As you may have heard a few days ago Pope Francis called for a phrase change to The Lord’s Prayer. The change is related to the phrase about “leading us into temptation”.
Naturally, Greek To Me was intrigued by the Pope’s call to shake things up in regards to the English Translation of the Greek text.
In general we agree with the Pope’s change for two reasons:
- The word family based on the Greek verb, πείραζω “I tempt, attempt, try, test, challenge” can mean many things, each of which is dependent upon the context. In particular, the verb can be used positively for God or Jesus who “tests” people—to see how they will respond; in a negative use, it is the Devil who “tempts” people as an enticement to sin. This is what the Devil does to Jesus in the wilderness—he seeks to entice Jesus to sin—to make the wrong decisions.
- James makes it very clear, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (James 1:13). The KJV is certainly off the mark in the translation, “After these things, God tempted Abraham . . . “ (Gen. 22:1)
The question is very real and pointed, Why would God lead people into temptation when this is not something that God does? Thus, to say, “Lead us not into temptation” is to pray that God would not do something he would never intend to do. Yes, temptation is a reality for all of us—but certainly not something God engineers. Thus, the expression “abandon us not” is legitimate, for we can pray that God will see us through particular temptations that come our way; we do live in a fallen and broken world. Is testing also a reality? Most certainly—God does put people to the test to guide them and make them mature and flourish.