The Lord’s Prayer

So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we ourselves have forgiven our trespassers. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Mt. 6.9-13 literal translation).

Perhaps a quibble about the label “The Lord’s Prayer.” The text doesn’t give this prayer a title or label. Many have noted that, if any prayer were to be labeled “The Lord’s Prayer,” it would be Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane, recorded in John 17. Here, in Matthew, it is the prayer the Lord taught the disciples.

Not all Christians take this “Lord’s Prayer” as merely petition. It seems to start out as praise and affirmation: Hallowed be your name is the confident expectation of the time when God will rule on earth as in heaven with His name praised by the redeemed. Though there may be a yearning aspect, and hard distinctions may not be necessary, it is probably best to view this clause as praise instead of a plea. I understand the Greek construction (aorist imperative) to be a confident expectation. My view recognizes that, elsewhere in the bible, God’s Kingdom manifested on earth is a surety. In God’s due time, He will bring about His earthly rule. The prayer starts out in praise, aligning the disciple to God’s program of eventual triumph over iniquity and the reconciling of creation to Himself.

The words and pattern here is nearly identical to the Kaddish (Qaddish), which is a hymn of praise to God that magnifies and sanctifies God’s name in affirmation. Ezek. 38.23 is thought to be the model for the Kaddish: Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself, and I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am the LORD. “Saying Kaddish” in Judaism is in context of mourning at the passing of a loved one. Despite the loss, it is a confident praise of God. The Jewish Virtual Library identifies it as a “sanctification” and therefore “praise”:

The Kaddish is a prayer that praises God and expresses a yearning for the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. The emotional reactions inspired by the Kaddish come from the circumstances in which it is said: it is recited at funerals and by mourners, and sons are required to say Kaddish for eleven months after the death of a parent. The word Kaddish means sanctification, and the prayer is a sanctification of God’s name.

This “disciple’s prayer” also teaches 3 things in the asking part (petition): daily bread as a qualification of sustenance. This encourages a constant dependence, a personal continual learning of how God is able to meet needs. This shows His capacity and greatness in the most minute matters.

Forgive us qualified by the disciple forgiving others as themselves were freely forgiven. Many translations render this as “debts.” This is a very pedantic translation of the Greek term and requires explanation: it is the debt of guilt incurred from failure to perform correctly or failure of wrong action as prescribed previously in the bible. We are able to love others because He first loved us. In verses 14-15 Jesus explains the rationale of forgiving others: For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins. This is not the “eye for an eye” stark justice of the Mosaic Code but reflects the obligation of the gift given in The New Covenant. It is the evidence of the new birth’s transformation. If a person is vindictive and revengeful  it would indicate they were not forgiven.

Lead us during the evil days of this temporal journey. Another related admonition to disciples: Therefore be very careful how you live—not as unwise but as wise, taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Eph. 5.15-16 NET). The New Testament reflects the Prophet Amos’ observation and admonition: Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil (5.13 NIV). While Amos seems to emphasize keeping quiet so as not to cast pearls before swine, Ephesians instructs making good use of the opportunity (redeeming the time). This may mean studying to know God and being ready to present the gospel. Later, Paul says part of the Christian armor against evil entities involves fitting your feet with the preparation that comes from the good news of peace  (Eph. 6.15 NET). The wise or redeemed person will be sensitive in how to respond to others. The disciple sometimes will be able to storm Hell’s gates to rescue some from captivity. The final clause then, in the “disciple’s prayer,” seems to teach watchfulness and close fellowship with the Lord. It speaks of a very personal dependence and deliverance.

Free-Flowing English: Romans 5.1-11

Many sections of the bible (pericopes) lend themselves to memorization. For myself, hortatory, practical extracts are chosen. This does not mean these sections are without catechesis. Often, greater biblical insight and clarity of thought can be achieved by memorizing and meditating on a section of text (see Ps. 1 on the blessed person).

I am not a Greek or Hebrew scholar or seek to be one. I will never again achieve the proficiency in the Koine Greek which I once enjoyed. Neither can I cogently describe the differences between Biblical Aramaic and Hebrew as at one time. I am too old for greater aspirations. These translations are for practical usage. I have also employed ‘helps’ to aid in my translation.

Many biblical passages are somewhat clunky in their rendering from the original language. I want to attempt a better translation that is primarily true to the text without a woodenness in style. Instead of cluttering my version with notes, I’ll give a brief foreword to my choices and explain variants and structure where relevant.

Most bible translators strive to accurately render the host language to a somewhat readable style in the targeted language. I’ve followed the basic logic of the English versions of the past 400 years. Many minor concerns also govern choices determining the outcome of a version. My choices were to achieve a flowing style for reading and memorization without being pedantically literal. However, I’ve tried to maintain the writer’s thought accurately more than sticking to current patterns of expression. This sometimes results in long and complex sentences; but, that is how people thought and wrote in the Greco-Roman Era. I believe it more important to follow the text than pander to modern modes of speech. Most of my blog posts are simplified speech for clarity but translating a text requires a different set of concerns such as interpretation and textual criticism.

In this pericope, textual variants needed to be considered in 1.1, 1.2, and 1.6. Since I am very familiar with this passage, and have previously considered the variants, I am confident in my rendering. My greatest question is the variant in 1.2 (“by faith” added), but it is theologically consistent and true to Paul’s style in his careful and extensive explanation to his sophisticated audience in Rome. I have also dropped “of God” in verse 9 since it is not in the text (though understood).

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have access, by faith, into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will one die for a righteous person, though perhaps, for a good person, will one dare to die. However, God demonstrates his own love to us, while yet sinners, Christ died for us. Therefore, how much more, having been now justified by his blood, will we be saved from wrath through him. If being enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his son, how much more having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

“Pre-Existence” in Ancient Jewish Tradition and the NT — Larry Hurtado’s Blog

Larry Hurtado’s posts are succinct, incisive, clear, and filled with carefully studied positions. There is no “filler” in his writings. So, here is his latest post along with plenty of evidence to bolster his position.

 

One reader of my posts seems to have difficulty in grasping what scholars refer to as “pre-existence”. It’s a technical term, scholarly jargon/shorthand, to designate a motif or concept evident in a number of early Jewish and early Christian texts. In particular, a number of early Christian texts ascribe a “pre-existence” to Jesus. But there […]

via “Pre-Existence” in Ancient Jewish Tradition and the NT — Larry Hurtado’s Blog

Prooftext Contra The Filioque

Acts 2.33: Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

The “Filioque Clause,” an addition to the Nicean Creed, states that the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as the Father. The Eastern Church was correct to reject this clause as the Acts passage clearly explains what occurred during the ten days between the Ascension and Pentecost. The Father has given this ministry of the Spirit in Christians to the Son to send Him (the Spirit) to us. What I mean to say is the specific New Covenant ministry of the Spirit is controlled by the Son since He sends the Spirit as does the Father. However, the Filioque Clause would have us believe that the Spirit proceeds from the Son as the same way as from the Father. Peter explains post-Pentecost what happened is the Father has given the Spirit to the Son to give Christians this new life filled with both Christ and the Spirit.