Sunday, 6 March 2011

Lead us not into temptation?

In the Lord's Prayer we ask God not to lead us into temptation. I find it very difficult to believe that he would do so if we did not ask him not to, and would like to suppose that something has been lost in the translation of that part of the lord' prayer.

Could it be that the wording should be, "lead us out of temptation" - the words "out of" being synonymous with "not into", but carrying a more satisfactory meaning?

Yes it's rather puzzling isn't it.

The puzzle deepens in Greek because it is clearly "do not bring/lead us into temptation/test" not "lead us (not into temptation/test)". Indeed the "but deliver us from evil/the evil/the evil one" that Matthew has but not Luke may be necessary because the Greek translation of whatever the underlying Aramaic was gave the misleading impression of God actively leading us into temptation.

In practice I think it is a recognition that we don't just need to be delivered/rescued from evil/the evil one but, being frail, kept away from temptation as far as possible.

But let's see what John has to add...

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