And lead us not into temptation - That is, bring us not in to sore trial. Πειρασμον, which may be here rendered sore trial, comes from πειρω, to pierce through, as with a spear, or spit, used so by some of the best Greek writers. Several of the primitive fathers understood it something in this way; and have therefore added quam ferre non possimus, "which we cannot bear." The word not only implies violent assaults from Satan, but also sorely afflictive circumstances, none of which we have, as yet, grace or fortitude sufficient to bear. Bring us not in, or lead us not in. This is a mere Hebraism: God is said to do a thing which he only permits or suffers to be done.
The process of temptation is often as follows:
2ndly. A strong imagination, or impression made on the imagination, by the thing to which we are tempted.
3dly. Delight in viewing it.
4thly. Consent of the will to perform it. Thus lust is conceived, sin is finished, and death brought forth. James 1:15.
See also on Matthew 4:1; (note). A man may be tempted without entering into the temptation: entering into it implies giving way, closing in with, and embracing it.
But deliver us from evil - Απο του πονηρου, from the wicked one. Satan is expressly called ο πονηρος, the wicked one. Matthew 13:19, Matthew 13:38, compare with Mark 4:15; Luke 8:12. This epithet of Satan comes from πονος, labor, sorrow, misery, because of the drudgery which is found in the way of sin, the sorrow that accompanies the commission of it, and the misery which is entailed upon it, and in which it ends.
It is said in the Mishna, Titus. Beracoth, that Rabbi Judah was wont to pray thus: "Let it be thy good pleasure to deliver us from impudent men, and from impudence: from an evil man and an evil chance; from an evil affection, an evil companion, and an evil neighbor: from Satan the destroyer, from a hard judgment, and a hard adversary." See Lightfoot.
Deliver us - Ρυσαι ημας - a very expressive word - break our chains, and loose our bands - snatch, pluck us from the evil, and its calamitous issue.
For thine is the kingdom, etc. - The whole of this doxology is rejected by Wetstein, Griesbach, and the most eminent critics. The authorities on which it is rejected may be seen in Griesbach and, Wetstein, particularly in the second edition of Griesbach's Testament, who is fully of opinion that it never made a part of the sacred text. It is variously written in several MSS., and omitted by most of the fathers, both Greek and Latin. As the doxology is at least very ancient, and was in use among the Jews, as well as all the other petitions of this excellent prayer, it should not, in my opinion, be left out of the text, merely because some MSS. have omitted it, and it has been variously written in others. See various forms of this doxology, taken from the ancient Jewish writers, in Lightfoot and Schoettgen.
By power, that energy by which the kingdom is governed and maintained.
By glory, the honor that shall redound to God in consequence of the maintenance of the kingdom of grace, in the salvation of men.
For ever and ever - Εις τους αιωνας, to the for evers. Well expressed by our common translation - ever in our ancient use of the word taking in the whole duration of time; the second ever, the whole of eternity. May thy name have the glory both in this world, and in that which is to come! The original word αιων comes from αει always, and ων being, or existence. This is Aristotle's definition of it. See the note on Genesis 21:33. There is no word in any language which more forcibly points out the grand characteristic of eternity - that which always exists. It is often used to signify a limited time, the end of which is not known; but this use of it is only an accommodated one; and it is the grammatical and proper sense of it which must be resorted to in any controversy concerning the word. We sometimes use the phrase for evermore: i.e. for ever and more, which signifies the whole of time, and the more or interminable duration beyond it. See on Matthew 25:46; (note).
Amen - This word is Hebrew, אמן , and signifies faithful or true. Some suppose the word is formed from the initial letters of נאם מלך אדוני adoni melech neetnan, My Lord, the faithful King. The word itself implies a confident resting of the soul in God, with the fullest assurance that all these petitions shall be fulfilled to every one who prays according to the directions given before by our blessed Lord.
The very learned Mr. Gregory has shown that our Lord collected this prayer out of the Jewish Euchologies, and gives us the whole form as follows: -
"Our Father who art in heaven, be gracious unto us! O Lord our God, hallowed be thy name, and let the remembrance of Thee be glorified in heaven above, and in the earth here below! Let thy kingdom reign over us now, and for ever! The holy men of old said, remit and forgive unto all men whatsoever they have done against me! And lead us not into the hands of temptation, but deliver us from the evil thing! For thine is the kingdom, and thou shalt reign in glory for ever and for evermore." Gregory's Works, 4th. 1671, p. 162.
See this proved at large in the collections of Lightfoot and Schoettgenius.
This passage contains the Lord‘s prayer, a composition unequalled for comprehensiveness and for beauty. It is supposed that some of these petitions were taken from those in common use among the Jews. Indeed some of them are still to be found in Jewish writings, but they did not exist in this beautiful combination. This prayer is given as a “model.” It is designed to express the “manner” in which we are to pray, evidently not the precise words or petitions which we are to use. The substance of the prayer is recorded by Luke, Luke 11:2-4. In Luke, however, it varies from the form given in Matthew, showing that he intended not to prescribe this as a form of prayer to be used always, but to express the substance of our petitions, or to show what petitions it would be proper to present to God. That he did not intend to prescribe this as a form to be invariably used is further evident from the fact that there is no proof that either he or his disciples ever used exactly this form of prayer, but clear evidence that they prayed often in other language. See Matthew 26:39-42, Matthew 26:44; Luke 22:42; Acts 1:24.
Our Father - God is called a Father,
1.as he is the Creator and the Great Parent of all;
Hallowed be thy name - The word “hallowed” means to render or pronounce holy. God‘s name is essentially holy; and the meaning of this petition is, “Let thy name be celebrated, venerated, and esteemed as holy everywhere, and receive from all people proper honor.” It is thus the expression of a wish or desire, on the part of the worshipper, that the name of God, or that God himself, should be held everywhere in proper veneration.
Thy kingdom come - The word “kingdom” here means “reign.” Note, Matthew 3:2. The petition is the expression of a wish that God may “reign” everywhere; that his laws may be obeyed; and especially that the gospel of Christ may be advanced everywhere, until the world shall be filled with his glory.
Thy will be done - The will of God is, that people should obey his law, and be holy. The word “will,” here, has reference to his law, and to what would be “acceptable” to him. To pray, then, that his will may be done, on earth as in heaven, is to pray that his “law,” his “revealed will,” may be obeyed and loved. His law is perfectly obeyed in heaven, and his true children most ardently desire and pray that it may also be obeyed on the earth.
The object of these three “first” petitions, is, that God‘s name should be glorified and his kingdom established; and by being placed first, we learn that his glory and kingdom are of more consequence than our wants, and that these should be first in our hearts and petitions before a throne of grace.
Give us this day - The word “bread,” here, denotes doubtless everything necessary to sustain life. See the notes at Matthew 4:4. Compare Deuteronomy 8:3. This petition implies our dependence on God for the supply of our wants. As we are dependent on him one day as much as another, it was evidently the intention of the Saviour that prayer should be offered every day. The petition, moreover, is expressed in the plural number - give us - and it is evidently therefore, intended to be used by more than one, or by some community of people. No community or congregation can meet every day for worship but families. It is therefore evident that this prayer contains a strong implied command for daily family prayer. It can nowhere else be used so as fully to come up to the meaning of the original intention; and nowhere else can it be breathed forth with so much propriety and beauty as from the lips of a father, the venerable priest of his household, and the pleader with God for those rich blessings which a parental bosom desires on his beloved offspring.
And forgive us our debts - The word “debts” is used here figuratively.
It does not mean “literally” that we are “debtors to God,” but that our sins have a resemblance to debts. Debtors are those who are bound to others for some claim in commercial transactions; for something which we have had, and for which we are bound to pay according to contract. “Literally” there can be no such transaction between God and us. It must be used figuratively. We have not met the claims of law. We have violated its obligations. We are exposed to its penalty. We are guilty, and God only can forgive, in the same way as none but a “creditor” can forgive a debtor. The word “debts” here, therefore, means “sins,” or offences against God - offences which none but God can forgive. In the parallel place in Luke 11:4, the word sins is used. The measure by which we may expect forgiveness is that which we use in reference to others See Psalm 18:25-26; Matthew 18:23; Mark 11:26; Luke 11:4.
This is the invariable rule by which God dispenses pardon He that comes before him unwilling to forgive, harboring dark and revengeful thoughts, how can he expect that God will show him that mercy which he is unwilling to show to others? It is not, however, required that we should forgive “debts” in a pecuniary sense. To them we have a right, though they should not be pushed with an overbearing and oppressive spirit; not so as to sacrifice the feelings of mercy in order to secure the claims of justice. No one has a right to oppress; and when a debt cannot be paid, or when it would greatly distress a debtor‘s wife and children, or a widow and an orphan, or when calamity has put it out of the power of an honest man to pay the debt, the spirit of Christianity requires that it should be forgiven. To such cases this petition in the Lord‘s prayer doubtless extends. But it was probably intended to refer principally to injuries of character or person which we have received from others. If we cannot from the heart forgive them, we have the assurance that God will never forgive us.
And lead us not into temptation - A petition similar to this is offered by David, Psalm 141:4; “Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with the workers of iniquity.” God tempts no man. See James 1:13. This phrase, then, must be used in the sense of “permitting.” Do not “suffer” us, or “permit” us, to be tempted to sin. In this it is implied that God has such control over the tempter as to save us from his power if we call upon him. The word “temptation,” however (see the note at Matthew 4:1), means sometimes “trial, affliction,” anything that “tests” our virtue. If this be the meaning here, as it may be, then the import of the prayer is, “Do not afflict or try us.” It is not wrong to pray that we may be saved from suffering if it be the will of God. See Luke 22:42.
Deliver us from evil - The original in this place has the article - deliver us from the evil - that is, as has been supposed, the Evil One, or Satan. He is elsewhere called, by way of eminence, the “Evil One,” Matthew 13:19; 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 3:12. The meaning here is, “deliver us from his power, his snares, his arts, his temptations.” He is supposed to be the great parent of evil, and to be delivered from him is to be safe. Or it may mean, “deliver us from the various evils and trials which beset us, the heavy and oppressive calamities into which we are continually liable to fall.”
Thine is the kingdom - That is, thine is the reign or dominion. Thou hast control over all these things, and canst so order them as to answer these petitions.
Thine is the power - Thou hast power to accomplish what we ask. We are weak, and cannot do it; but thou art Almighty, and all things are possible with thee.
Thine is the glory - That is, thine is the honor or praise. Not for “our honor,” but that thy glory, thy goodness, may be displayed in providing for our wants; thy power exerted in defending us; thy praise be celebrated by causing thy kingdom to spread through the earth.
This “doxology,” or ascription of praise, is connected with the prayer by the word “for,” to signify that all these things - the reign, power, and glory of God - will be manifested by granting these petitions. It is not because we are to be benefited, but that God‘s name and perfections may be manifested. His glory is, then, the first and principal thing which we are to seek when we approach him. We are to suffer our concerns to be lost sight of in the superior glory and honor of his name and dominion. We are to seek temporal and eternal life chiefly because the honor of our Maker will be promoted, and his name be more illustriously displayed to his creatures. He is to be “first, last, supremest, best,” in our view; and all selfish and worldly views are to be absorbed in that one great desire of the soul that God may be “all in all.” Approaching him with these feelings, our prayers will be answered; our devotions will ascend like incense, and the lifting up our hands will be like the evening sacrifice.
Amen - This is a word of Hebrew origin, from a verb signifying “to be firm, secure, to be true and faithful.” It is a word expressing consent or strong approbation; a word of strong asseveration. It means “verily, certainly, so be it.” It is probable that this word was used by the people in the synagogue to signify their assent to the prayer that was uttered by the minister, and, to some extent, it was probably so used in the Christian Church. See 1 Corinthians 14:16.
It may be proper to remark that this doxology, “for thine is the kingdom,” etc., is missing in many manuscripts, and that its authenticity is doubtful.
The last like the first sentence of the Lord's Prayer, points to our Father as above all power and authority and every name that is named. The Saviour beheld the years that stretched out before His disciples, not, as they had dreamed, lying in the sunshine of worldly prosperity and honor, but dark with the tempests of human hatred and satanic wrath. Amid national strife and ruin, the steps of the disciples would be beset with perils, and often their hearts would be oppressed by fear. They were to see Jerusalem a desolation, the temple swept away, its worship forever ended, and Israel scattered to all lands, like wrecks on a desert shore. Jesus said, “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.” “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8. Yet Christ's followers were not to fear that their hope was lost or that God had forsaken the earth. The power and the glory belong unto Him whose great purposes would still move on unthwarted toward their consummation. In the prayer that breathes their daily wants, the disciples of Christ were directed to look above all the power and dominion of evil, unto the Lord their God, whose kingdom ruleth over all and who is their Father and everlasting Friend. MB 120.1
The ruin of Jerusalem was a symbol of the final ruin that shall overwhelm the world. The prophecies that received a partial fulfillment in the overthrow of Jerusalem have a more direct application to the last days. We are now standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. A crisis is before us, such as the world has never witnessed. And sweetly to us, as to the first disciples, comes the assurance that God's kingdom ruleth over all. The program of coming events is in the hands of our Maker. The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations, as well as the concerns of His church, in His own charge. The divine Instructor is saying to every agent in the accomplishment of His plans, as He said to Cyrus, “I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me.” Isaiah 45:5. MB 120.2Read in context »
Satan is well aware that the weakest soul who abides in Christ is more than a match for the hosts of darkness, and that, should he reveal himself openly, he would be met and resisted. Therefore he seeks to draw away the soldiers of the cross from their strong fortification, while he lies in ambush with his forces, ready to destroy all who venture upon his ground. Only in humble reliance upon God, and obedience to all His commandments, can we be secure. GC 530.1
No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer. Especially should we entreat the Lord for wisdom to understand His word. Here are revealed the wiles of the tempter and the means by which he may be successfully resisted. Satan is an expert in quoting Scripture, placing his own interpretation upon passages, by which he hopes to cause us to stumble. We should study the Bible with humility of heart, never losing sight of our dependence upon God. While we must constantly guard against the devices of Satan, we should pray in faith continually: “Lead us not into temptation.” GC 530.2Read in context »
We pray to our heavenly Father, “Lead us not into temptation,” and then, too often, we fail to guard our feet against leading us into temptation. We are to keep away from the temptations by which we are easily overcome. Our success is wrought out by ourselves through the grace of Christ. We are to roll out of the way the stone of stumbling that has caused us and others so much sadness. OHC 87.4Read in context »
It was when the Israelites were in a condition of outward ease and security that they were led into sin. They failed to keep God ever before them, they neglected prayer and cherished a spirit of self-confidence. Ease and self-indulgence left the citadel of the soul unguarded, and debasing thoughts found entrance. It was the traitors within the walls that overthrew the strongholds of principle and betrayed Israel into the power of Satan. It is thus that Satan still seeks to compass the ruin of the soul. A long preparatory process, unknown to the world, goes on in the heart before the Christian commits open sin. The mind does not come down at once from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, and crime. It takes time to degrade those formed in the image of God to the brutal or the satanic. By beholding we become changed. By the indulgence of impure thoughts man can so educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become pleasant to him. PP 459.1
Satan is using every means to make crime and debasing vice popular. We cannot walk the streets of our cities without encountering flaring notices of crime presented in some novel, or to be acted at some theater. The mind is educated to familiarity with sin. The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before the people in the periodicals of the day, and everything that can excite passion is brought before them in exciting stories. They hear and read so much of debasing crime that the once tender conscience, which would have recoiled with horror from such scenes, becomes hardened, and they dwell upon these things with greedy interest. PP 459.2
Many of the amusements popular in the world today, even with those who claim to be Christians, tend to the same end as did those of the heathen. There are indeed few among them that Satan does not turn to account in destroying souls. Through the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering music, the masquerade, the dance, the card table, Satan employs to break down the barriers of principle and open the door to sensual indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul. PP 459.3Read in context »