God’s not the tempter

Oct 8, 2018 by

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For years I wrestled with a confusing line in the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation.” It finally dawned on me that the English wording did not square with the teaching of the Bible itself. James 1:13 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone” (NIV). Paul was concerned about the Christians in Thessalonica, that “in some way the tempter might have tempted you” (1 Thess. 3:5, NIV). Since Satan, not God, is the tempter, what is a way to clarify this truth?

I found my answer in an encounter with an Amish lad. As we were looking at a Fro­schau­er (German) New Testament together, he mentioned this was a translation preferred by the Swiss Mennonites. He pointed out one reason this translation is good: If we take Matt. 6:13, which in the KJV, RSV and NIV reads “lead us not into temptation,” and translate it into English from the Froschauer edition, it is “let us not be led into temptation.”

Are we willing to advocate for a change of wording from “lead us not” to “let us not be led”? A good place to begin might be our worship resources, like the new hymnal, Voices Together, being prepared for release in 2020.

Fritz Sprunger
Orrville, Ohio

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