The Vatican — under the direction of Pope Francis — will soon change the verbiage in the Lord’s Prayer to clarify God does not, in fact, tempt people.
The pope has taken issue with the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation,” one stanza of the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13.
According to the Daily Express, experts have been studying the biblical text for 16 years and recently concluded, “from a theological, pastoral and stylistic viewpoint,” the centuries-old wording used in English translations of the Bible is incorrect.
Rather than translating the line as, “Lead us not into temptation,” the researchers found, the passage should read, “Abandon us not when in temptation.”
The shift in language comes one year after the pontiff argued the wording is “not a good translation.”
“A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately,” Francis said of the line in question. “It’s Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department.”
For years, Christians have struggled to understand the actual meaning behind those words in the Lord’s Prayer.
Is it right to change the wording?
The late theologian Charles Spurgeon explained during a sermon in 1863 that the word “temptation” in the New Testament passage actually holds two meanings, both the actual temptation toward sin and the facing of trials.
While Spurgeon made clear God does not tempt us, he does make the case God will often send us into trials and situations in which temptation toward sin is all but 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.”
The 19th century preacher went on to say God will lead us “to battle fields 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.”
For example, Jesus himself endured the kind of circumstances referenced in the Lord’s Prayer. 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. But in that space — “the wilderness” — Satan was responsible for tempting Jesus.