Bible - Versions & Translations

Changing the Lord's Prayer: Helping the Sheep, or Helping Rome?

By The Protestant Alliance of Britain, edited by Dr. Paul M. Elliott
The Vatican is attempting to change the phrase "lead us not into temptation" in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4. Why?

From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase

Part one of a series.

The Vatican is attempting to change the phrase "lead us not into temptation" in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4. Why?

Editor's Note: This is the first of three articles highlighting, once again, the efforts of the Roman Catholic church to control Bible translation - both Catholic and nominally Protestant - worldwide. This material originally appeared in The Reformer, the magazine of the Protestant Alliance of Great Britain. We again acknowledge, with thanks, the permission of the Alliance to reproduce this material. - Dr. Paul Elliott


Jesus said "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15). Pope Francis ever wants to appear like a "sheep" and desperately tries to conceal his wolf-like fangs and vociferous nature. However, like a mythical vampire which is consumed by the light of the sun, neither he nor his doctrines can abide when dragged from the darkness of the Vatican into the light of Scripture.

His latest attempt to "help" the "sheep" concerns a line from what is commonly called The Lord's Prayer. Rome has always preferred Luke's version as it reserves the kingdom, power, and glory for Mary and the pope, not the Lord Jesus Christ. However, it is now attempting, in the Italian and English liturgies, to retranslate "lead us not into temptation" to "do not abandon us in temptation".

Nobody is trying to claim that the rendering "lead us not into temptation" is straightforward in its meaning; it is not as it can be wrongly understood as God authoring sin, which would be against His nature. However, it is interesting to note that in addition to the Authorized Version, other widely used English versions (including those based on the Nestle-Aland manuscripts) such as the New International Version, English Standard Version, and New King James Version, translate the phrase identically. This goes to prove the accuracy and suitability of that which appears not only in the Bible but also the Book of Common Prayer. Roman Catholic Bibles such as Douay-Rheims and Ronald Knox give the same rendering of the verse of Matthew 6:13 as "lead us not into temptation".

The Latin Vulgate translates the word "lead" as inducas which means to lead, to bring or to conduct in or into somewhere. It is important to notice that the Latin Vulgate was decreed to be the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church, and it was so until 1979 when the Nova Vulgata (the New Vulgate) was promulgated in 1979 by John Paul Il to be used as the Bible underlining the Roman Catholic liturgy. The rendering, when translated into English, is identical in both.

In both Matthew's and Luke's accounts the Greek used is identical. The word for "lead" is eisenegkes which means to bring into, bring in, bring to or lead into. The verb suggests the idea of being carried, borne with the idea of force or speed as in passengers on board a ship. The Greek word for temptation is peirasmos meaning trial, proof, temptation.

The suggestion to change this line of the Lord's Prayer is not a sudden development. In fact, it was suggested in 2000 by the Jesuit Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, member of the editorial committee of the Nestle-Aland New Testament, to render this verse as "do not abandon us in temptation." This is the rendering favored by Francis.

Following the lead of Cardinal Martini and the French Roman Catholics, the French-speaking Roman Catholics in Africa and Belgium adopted a different rendering of the verse which says "do not submit us to temptation". The Roman Catholic church in Spain has adopted the rendering: "Do not let us fall into temptation." The Conference of Italian Bishops, although they did not modify the liturgy at that time, had already adopted in 2008 the rendering: "do not abandon us in temptation."

The rendering desired by Francis was approved, according to the Vatican Insider, on the 15th November, 2018, and consequently, officially entered in the Missal which is used in the liturgy of the Church of Rome.

It will not be long before the changes introduced into the Roman Missal will be introduced in the Roman Catholic Bibles and influence the future versions and revisions of Bibles published by the Jesuit-influenced United Bible Societies.

Next: Changing the Lord's Prayer - The Papal Motive


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