The Lord’s Pray (and lead us not into temptation…)

We are now at the final part of the Lord’s Prayer which is:

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one. ‘

I must admit these are some of the most challenging words in this prayer for me. I certainly don’t expect God to tempt me with sin. He did that to Job but I think that was a very special case which I don’t really understand either but… The devil constantly tempts us but not God. In Luther’s Catechism he says: “God surely tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world and our flesh may not deceive us or lead us into false belief…..” (I left out the last half of this very long sentence; I don’t know why theologians must be so long winded 😉 ).

Luther seems to be just bypassing the “lead us” phrase. I don’t understand that? There seems to be quite a variety of interpretation of this statement even to the extent of questioning the translation of the original Greek text. I don’t believe that God leads anyone to sin!

Certainly we must pray to God to help us overcome the devil and his ways so the second part of this study is very appropriate. If anyone wants to chime in on their interpretation of “And lead us not” it would certainly be welcomed.

 
 

The call to action: We must ask God for the strength to resist the devil’s daily temptations.

2 comments

  1. RJ, I do not remotely consider myself an authority in Greek, but looking at the original word may be helpful here. The key word is not the “lead us” but rather the word which is translated “temptation.” That word, roughly transliterated “peirasmon,” is also used as “trial.” In addition to the Lord’s Prayer references, it’s the word at the gospels’ end when, in Gethsemane, he counsels the disciples to “watch and pray, that ye fall not into temptation (or trial, depending on the translation).”

    But it’s also the word in Galatians 4:14 when Paul says his illness “was a trial” to the Galatian church, as well as in 1 Peter 4:12 regarding the fiery ordeal which is to “test” the believers.

    Perhaps as importantly, it’s the word (in various forms) in James 1:12-13 where James tells us that God cannot be tempted nor does he tempt anyone else.

    The argument is not airtight since the same word occurs in James and the gospels, but I think that the theme which would tie these together would be that God may indeed test us–try us to strengthen or establish our faith, but he does not and will not tempt us as in “induce us to sin.”

  2. I should have added, it’s also the one in 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (ESV)

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