Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 19:33:21 -0800 (PST)
From: “Robert Monti”
Subject: RE: Lead us not into temptation….
To: Monti Cell Group
I took a moment to put my rusty Greek skills to use in
order to verify my suspicion about Matthew 6:13.
It turns out that the verb that is translated “to
lead” can also be rendered “to bring into.” I don’t
want to bore everybody with Greek grammar, but here
are a couple points of interest:
- The verb in question is in the subjunctive mood,
which generally conveys probability or contingency. It
has a number of uses, however, depending on the syntax
of a sentence. It can also indicate a simple
prohibition when addressing someone. For example, in
John 3:7, Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Do not marvel that
I said to you….” So a literal English translation of
Matthew 6:13a might go, “Do not bring us into
- Jesus and the New Testament writers commonly used a
literary device called “litotes,” which is essentially
the expression of a positive idea or concept by
negating its opposite. For example, Paul says in 2
Cor. 2:11 that he and the Corinthians are “not
ignorant” of Satan’s devices. The negation of the
negative term “ignorant” is used to convey a positive
fact: they are aware of Satan’s devices.
- In the same way, Jesus employs litotes in the Lord’s
Prayer when He teaches us to pray against temptation
in our lives. The prayer negates the very negative
idea of being “brought” or “led” into temptation. What
Jesus intends is for us to petition God to do the
opposite, to “bring us away or out of” temptations. A
very positive idea!
So the issue is not that God will push us into
temptations if we don’t pray for Him not to. Instead,
we are to ask God to help us stay out of situations
where we are weak and vulnerable to temptation, or
where the enemy might have an “in” to attack us or cause
us to stumble. It’s a beautiful prayer for protection.
I’m heartened to know that my Heavenly Father
understands and acknowledges our weakness, and pledges
to us through Christ’s own prayer that He will gladly
make provision for our rescue. All we need to do is
I hope you all found this information helpful. We love
and appreciate you, and will continue to pray for you.
P.S. I really enjoyed our discussion on Tuesday night!
Robert R. Monti, M.Div.