"Lead us not into temptation"

One morning I was writing out the Lord’s prayer in my Prayer Journal. Most of my life, I have read and quoted the Lords Prayer. On this particular morning, when I started to write “Lead me not into temptation” I stopped. I just stared at the words and then started repeating them. I had never paid it much attention. I thought, wait, that does not make sense to me. Does God tempt? No, but why does it say this?
I saw a friend later that morning who grew up in the Catholic Church. Without me even mentioning my thoughts earlier that day she asked me if I had heard about the Pope approving changes to the Lord’s Prayer. I said, no, but it’s strange you bring that up because I was pondering that this very morning.
There must be a deeper meaning here. Jesus gave the disciples this prayer and now, we are changing it?Thoughts? Insight?

2 Likes

@sig Personally, I would say that we must differentiate between testing and tempting. God has and does test people to see that their heart is genuine. However, God does not tempt anyone. Testing is allowing a difficult situation. Whereas tempting, like what the accuser did in Genesis 3, is implanting evil thoughts and intents in our heart or mind to arouse evil desire. Testing is from without; temptation is from within. God may test us, but He never suggests evil or implants deceptive thoughts. The accuser - the satan - in contrast, is a liar and may seek to make us believe a lie. God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden, but it was the satan that told the lie and aroused their evil desires.

We see from James that God tempts no one and from 1 Cor that God always provides a way of escape from temptation. I think the specific statement lead us not into temptation may parallel the Psalms in some ways, where the Psalmist asked God to give them a pure heart, that they might do what is right.

James 1:13 - When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…

1 Cor 10:13 - No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

The request do not lead us into temptation is not to suggest God causes temptation, but is a rhetorical way to ask for his protection from sin. Some interpreters see this as a specific request to avoid a time of testing that might lead to a crisis of faith, but occurring as it does toward the end of the prayer, a more general request for protection from sin seems more likely.

An example of a Psalm that might parallel this prayer for deliverance in some way could be Psalms 19.

Psalms 19:12-14 - But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

God May Test Us

Job was tested. We also find specific passages where God test men’s hearts.

Deuteronomy 13:1-3 - If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.

2 Chronicles 32:31 - But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

Testing Can Strengthen Us

We also see in Scripture that when we obey through testing or trials, we grow in the knowledge of God and hopefulness, joy and peace.

Romans 5:3-5 - Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

1 Peter 3:13-15 - Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.

4 Likes

@sig, great question!

As usual @SeanO has done a sterling job of providing a very thorough explanation!

I echo what he’s said, and basically what it’s come down to for me as I’ve also looked at this in the past, is that we have such a love for God and His righteousness, that we do not even wish to be tested in the fear that we might fail, such is our longing for our actions and thoughts to be pleasing to Him.

The word “temptation” in the greek is:

πειρασμός
peirasmos
pi-ras-mos’
From G3985; a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication adversity: - temptation, X try.

So knowing Gods charachter and the verses Sean has used about Him not being able to tempt us, we see that the relevant description from the Greek word would be the “a putting to proof, by experiment of good”, and therefore the testing as Sean has mentioned.

Hope that helps!

Rgds,

DV.

3 Likes

Thank you @SeanO and @David_Vermaak, yes your responses do help. I know the question seems elementary, I just never really paid attention to it. I assumed it meant, “please don’t let me fall into temptation from the Devil.” I do realize that God does not tempt us, as @SeanO said it is a testing, not a tempting.

[quote=“David_Vermaak, post:3, topic:18442”]
we have such a love for God and His righteousness, that we do not even wish to be tested in the fear that we might fail
[/quote] Makes perfect sense! Thanks :slightly_smiling_face:

3 Likes

Very good question! The interesting thing is that it is the ENGLISH translation that was “imperfect”. In Spanish, my native language, we have always recited “no nos dejes caer en tentación” which means “do not allow us to fall into temptation”. I was as surprised as you when I learned the LORD’s prayer in English!

3 Likes