Pope Francis has announced to the Roman Catholic Church that they have been praying the Lord's Prayer wrong. (Catholics call the prayer the "Our Father," after the first two words of the prayer.)
Francis wants to re-word the phrase, "And lead us not into temptation," because it implies that God might lead us into temptation if God wanted. And as we all know, temptation is bad. Francis suggests that Catholics pray instead, "Do not let us enter into temptation".
Actually, both the traditional phrasing and Francis' rewording miss the point.
Matthew and Luke to do not agree exactly on the words of the prayer. In Matthew 6, the prayer is thus (New Revised Standard Version):
9 Our Father in heaven,The brackets are footnotes:
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.[c]
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us to the time of trial,[d]
but rescue us from the evil one.[e]
c. Or our bread for tomorrow
d. Or us into temptation.
e. Or from evil. Other ancient authorities add, in some form, For the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen.
Luke puts it this way, a somewhat shorter prayer:
The footnotes are:
Father,[a] hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.[b]
3 Give us each day our daily bread.[c]
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”[d]
a. Other ancient authorities read Our Father in heaven
b. A few ancient authorities read Your Holy Spirit come upon us and cleanse us. Other ancient authorities add Your will be done, on earth as in heaven
c Or our bread for tomorrow
d. Or us into temptation. Other ancient authorities add but rescue us from the evil one (or from evil)Note that the NRSV, a very recent translation (as translations go) does not use "temptation" at all. Why?
In Greek, the expression is καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς εἰς πειρασμόν, pronounced kye mē eisenenkēs hēmas eis peirasmon. peirasmon,
- God is as close as a father. God is a person, not an impersonal influence.
- God will provide for their essential needs
- God will forgive their missteps and sins along the way, but they must be forgiving of others, too.
- Pray for your work to be done before the time of trial.
- But trust God to protect them from the demonic powers opposing them.
What is the time of trial?
The apostle James reinforced this point, writing "Blessed are those who remain steadfast under trial (peirasmon), for when they have stood the test they will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." Peter wrote, "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial (peirasmon) when it comes upon you to test you…. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings ..." (James 1.12, 1 Peter 12.13).
So how to render this troublesome phrase, "lead us not into temptation"? By folding it into the greater theme of the whole prayer. If I were Pope, I'd offer this:
Our Father in heaven,
your name is holy always.
Bring forth your kingdom.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us each day what we need.
And forgive us our sins,
as we also have forgiven those have sinned against us.
And do not bring us to the time of defining trial,
but rescue us from those who oppose you.
This is more paraphrased than I would like. The challenge in translating biblical texts (or any foreign-language texts) is always to translate as succinctly as possible, to stay as true to the original text as one can. But that does risk losing nuance and context, which the author simply assumed the readers would already know.
By the way, Holy Father, I am available for consultation for a very reasonable fee!