Pope Francis Changes Lord's Prayer. Is He Correct?

A picture of Pope Francis

The Vatican under Pope Francis will soon be changing a phrase in the Lord's Prayer from "lead us not into temptation" to "abandon us not into temptation." The French have already changed it to "do not let me fall into temptation."

Who is right? Is Pope Francis correct? Are the French correct? Is the Bible correct? This article explains who is correct.

The phrase "lead us not into temptation" comes from the Bible (Matthew 6:13). It is part of a prayer that Jesus cited to his students as he taught them how to pray. The prayer has become known as the Lord's Prayer. It is recited in many churches around the world.

Many people are upset that this phrase says that God leads people into temptation, and rightly so, because He doesn't.

But the way to correct it is not to rewrite the prayer and add the words that you want to be there (basically correcting Jesus' words as if He did not know). The way to correct it is to correctly translate the original Greek text. The words that Jesus spoke were in Greek and are recorded in the Greek text. They have been translated into English by human Bible translators and appear in our English Bibles.

The problem with "lead us not into temptation" is just one of many problems that exist in churches today because Christians treat "not-so-accurate" Bible versions as if they are 100% accurate to the original Greek text. They are not. Preachers and teachers do not want to admit this, but it is true. If you knew Greek, you could easily verify this. What follows is an example of that.

"Abandon us not into temptation" is not a correct translation of the Greek, but neither is "lead us not into temptation."

"Lead us not into temptation" is an imperative in English. The Lord's Prayer is made up of mostly imperative statements in the Greek text, but this statement is not one of them.

In the Greek text the verb "lead" is aorist subjunctive, "you might not lead." Aorist subjective verbs may also be translated as future, "you will not lead." "You might not lead us" and "you will not lead us" have a much different meaning than "lead us not." This phrase never should have been translated as an imperative as most of today's Bible versions do. But it was originally translated into English like that in 1395 (Wycliffe) and newer Bible versions have just passed the wrong translation along.

This is only half of the sentence. The full sentence correctly translated using the old words would be "you might not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil," or "you will not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Do you see what the entire sentence is saying? It is admitting that God does not lead people into temptation, but it is still asking for His help to get out of it.

The words "lead", "temptation", and "deliver" are better translated as "carry", "trouble", and "save" respectively. "And you will not carry us into trouble, but save us from the evil" (Matthew 6:13 BV).

I know it is a bad thing to say (bad to most people, at least, but nonetheless true), but we need to realize that today's Bible versions (this includes the KJV, NASV, NIV, and ESV) are not as accurate to the Greek text as they could be and thus we should move to correct them. That is what the Breakthrough Version does.

The Breakthrough Version is a more accurate Bible. It is available for free in the Bible app, Bible BV. Find it in the App Store (iPhone, iPad), Windows Store, and Google Play.