A new translation for the Lord’s Prayer?

You may have heard the news about changes to some translations of the Our Father. What’s going on, and is it necessary? Patrick Madrid gave his opinion to a recent caller on The Patrick Madrid Show.

“I heard that the pope wanted to change the Lord’s Prayer, the part that says ‘lead us not into temptation’ to ‘do not let us fall into temptation’. Do you know anything about that?” asked Martha from Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

“This change actually was made, it’s a done deal in the Italian Bishops’ Conference edition of the Mass, so obviously in Italian. It’s already been changed and has been for some years in France and Mexico and other countries and it looks as though it’s going to be … implemented … here in the United States and Canada,” explained Madrid.

First, Madrid argues against the idea that God does not tempt us. “I myself think it is inadvisable to do this because it’s not only the accurate rendering of what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 6, it also has biblical warrant. The arguments that I’ve heard against the current translation, well, the longstanding translation: ‘Lead us not into temptation’, include maybe most pointedly the argument that God does not lead us into temptation. … But that’s not true, and we can demonstrate that in Matthew’s Gospel chapter 4. This is at the beginning of the time when the Lord is going to be in the desert for 40 days fasting before his public ministry begins, and we’re told that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted. So it’s just really clear that this is something that the Holy Spirit did.”

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.

“So the argument that ‘well, God doesn’t do that’ I don’t think is sustainable given the fact that we see God the Holy Spirit inspiring Matthew to write that God the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted,” said Madrid.

Others argue that the Lord’s Prayer was mistranslated, and this change would revert it back to the correct wording. Madrid disagrees. “If you look at the way this has been translated by the greatest translators in history including, for example, Saint Jerome, who was one of the greatest biblical scholars—in terms of the languages especially—who ever existed. And you see St. Jerome translated it this way, et ne nos inducas in tentationem, so the Latin for ‘lead us not into temptation’ as we have it currently in English. If in fact it is a mistranslation, how could somebody as erudite and as astute with regard to not just translating the slavish literal meaning of a word but also the sense of the word or the words, how could he have gotten something so obviously wrong?”

“So for that reason I would just say respectfully I don’t think this is a necessary move. It’s not my call—nobody consulted me,” says Madrid. Based on St. Jerome’s biblical translation of ‘lead us not into temptation,’ Madrid says that in his opinion, he doesn’t find a translation change to be “helpful or to be necessary.”

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.