Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.    Photo by Marko Vombergar/ALETEIA

God

Dec 13, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall

Pope Francis To Change Debated Line Of The Lord's Prayer, "Lead Us Not Into Temptation"

Under the guidance of Pope Francis, the Vatican is set to change the often-contested phrase in the Lord’s Prayer, "lead us not into temptation," to clarify God does not tempt people to sin. But is that what the verse, found in Matthew 6:9-13, actually says?

According to the Daily Express, several textual critics recently concluded that “from a theological, pastoral and stylistic viewpoint,” the centuries-old wording used in English translations of the Bible is incorrect. Instead, they argue that the passage should say, “Abandon us not when in temptation.”

The shift in language comes one year after Francis declared the verse “not a good translation.”

“A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately,” he explained. “It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”

There's no doubt that this particular verse is one that believing Christians have wrestled with understanding. However, while clarification of the issue of God tempting people to sin may be helpful, is it right to change the wording of the prayer itself?

Charles Spurgeon, the late theologian and 19th-century revivalist, offered a massive dose of clarity to the issue in an 1863 sermon. He explained that the meaning of the word “temptation” in the New Testament passage is often misunderstood, and in this passage, it refers primarily to the facing of trials.

God does not tempt us to sin, Spurgeon explains, but scripture illustrates that he will often send us into trials and situations in which temptation toward sin is virtually guaranteed.

“God tempts no man,” Spurgeon said. “For God to tempt in the sense of enticing to sin [is] inconsistent with his nature, and altogether contrary to his known character; but for God to lead us into those conflicts with evil which we call temptations, is not only possible, but usual.”

If anything, this verse in the Lord's prayer should serve to encourage and embolden Christians, Spurgeon contends, as it demonstrates that God will lead us “to battlefields where we must face the full array of evil, and conquer through the blood of the Lamb; and this leading into temptation is by divine grace overruled for our good, since by being tempted we grow strong in grace and patience.”

Jesus himself endured the kind of circumstances referenced in the Lord’s Prayer, explains Tré Goins-Phillips in a thoughtful Faithwire article. "In Matthew 4:1, the Son of God was 'led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.' The 'Spirit' in the passage was referring to one part of the triune God — the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

"It’s obvious the Holy Spirit wasn’t tempting Jesus, because to do so would be to abandon the triune God’s immovable nature," Goins-Phillips concludes. "But in that space — 'the wilderness' — Satan was responsible for tempting Jesus."



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