"Pope Francis has called for the English wording of the Lord’s Prayer to be changed, because it implies God “induces temptation”.
The prayer asks God to “lead us not into temptation”.
But the pontiff told Italian broadcasters he believed the wording should be altered to better reflect that it was not God who led humans to sin.
He told the TV2000 channel: “It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation.”
He added: “I am the one who falls; it’s not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen.
“A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately. It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.” (The Guardian, 8 December 2017)
- It is true that God does not tempt us. That is, drive us into sin.
- It is true that temptation can either be a trial of our faith or an attempt to lead us into sin.
- God is not the cause of our sin.
- ‘Temptation’ is the masculine noun, peirasmos.
- Therefore, any notion that God leads (eispherō)us to sin is invalid.
Rather, the phrase should be viewed as asking God to keep us from giving in to temptation e.g. ‘Do not bring us to temptation’. It HAS to mean this otherwise we accuse God of causing us to sin, which is impossible.
As we find in Matthew 26:41, Christians are spiritually wishing to be pure, but fail and are drawn into temptation, when they do not pray for God’s protection and do not watch out for the incursion of sin in the first place. This is why Jesus told us to be careful to pray that we “enter not into temptation”. (Luke 22:40)
The phrase, then, is an Hebraic opposite, saying that God can deliver us from evil IF we watch and pray that we remain pure.
The phrase “And lead us not” does not, then, mean God causes us to enter into temptation (after failing to watch and pray), but it means the exact opposite... that is, He does not lead us into temptation. The words of Jesus tell us this is so... it is our own fault when we walk into a tempting situation, because the very act of doing so means we are considering falling for it into sin.
The phrase is simply a statement of God’s intention to keep us safe, not an accusation against God.
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