I heard this morning that Pope Francis wants to change the wording of The Lord’s Prayer. He said that God does not lead us into temptation, but that is Satan’s job. He said this verse implies that God leads you into Sin and a father wouldn’t do that but that a father would help you get up immediately. Instead he wants it to be, “do not let us fall into temptation.”
I enjoy digging deeper into the Bible and getting a better understanding of what it’s teaching us so let’s jump on in.
First of all, temptation isn’t actually sinning. Temptation happens before you sin or don’t sin. It’s important to distinguish between temptation and sin because, come on, who isn’t tempted to do something they shouldn’t? I know that I get tempted but I don’t always follow through on the temptation. And it’s God, and the things I’ve learned from His word, that helped me overcome the temptation.
Pope Francis is using the KJV, so I wondered what the original Greek translation is actually saying. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “lead” (1533) could be better translated as “carry” or “bring”.
So, instead of “Lead us not into temptation,” it would be more accurate to say “please don’t carry or bring me into temptation”? I wondered what the original word “temptation” is actually saying.
The word temptation here could be better translated as “trial” (3986) So, we would be asking God, “please do not carry me or bring me into a trial or test, but deliver me from evil”? This reminds me immediately of Job, who God actually brought to Satan’s attention.
“Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” Job 1:8
God said to Satan there’s nobody on Earth like Job, who is upright and blameless. Satan replies that God blesses Job and if God took away all those blessings then he’d surely curse God.
“The LORD said to Satan, “Very well then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job 1:12
God is outright testing Job, carrying him or leading him into temptation. The heading over this section is even titled, “Job’s First Test.” Even though He is allowing Job to be tested by Satan (who God created) He also ordered Satan not to lay a finger on the man himself.
Hmm . . . in the book of Job, I see no implication of God leading him into temptation. I see that God outright carries him into temptation which is directly brought about by Satan. So, Pope Francis is partially right that it’s Satan’s job to tempt humans into sinful behavior. But, who created Satan and gave him that job? God did.
It might be hard for some people to look at God as being in control of everything, including Satan, or whomever else he created. I feel comforted because I know that God is in charge, and I personally don’t want to be tested the way Job was tested. God allowed him to go through some pretty bad stuff. But God also protected Job while he went through these tests.
I was reminded of another verse:
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23,24.
Many verses in the Bible let us know that God will get us through difficult situations that will surely happen, but he won’t let us fall. So, the Pope’s concept about asking God to not let us fall is definitely a common concept in the Bible. But I still wonder if it is an appropriate or necessary translation for this particular prayer?
The Lord’s Prayer was given by Jesus as instruction on how to pray. And if we study it carefully, and combine this one prayer with other things the Bible is teaching, I believe we can continue to deepen our understanding until the cows come home.
Let’s look again at Pope Francis’ proposed translation “do not let us fall into temptation.” Is this a better translation? Does it give us a deeper meaning of what the prayer is asking for? Does the Pope’s reasoning behind the change make sense? Are his reasons consistent with the rest of the Bible? Does it actually water down the truth?
I’m glad I looked up the original meanings in the concordance. Gives me a little more wisdom to chew on.