Lord's Prayer in the Book of Mormon, which reads:. But does this passage present us with a problem? I mean, if we are to pray asking God not to lead us into temptation, doesn't that imply that God otherwise might be the one to tempt us? How does that work, especially in light of the New Testament teaching elsewhere that God does not tempt anyone, James ?
Is there a contradiction here? No, there is not. First of all, Jesus did not ask us to pray that God would not tempt us but rather that He would not lead us into temptation.
Thus, the implication is not that God Himself might tempt us, but rather that He is the one guiding our lives and that we desire Him to lead us away from evil influences that might tempt us to sin. Indeed, the request to not lead us into temptation is followed by the phrase "but deliver us from evil. Secondly, the requests in the Lord's prayer are not meant to bring something to God's attention that He doesn't otherwise know.
As Jesus says before offering the model prayer, "your Father knows what you need before you ask Him," Matthew Prayer is an act of worship and communion with God, not a means of making sure God does what we need Him to do. Indeed, the clauses of the model prayer are designed not to inform God but to transform us! When we pray "forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors," Matthew , it is a reminder to us of our need to forgive.
Jesus says as much immediately after the prayer in verses When we pray "give us this day our daily bread," Matthew , it is a reminder to be content and trust God with the future. Likewise, when we pray "And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil," we remind ourselves of the priority of avoiding temptation to sin and staying on the righteous path where God would lead us. We pray about these things because we need God's help.
'Lead us not into temptation': Should the wording of the Lord's Prayer be changed?
We are weak and cannot do them alone. But in praying about them, we keep them ever before our minds. It is a means God uses to conform us to His own will. Finally, it should be noted that Jesus asks us to pray not to be lead into temptation right after He was lead into temptation on our behalf.
Shortly before Jesus gives the model prayer, we are told:.