The Lord’s Prayer (Part Three)- Matthew 6:9-13
In verse 11. Jesus now tells us to ask for something “for ourselves”. We are here told to ask God to “give us this day our daily bread”. All that we have comes from God, and we are told here to ask Him to give us what we need, for He is our source for everything. Note the use of the words us and our here, indicating that our needs are very personal and unique to each individual, and only God knows exactly what those needs are. We are also told to ask each day for our needs for that day, for our bread for one day, not for a warehouse full of bread. This is an unusual phrase in the Greek, with the word translated daily here being epiousios, used only here in known Greek literature. This word literally means “substance for”, and the idea behind this phrase is that we are to ask each day for our sustenance for that day. The context of this request is as asked by one through whom God’s kingdom comes and in whom God’s will is done, and our request here is for all we need each day to live as one through whom His kingdom comes that day. We then come upon the most difficult part of this passage, in which we are told to ask God to forgive us as we forgive others. As translated in NIV, this makes our forgiveness from God sound conditioned upon our ability to forgive others, which opposes the clear NT teaching that our forgiveness from God is conditioned upon nothing but the work of Christ upon the cross and our faith in it (Eph. 1:7, Col. 2:13). The word translated debts here is opheilema, which is a military term describing one who fails to do his duty, who comes up short regarding his responsibilities. Perhaps the best English translation of this would be “shortcomings”, and my contention is that, in this verse, we are asking God to make us a person who is willing to give others a break, to endure (Greek aphiemi- “to send away”) the shortcomings of others as God endures ours. It is a prayer for God to make us as gracious to others regarding their shortcomings as He is to us regarding ours. We then ask God to “lead us not into temptation”, again in “seeming” contradiction to the NT teaching that God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13). The issue is with the word translated “tempt” here. The Greek word is peirasmos, which literally means “to test or try”. The word is used of both God and the devil, with both using the incidents in our lives, the Lord using them to test us and the devil using them to tempt us. God would use the incidents of life to build our faith and the devil would use them to cause us to sin and destroy our faith. The prayer here acknowledges that all the incidents which come our way are under God’s control, and the request is that God would make us people who respond rightly in the incidents which come our way in life, that they would serve to build our faith rather than destroy it. As we have seen from our examination of this passage, it is primarily a prayer for personal transformation, asking God to make us a person through whom His kingdom comes and in whose lives His will is done. May we always be conscious of this fact when we pray The Lord’s Prayer, not merely repeating the words but being fully aware of their meaning.5 Comments
Thanks, brother. I have prayed this prayer every day for years and believe the lord has used it to transform me greatly. See you Sunday.
I have also heard “Forgive us AS we forgive others” interpreted as God will forgive us AS or like we forgive or don’t forgive others. I don’t subscribe to this opinion but would like your input.
Wouldn’t that make God’s forgiveness of us conditional? Col. 2:13 says God forgave (past tense) us all our sins the moment of salvation based only on what Christ did on the cross, not based on our ability to forgive others.
this is a test