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A Little Ocean Ambiance
HOW DO YOU SAY
"THE LORD'S PRAYER"?
Dr. Richard Flanders
Juniata Baptist Church
Doubtless many preachers have tired of the controversy over Bible
translations and the New Testament text which still rages among
fundamentalists. Often they see no point in arguing about the variant
manuscript readings when the differences seem to make little difference!
Some are saying openly that it doesn't matter what version of the Bible
church uses, as long as the people can understand what is written.
However, it does matter whether or not a church switches from the old
Bible to a new one. The altered readings of the revised Greek text do
make a difference in what the people hear, what they learn, and what
believe. The truth is that every fundamentalist preacher should be
for the reasons behind the changes, and demanding solid proof that the
changes should be made. The revised text is based on a different theory
of textual criticism than was followed in the publication of the old
Textus Receptus. That new theory, of course, was published and promoted
by Drs. Westcott and Hort over a century ago. The practical importance
the changes in theory and text can be missed unless the more prominent
revisions of familiar New Testament passages are closely examined. Have
you noticed what the new versions have done to the Lord's Prayer?
The most familiar record of what we call "the Lord's Prayer" is found in
the sixth chapter of Matthew, verses 9b through 13. The Authorized
Version presents it this way:
"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our
bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
This was the model prayer the Lord Jesus used to illustrate how His
disciples should pray each day. The passage in the book of Matthew that
presents the Lord's Prayer is part of Christ's great Sermon on the
Luke 11 also records the prayer as part of a private lesson on praying
that Jesus gave the twelve at a later time. We find it in verses 2
through 4 in a slightly shorter form than in Matthew because of the
Lord's particular use of the model in that context.
What the new Bibles do to the Lord's Prayer in both passages will
surprise most believers, and the reasons behind the changes will inform
us about the fallacies of the new text theory. Here is Matthew 6:9b-13
the New American Standard Bible:
"Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our
daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our
debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen.]"
The last sentence is bracketed to indicate that it was not in the
Here is Luke 11:2-4 in the New International Version:
"Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each
daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins
against us. And lead us not into temptation."
As you can see, the revised text fairly decimates the prayer in Luke,
ends it abruptly in Matthew. The reasons behind the major omissions in
Luke are really the same as those behind the deletion of the ending in
Matthew. We will study the theory and facts behind the removal of the
traditional ending in Matthew, and then research the situation in Luke,
learning in the process about the theory that is causing many to give up
the traditional way the Bible reads.
According to Matthew 6:13, the Lord's Prayer ends with this doxology:
"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for
Was this line in the original manuscript of the book of Matthew? Are
these words that Jesus actually said? Why do modern scholars reject
Shall we say the Prayer with or without them from now on?
Any "critical" Greek New Testament will tell us what the manuscripts say
about the Lord's Prayer in Matthew. The traditional ending is found in
the vast majority (99% according to Burgon) of the hand-written Greek
copies. This great number includes fifteen uncial (capital-letter)
manuscripts dating from the fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth, and tenth
centuries. It also includes the great bulk of cursive Greek manuscripts.
Almost all of the ancient translations (Syrian, Coptic, Gothic,
Ethiopian) end the Prayer in the traditional way. Scholars question the
last line only because it is missing in five uncial copies, a few
cursives, and in the ancient Latin translation. The fact is that the
disputed words are present in all copies of the most ancient
the Peshitta Syriac, which dates from the second century. They are
discussed in the writings of Chysostom, who lived in the early 400's,
are cited in the Diatessaron of Titian from the second century, and the
Apostolic Constitutions of A.D. 380. The fact that they are ignored in
some of the ancient commentaries must be attributed to their omission in
the Latin translation most of the "church fathers" used. All of these
facts can easily be explained if the genuineness of the traditional
ending is accepted.
The Apostle Paul seems to refer to the questioned line under divine
inspiration in II Timothy 4:18.
"And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will
me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Compare these words with
". . . but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and
power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."
Paul clearly makes reference earlier in the epistles to Timothy to
"sayings" commonly known among Christians. Find them in I Timothy 1:15,
3:1, and 4:9, and in II Timothy 2:11-13. We also find a reference to
another New Testament scripture in I Timothy 5:18 (citing Luke 5:18). It
would be no surprise, therefore, to find him referring to the Lord's
Prayer in II Timothy 4:18. Actually, it seems certain that this is the
Why then do modern textual critics reject the traditional ending of the
Prayer? The reason is in their assumption that the text of any document
of ancient origin must have been seriously corrupted over the centuries.
They began years ago trying to handle the Bible just as they would any
other old document that has been transmitted by hand. They worked with
the presupposition that the text of such a writing must be in need of
restoration to its original form. Therefore the testimony of the vast
majority of copies was automatically discounted, and the value of a few
disagreeing old manuscripts was highly esteemed. However ordinary
believers in the Bible recognize that it cannot be properly handled as
any other ancient book. God promised to preserve the very words over the
generations. Notice what these scriptures say.
"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a
earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt
preserve them from this generation for ever." (Psalms 12:6-7)
"He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in
which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to
children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children
which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their
. . ." (Psalms 78:5-6)
"Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast
them for ever." (Psalms 119:152)
"As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My
that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not
depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of
mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever."
"It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
"Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or
tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
God has promised to preserve the words of Scripture, and if a certain
reading is found in the vast majority of copies, having prevailed over
other readings in the acceptance of God's people over the centuries, a
Bible believer should reverence it and keep it.
There is a simple explanation for the omission of the last line of the
Lord's Prayer in the Latin translation and in a few old Greek copies.
a long time it has been known that in ancient liturgy, the choir would
finish their part in the public recitation of the Prayer with the words,
"deliver us from evil." Then the minister alone would say the doxology:
"For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever."
the choir never repeated the final line, the scribe who wrote the
archetype manuscript behind the errant copies mistakenly omitted it!
Several instances of text corruption due to practices of early church
liturgy have been found. This was probably simply another such case.
Such an explanation of the evidence is burdened with much fewer problems
than denying that the doxology was in the original. If these words were
not in the original, then where did they come from? You may have read
theory that this was an old Jewish doxology derived from I Chronicles
29:11. However, no such formula is known to have ended Jewish prayers,
and there is little chance that early Christians under persecution would
adopt Jewish liturgy! We know that in the first era of church history
formal openings and closings were added to prayers, but none of them
like this one. They usually referred to the name of Jesus or to the
Trinity. The fact is that the traditional end of the Lord's Prayer has
much to commend it as genuine and original. It is found in the vast
majority of copies handed down to us. We can trust that they were the
words that Jesus used.
The new-version omissions in the model prayer of Luke 11 are also based
on the faulty new text theory. The words removed from the first part of
verse 2 appear in no less than twenty old uncial manuscripts (some of
them dating from the fifth century), in the great majority of the
Greek manuscripts, and in most ancient translations. These words ("which
art in heaven") are omitted in just three uncials, in one papyrus
fragment, in a few cursives, and in Jerome's Latin Vulgate. The words
dropped from the second half of verse 2 ("Thy will be done, as in
so in earth") are found in even more uncials, including the famous
fourth-century Sinai codex, in almost all the cursive copies, and in
nearly every ancient translation except the Vulgate. "But deliver us
evil" (v. 4) is also found in the great majority of Greek manuscripts
is omitted in only three uncials, the Vulgate, and a few manuscripts of
certain ancient translations. The evidence for keeping the Lord's Prayer
in Luke as it reads in the King James version is overwhelming.
Surely it will be a sad and tragic thing if the churches change the
Lord's Prayer as they move into the twenty-first century. There is not
enough evidence to condemn the final line in Matthew's record to
extinction. There is not enough reason to take more than a third of it
away in Luke. Yet the theory behind the condemnation of these beloved
words in the new Bibles is the same theory that has condemned and
executed many precious passages of the sacred text. See what they have
done to the woman taken in adultery in John 8, to the Great Commission
Mark 16, to half of the "Love your enemies" verse (Matthew 5:44), and to
the condition for answered prayer in Mark 11:26, for examples. The
of modern textual criticism discounts the divine preservation of the
traditional text and looks for answers among long-discounted manuscripts
of dubious credibility. People who believe in providential preservation
must reject this theory.
The results of the current debate over the new Bibles will have a
powerful effect on the churches and the Christians of future days. They
will determine, among other things, how we read the Lord's Prayer. The
pastors and teachers of our time will have to decide whether to trust
God's promises and God's providence by keeping the traditional text of
the Bible, or to make radical changes based upon a questionable man-made
theory. And these things do matter.
by Dr. Rick Flanders
currently Pastor of
Juniata Baptist Church
Juniata Baptist Church|
5656 Washburn Road
Vassar, MI 48768
Dr. Rick Flanders Biographical Data
Converted in 1963 through a radio ministry.
Earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from Bob Jones University.
Honorary D.D. from Pensacola Christian College.
Pastor at Juniata Baptist Church since 1973.
On BCPM Board, (Baptist Church Planting Ministry)
and also MACS. (Michigan Association of Christian School)
- Articles published in the;
- Sword of the Lord
- Baptist Preacher,
- Christian View of the News,
- Pulpit Helps,
- Maranatha Watchman
- Church Bus News,
- and other national periodicals.
His Majesty's Service
In His Service,
Teaching the Word
To Glorify Our Lord
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