Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

Temptation – Did the Pope really change the Lord’s Prayer?

Did the Pope really change the Lord’s Prayer?  He did.  Sort of.  Pope Francis did change the translation of the Lord’s Prayer.  But the original Greek remains.  Christians believe, should believe, the Bible is the inspired word of God.  The translations are not the inspired word of God.  We hope the translators do a proper job.  But a look at various translations and especially at various commentaries on the Bible tells us they often don’t agree.  Even on key points like “lead us not into temptation“, they don’t agree. 

Temptation - Did the Pope really change the Lord's Prayer?The verse in question has to do with temptation.  Specifically, it’s allegedly about who causes temptation.  But is that really the point of that verse?  I feel like it’s not.  

I’m not going to get into a detailed look at the entire Lord’s Prayer, the Our Father as it’s know to Catholics.  A detailed verse by verse analysis of the entire passage in Matthew, from which the prayer is derived, is available in my series on The Lord’s Prayer.

What was the Lord’s Prayer?

I ask the question about what the Lord’s Prayer used to be as a way to get your attention, not because I believe it’s really changed.  As I said at the top, the actual Greek text that records what Jesus said hasn’t changed.  Only the translation of that original text has changed.  And that change is only for Catholics.  Nothing at all has changed for Protestants.  

The thing is though, depending on the Bible translation being used, lead us not into temptation isn’t what many people are familiar with in the first place.  Surprised?  Some of you are.  Others are more likely surprised at lead us not into temptation being in the Bible at all.

Note: as you read verses below, Jesus’ words are in red.  However, many of the translations don’t actually do that.  I’ve added the red only to make it easier to identify the parallel text.  

lead us not into temptation

Here’s the 2010 NIV translation of the passages in Matthew 6:

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,  
but deliver us from the Evil one.’”  1)The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 6:9–13). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

As you see, verse 13 says lead us not into temptation and deliver us from the evil one.  That’s not affected by the Pope changing the Lord’s prayer.  The passage us intact in the translation.

The King James version also says lead us not into temptation.  However, rather than deliver us from the evil one, it says deliver us from evil. Actually, it appears to be a somewhat minor difference, since evil comes to us by way of the evil one.  But we’ll see soon, it’s a big difference.

Interestingly, the New King James did change from “evil” to “the evil one“.  Apparently the translators working on the New King James thought it was necessary to make the change to God delivering us, not from evil, but from the evil one.  As I suggested, a big difference.  We’ll see more shortly.

don’t let us yield to temptation

I don’t normally use the New Living Translation.  Or the Good News Translation.  They can be a good starting point, especially for someone who isn’t used to “church” words.  However, these translations often lose a lot of meaning.  But in this case, it’s interesting to see how they translated verse 13.

First, the New Living Translation from Matthew 6:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.  2)Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mt 6:9–13). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

The NLT says Don’t let us yield to temptation.  An interesting difference.  It doesn’t say anything about whether God leads us into temptation.  Rather, it asks God to not let us yield to temptation.  Again, that’s not affected by the Pope changing the Lord’s prayer.

And now the Good News Translation from Matthew 6:

‘Our Father in heaven:
May your holy name be honoured;
10 may your Kingdom come;
may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need.
12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.
13 Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’  3)American Bible Society. (1992). The Holy Bible: The Good news Translation (2nd ed., Mt 6:9–13). New York: American Bible Society.

The GNT asks God not to bring us to hard testing.  The word “temptation” isn’t there at all.   Another interesting variation that we’ll look into.  One more time though, that’s not affected by the Pope changing the Lord’s prayer.

And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.

Here’s an old translation that is approved for use by Catholics.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our supersubstantial bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil. Amen.  4)The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. (2009). (Mt 6:9–13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

As you can see, there are some differences.  However, lead us not into temptation is not one of them.  Once again, that’s not affected by the Pope changing the Lord’s prayer.

The Douay Rheims Bible was translated in the 16th century from the Latin Vulgate of St Jerome, a text that was declared authoritative for Catholics and commonly known as the purest text available at the time. The first version of the Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible was started at the English College at Douai in 1568 and completed in Reims in 1582. Originally known as the Rheims Testament, it was revised by Bishop Challoner in 1749-1752 as the Douay-Rheims Bible. The Douay-Rheims translation is the one most often used in Latin Missals. The Douay-Rheims Bible is a good choice for those who love history, tradition, and language.  5)//www.catholiccompany.com/douay-rheims-c465/

You might expect to find one single approved Catholic Bible.  At least, only one per language and / or country.  But here’s what the Vatican Web Site says:

The Holy Bible is available in almost every language on earth: In order to have access to the latest Bible version, kindly consult the website of your Episcopal Conference which takes care of the continuous updating of the translations.  6)//www.vatican.va/archive/bible/index.htm

the final test

I looked up the information for the Los Angeles Diocese.  They use the New American Bible.  Here’s how they translate the passages that make up the Catholic “Our Father”:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread;
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors;
13 and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.  7)Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Board of Trustees, Catholic Church. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, and United States Catholic Conference. Administrative Board. (1996). The New American Bible: translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources and the revised New Testament (Mt 6:9–13). Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.

This is a very different translation of verse 13!  Here’s the NAB explanation for what the final test means: Jewish apocalyptic writings speak of a period of severe trial before the end of the age, sometimes called the “messianic woes.” This petition asks that the disciples be spared that final test.

However, as odd as it appears to be, that’s not affected by the Pope changing the Lord’s prayer.

Fascinating stuff.  It appears to be totally different from any of the other translations we looked at.  All of the other translations appear to refer to temptation during our life.  This one appears to be a prayer to not get caught up in what’s known today as the tribulation described in Revelation.  It’seems like an odd thing for Jesus to tell His followers to pray for.  

Is temptation really the best word?

Do you remember those tests you probably took in school where you had to pick the “best” word out of a group of possible words that might fit the answer to a question?  Or maybe you’re young enough that you haven’t had to do that yet.  Assuming it’s still even done.

Anyway, that’s the question I have about verse 13.  Is temptation really the best word to use?  It’s not a shot in the dark, so to speak.  As I was doing the initial research on how various translations of the Bible dealt with Mt 6:13, I came across this in the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament: SBL Edition:

lead us not into temptation

Notice the highlights. 

Lead – can also be translated as bring.

Into – can also be translated as to.

Temptation – can also be translated as testing.

All of that leads to some really big questions.  

Who leads us into temptation?

Christians believe that  God does not lead His people into temptation.  Only Satan does that.

The question though is – do we know what temptation meant in Biblical times?  Here’s an answer.

Temptation

temptation, generally an enticement to do evil, the term is used in the Bible to convey two somewhat different ideas. The first is that of ‘testing’ or ‘proving by testing,’ to determine the depth and integrity of one’s commitment to God (see, e.g., God’s command to Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice in Gen. 22:1–19; also the testing of Job in Job 1–2). In the NT, some of the writers thought of persecution as a ‘testing’ in this manner (e.g., 1 Pet. 1:3–9). The intent of this testing is ultimately to strengthen the person’s faith and devotion to God.

Right away we see that temptation means more than one thing.  One is testing.  The other is persecution.  Oddly, neither of them necessarily is because of Satan.  That presents difficulty for the common way of thinking temptation comes only from Satan.  Or does it?

The second nuance of temptation is more in line with modern popular understandings of the term, namely, an enticement toward sin leading to a deliberate act of evil against God or one’s neighbor. The biblical writers are careful, however, to make it clear that God does not ‘tempt’ humans to do evil (e.g., James 1:12–15) and in fact makes available the resources necessary to resist temptation (e.g., 1 Cor. 10:13). The familiar petition in the Lord’s Prayer dealing with temptation probably should be understood as ‘Do not allow us to go into temptation’ (Matt. 6:13a), as the original Aramaic likely would have read. It is quite possible, moreover, that the reference is to ‘testing’ rather than to ‘temptation’ as this is popularly understood.

Now we get into the common way of thinking.  As the author says, the modern popular understanding(s) of the term

Further, we read about what the original Aramaic probably was.  That’s important, since Jesus likely spoke in Aramaic and we’re reading our modern translations from Greek. 

Finally, it says a better understanding is probably Do not allow us to go into temptation.  Not only that, but the word “testing” is probably a better word than “temptation”.  At least, testing is a better word because the Biblical meaning of temptation has pretty much been lost in today’s world.

…       I’ve left out a couple paragraphs that deal with people testing God, since they have no bearing on the current discussion.

In the biblical writings, therefore, temptation or testing has these two nuances: the strong inclination of humankind toward evil when it is known that God wills good and testing situations that may demonstrate one’s commitment to God and God’s ways and even strengthen one’s faith. In each, if people overcome temptation, i.e., pass the test, their faith has been enhanced and their character strengthened (e.g., Rom. 5:3–5).  8)Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., pp. 1032–1033). San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Ultimately, the answer is no, we really don’t know what temptation means.  Not in the Biblical sense.  We need to understand the difference between God testing us and Satan enticing us to do evil.  And we need a way to identify both of them.

What is “testing”?

I’d love to clear this up.  Here’s the background for the Greek word translated as temptation in Mt 6:13.

πειρασμός (peirasmos). n. masc. sing. test, trial, temptation, enticement to sin. Describes a trial or temptation, as well as the act of testing God.
The noun peirasmos is related to the verb πειράζω (peirazō, “to test”). It can be used to describe the trial of a person’s integrity (1 Pet 1:6; 4:12) or the testing of God by humans (Heb 3:8). It can also denote the occurrence of a trial or temptation that can be an occasion to sin, whether arising from internal desires or outward forces (e.g., Matt 6:13; Mark 14:38; 1 Cor 10:13; Jas 1:12; Rev 3:10).  9)Kim, S. H. (2014). Testing. D. Mangum, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, & R. Hurst (Eds.), Lexham Theological Wordbook. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Unfortunately, that’s about as clear as mud.  It can still mean either a trial by God, or an enticement to sin by Satan.

We must have another way to straighten this out.  There must be a way to maintain the integrity of what Jesus said, without having anyone, including the Pope, change the Lord’s Prayer.

The Context of The Lord’s Prayer

Context is the one thing I haven’t looked at yet.  Context is always important.  To start the examination, let’s look at the entire passage one more time.  Here is the NIV translation.

“ ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from the evil one.  10)The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 6:9–13). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Notice that it starts with “Our Father”.  It’s a prayer given by Jesus to His followers.  Therefore, it’s a prayer from someone who believes in the Christian God.  No one else.  Only believers. 

When a nonbeliever says these words, they do not constitute a prayer.  They can’t.  The nonbeliever, by definition, doesn’t believe in God.  Therefore, these words are either spoken with no intended target or with a target “god” who cannot possibly fulfill them.  That’s a huge factor behind the context of the Lord’s Prayer.

What do the verses have in common?

As I was praying about this topic, this prayer, something came to me.  All of the verses share a common thread.  Let’s look at that.

in heaven

Yes, God the Father is in Heaven.  It’s a basic belief, stated by Jesus.

your kingdom come … on earth as it is in heaven

Yes, God’s kingdom will come to earth.  There are multiple prophecies in the Old Testament.  The New Testament book of Revelation goes into great detail regarding the second coming of Christ and the ushering in of God’s Kingdom.

your will be done … on earth as it is in heaven

Yes, God’s will is always done.  However, we must pay attention to what God desires, versus what He wills.  For instance, while God desires that all people be saved, His will is that those who believe in and follow Jesus will be saved.  For more on the need to both believe in and follow Jesus, please see Are we supposed to Believe God, Believe in God or Follow God?.

Give us today our daily bread

The question is, what is our daily bread.  Remember the older Douay-Rheims Bible that’s approved for Catholics?  It says, Give us this day our supersubstantial bread.  That’s the “best” translation.  There are too many starving people in the world.  It’s been that way throughout history.  There probably always will be.  To think that this passage means literal bread or food is to think that God is failing. 

Also remember that Jesus said, while He was being tempted by Satan in Mt 4:4, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’”  Again, given the context, God’s word, the supersubstantial bread, seems to be the best translation.

Giving that “bread” to us is something in which God does not fail.  Even though we sometimes fail, as followers of Jesus and the ones commanded to perform the Great Commission, God does not.  In His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus told the Pharisees in Lk 19:40, “I tell you,” (he replied,) “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

That statement means creation was made by God and for God.  Evidence of God, as Paul writes in Romans 1:19, is everywhere.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

Debts, sins, trespasses: all words included in various translations.  No matter the actual word used, it’s about forgiveness.  God will forgive the sins of those who believe in and follow Jesus.  However, part of “believe in and follow Jesus” means that we will also forgive others.  That’s what Jesus said.  That’s what’s going to happen.

lead us not into temptation

Let’s skip that for a moment.  We’ll do the final phrase and then come back to this.

but deliver us from the evil one

Earlier, I mentioned that there’s a difference between “evil” and “the evil one”.  Here’s why I said that.  Christians believe that only Satan “tempts” us, in the modern vernacular.  God “tests” us.  But both are somehow related to evil.  Remember when Peter was tempted?

Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Satan asked God for permission to tempt Peter.  To lead Peter into doing something sinful.  God said yes.  We know that by the way Jesus responded.  Jesus did not pray, “lead Peter not into temptation”.  Not even close. 

But Jesus did pray that, after Peter has been tempted, and after Peter fails the test, then Peter will return to God.  After Peter returns to God, which He did, Peter is forgiven.  We know Peter was forgiven by the events that took place throughout the remainder of the New Testament.  We also know Peter was forgiven because Jesus gave him the command to strengthen your brothers.

Therefore, delivering us from evil would be a strange thing for Jesus to pray for. 

In the passage above, Jesus didn’t pray for Peter to be delivered from evil.  Jesus did nothing to stop or prevent what happened to Peter.  Satan’s request was granted.  Peter was tested.  Peter even failed.

But what did not happen?  Peter was not delivered to the evil one.  To Satan.  Even though Peter failed, he also returned and was saved from Satan’s clutches.  but deliver us from the evil one seems to be a much better translation than deliver us from evil.

Unless we recognize that “deliver us from evil” means “deliver us from the evil one”. 

Here’s the definition for the Greek word we read as either “evil” or “the evil one”.

4190 πονηρός [poneros /pon·ay·ros/] adj. From a derivative of 4192; TDNT 6:546; TDNTA 912; GK 4505; 76 occurrences; AV translates as “evil” 51 times, “wicked” 10 times, “wicked one” six times, “evil things” twice, and translated miscellaneously seven times. 1 full of labours, annoyances, hardships. 1A pressed and harassed by labours. 1B bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble. 2 bad, of a bad nature or condition. 2A in a physical sense: diseased or blind. 2B in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad. Additional Information: The word is used in the nominative case in Mt. 6:13. This usually denotes a title in the Greek. Hence Christ is saying, deliver us from “The Evil”, and is probably referring to Satan.  11)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Did you catch the last part?  The word is used in the nominative case in Mt. 6:13. This usually denotes a title in the Greek. Hence Christ is saying, deliver us from “The Evil”, and is probably referring to Satan.

I don’t usually get into grammar, but this is important.  When we read “evil”, it’s not a word to describe whether something or someone is good or bad.  In this case, the word is a title.  That’s why “evil” and “the evil one” can be the same thing. 

However, we don’t know that from reading our English translations.  And how often have you heard before that this reference is actually to “the evil”, IE. to Satan?  Ever?  It’s a big deal.  The difference between God allowing us to fall into evil situations versus allowing us to fall into Satan’s hands for eternity is infinitely large.  Literally the difference between Heaven and Hell. 

Remember, this prayer is said by Christians.  True followers of Jesus.  We are forgiven for the evil things we do.  We will not fall victim to the evil one.  We will not fall victim to Satan.

lead us not into temptation

Let’s return to temptation / testing.  It’s a very fine line.

As we saw, temptation is a messy word.  It can be either testing or an enticement to sin.  We know that God will allow testing.  The Bible even explains why this is true.  Here’s but one example.

Jas 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We also know that God will not entice us to sin.  Allow testing, yes.  And remember:

Warnings From Israel’s History

1Co 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

1Co 10:6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

1Co 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Yes, I put in the whole section for context.  But the most important part for this topic is he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

Do you realize what this means?  For the Christian, whether the temptation in verse 13 is testing from God or an enticement to sin from Satan, it will never be beyond what you can bear.  Never.  Not for the person who truly believes in and follows Jesus.  Never.

In that light, let’s go back to the word “temptation” in verse 13 one more time.

88.308 πειράζωc; ἐκπειράζωc; πειρασμόςb, οῦ m: to endeavor or attempt to cause someone to sin—‘to tempt, to trap, to lead into temptation, temptation.’
πειράζωc: ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ ‘he stayed for forty days in the desert and Satan tried to make him sin’ Mk 1:13. In translating expressions involving tempting or trying, it is necessary in a number of languages to indicate clearly whether or not the temptations succeeded. Therefore, it may not be sufficient in Mk 1:13 to simply say ‘Satan tempted him’; in fact, in some instances it may be necessary to make the failure of the temptation quite specific, for example, ‘Satan tried to make Jesus sin, but was not successful.’

ἐκπειράζωc: νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτόν ‘a certain teacher of the Law came up and tried to catch him (saying something wrong)’ Lk 10:25. It is also possible to understand ἐκπειράζω in Lk 10:25 as merely a process of testing (see 27.46) or of trying to trap (see 27.31).
πειρασμόςb: συντελέσας πάντα πειρασμὸν ὁ διάβολος ἀπέστη ἀπ̓ αὐτοῦ ἄχρι καιροῦ ‘when the Devil completely finished tempting (Jesus), he left him for a while’ Lk 4:13.  12)Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 774–775). New York: United Bible Societies.

Here’s something to notice: In translating expressions involving tempting or trying, it is necessary in a number of languages to indicate clearly whether or not the temptations succeeded. Therefore, it may not be sufficient in Mk 1:13 to simply say ‘Satan tempted him’; in fact, in some instances it may be necessary to make the failure of the temptation quite specific, for example, ‘Satan tried to make Jesus sin, but was not successful.’

Now, when we look at that, we can draw a very significant conclusion.  God will never test Christians, true believers, beyond what we can bear.  God will also not allow Satan to tempt us beyond what we can bear.  Yes, we can and we will fail from time to time.  But we will not fall victim to Satan.  We will return to God and be forgiven.  

Therefore, when we read lead us not into temptation, it’s from the point of view of lead us not into temptation that will cause us to permanently fall away from God.

Why do I put it that way?  Notice that every other verse in The Lord’s Prayer is going to happen.  Every single one of them.  It’s not like God needs to have “x” number of Christians say this prayer before everything in it can be done.  Every item in this prayer is part of God’s will.  It is going to happen.  One of those things that will happen is that we will be rescued from the evil one.

Final review of The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven, The Father is in Heaven.

hallowed be your name, God’s name is hallowed above all other names.

10 your kingdom come, God’s Kingdom will come to this earth, at the time He chooses.

your will be done, God’s will is always done.

on earth as it is in heaven. When the time comes, God’s Kingdom will be fully realized here on earth.

11 Give us today our daily bread. Evidence of God, His Word (Jesus) is all around us, every day.

12 And forgive us our debts, God will forgive the sins of those who love and follow Jesus.

as we also have forgiven our debtors. Jesus’ true followers will, to the best of our abilities, forgive those who sin against us.

13 And lead us not into temptation, God will not test us or allow Satan to entice us to a point where we would forever fall away from Him.

but deliver us from the evil one. God will not let us fall victim to Satan, but will cause us to spend eternity with Him.

Conclusion – Temptation – Did the Pope really change the Lord’s Prayer?

At the top, I said sort of.  I also pointed out that the Greek remains.  No one, even the Pope, can change the manuscripts that were left from Biblical times.  They were and are the inspired word of God.  No one’s translation is the inspired word of God.  No prayer that is derived from those words is the inspired word of God.

So while the Pope has changed the wording of one phrase in the “Our Father” that Catholics say, He has not changed the inspired word of God.  

In fact, the Pope didn’t do anything that others haven’t already done before him.  He changed a translation.  He changed it to one he thought was better.

However, I still feel that the point was missed.  A great opportunity was missed.

Language and culture are a problem.  Christians today just don’t speak the same languages as the people in the Bible.  And our culture is totally different.  That’s a gap that cannot be bridged just by changing a few words.  Look how long it took me to write up something simple (?) about just this one segment of one verse – lead us not into temptation.

Here’s something we really should remember and practice from the early church.

The Fellowship of the Believers

Ac 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Let’s look at a few things about “fellowship”.

First:

2842 κοινωνία [koinonia /koy·nohn·ee·ah/] n f. From 2844; TDNT 3:797; TDNTA 447; GK 3126; 20 occurrences; AV translates as “fellowship” 12 times, “communion” four times, “communication” once, “distribution” once, “contribution” once, and “to communicate” once. 1 fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse. 1A the share which one has in anything, participation. 1B intercourse, fellowship, intimacy. 1B1 the right hand as a sign and pledge of fellowship (in fulfilling the apostolic office). 1C a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship.  13)Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Second:

34.5 κοινωνίαa, ας f: an association involving close mutual relations and involvement—‘close association, fellowship.’ ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ’ ἡμῶν ‘in order that you may have fellowship with us’ 1 Jn 1:3; δἰ οὗ ἐκλήθητε εἰς κοινωνίαν τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ‘through whom you were called to have fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ’ 1 Cor 1:9.  14)Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 445–446). New York: United Bible Societies.

Third, from the two above:

Thanksgiving

1Co 1:4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Let me ask you a question.  Given the way “fellowship” is used above, does that match the “fellowship” at your church?

Later in 1 Corinthians, Paul writes:

1Co 15:58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

I know we don’t literally always give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord.  We’re not perfect.  That’s not going to happen.  But honestly, does the verse above describe your “fellowship” either before or after church?  

I suggest that we don’t need new words in our Bible translations.  What we do need is a better understanding of the words that are already there.  The Hebrew and Greek words that were divinely inspired.  The culture that existed then.  And we need a realization that the Bible was translated into our languages – English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Etc. 

Things get lost in the translation.  We need to learn what those things are.  It’s the only way we can relate to what the Bible actually means for us today.

All of that takes time.  And effort.  It takes setting priorities.  But it’s not like the Bible doesn’t tell us what our priority should be.

Mt 22:37 Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

It’s very straightforward.  It’s just not easy.  Unless, 

Mt 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I provide no context for that last verse.  But really, it’s not needed.  For the true follower of Jesus, the ones who believe and follow Him, all things are possible IF and ONLY IF we include God.  In fact, follow God.  Certainly in our “fellowship”.  Certainly in our trying to understand the Bible, His word.  And in as much of the rest of our life as possible.

Jn 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

Jn 14:25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

We don’t need new words in our Bibles.  We need the Holy Spirit.  We need Him to teach us what the original words meant then and what they mean now.  And then, after we’ve learned, we need to go out and actually do the Great Commission.  Not our way, but Jesus’ way.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

References   [ + ]

1, 10. The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 6:9–13). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
2. Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Mt 6:9–13). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
3. American Bible Society. (1992). The Holy Bible: The Good news Translation (2nd ed., Mt 6:9–13). New York: American Bible Society.
4. The Holy Bible, Translated from the Latin Vulgate. (2009). (Mt 6:9–13). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
5. //www.catholiccompany.com/douay-rheims-c465/
6. //www.vatican.va/archive/bible/index.htm
7. Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. Board of Trustees, Catholic Church. National Conference of Catholic Bishops, and United States Catholic Conference. Administrative Board. (1996). The New American Bible: translated from the original languages with critical use of all the ancient sources and the revised New Testament (Mt 6:9–13). Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
8. Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., pp. 1032–1033). San Francisco: Harper & Row.
9. Kim, S. H. (2014). Testing. D. Mangum, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, & R. Hurst (Eds.), Lexham Theological Wordbook. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
11, 13. Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
12. Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on sema


This post first appeared on God Vs Religion, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

Temptation – Did the Pope really change the Lord’s Prayer?

×

Subscribe to God Vs Religion

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription

×