Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Lead us not into temptation? or Don't let us test you?

It follows that if πειρασμός here means “the testing of God,” then given all that the idea of “the testing of God” connotes, the request in which the term appears must mean something like “prevent us, Father, from putting you to the test by doubting your ways and renouncing all that you have deemed fit for us to follow.”

There are four reasons for regarding this as a correct interpretation of the text. The first is the often overlooked consideration that in the biblical tradition, seeking God’s help to avoid engaging in πειρασμός against him is both a perfectly acceptable thing to pray for and something that God would be willing to grant. ... Indeed, it seems no small coincidence that we find the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews urging (albeit implicitly) just such a prayer on his readers when, as a result of their experiencing a crisis, they began to lose their confidence in the ways God had given them to live out their Christian confession (see Heb. 3:7-9)—The Disciples’ Prayer, pages 150–51

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