Did John the Baptist write the Lord's Prayer?


#1

In the two versions of the Our Father in scripture (Matthew 6 and Luke 11), the version in Luke is preceded by some words that are extremely interesting…

Luke 11:
*"1 He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, **“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” *2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread 4 and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”

What does it mean that Jesus taught his disciples to pray “just as John taught his disciples?” Does that mean he used a similar style and form of prayer as Jesus? Or that John was the first to use the term “Father” for God? Or that he actually used the Our Father? Any clues or historical exegesis would be welcome!


#2

Never thought about that. But when you mention it, I think it is plausible. But there is a few things that don't add up. First, the Gospels are written a long time after Christ did suffer for our sins, and I have not heard anyone say that John The Baptist would have write anything. And I don't know if Christ and John The Baptist had been in contact more then once. So, might be, it is not impossible, but I am sure someone here know more about this subject. But that is interesting question all in all and I hope someone can say something about it, you made me curious.


#3

All they were saying is that John taught his disciples to pray - perhaps he taught them specific prayers. Our Lord's disciples wanted Jesus to instruct them in prayer. We don't know in what way John taught his disciples - we do know how Jesus taught his.


#4

[quote="fnr, post:1, topic:336724"]
In the two versions of the Our Father in scripture (Matthew 6 and Luke 11), the version in Luke is preceded by some words that are extremely interesting...

Luke 11:
"1 He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, *“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” ***2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread 4 and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
What does it mean that Jesus taught his disciples to pray "just as John taught his disciples?" Does that mean he used a similar style and form of prayer as Jesus? Or that John was the first to use the term "Father" for God? Or that he actually used the Our Father? Any clues or historical exegesis would be welcome!

[/quote]

I think you're reading too much into the text. It simply says that the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray - just as John had taught his disciples how to pray. It does not necessarily mean that John prescribed specific prayers (at least, not that we know of) or that the following prayer was created by John.

And historically speaking, we don't know much about John other than what the gospels and Josephus tell us, so we can't say whether he had the concept of God as a Father. What we do know is that Jesus thought of God as a Father and taught such.


#5

I agree with Bonnie and patrick457. I'd venture to say that any apparent ambiguity in the text is simply peculiar to our faulty, English language.

Can we get a Greek scholar over here to confirm? :D


#6

John's teachings to his disciples were of repentance. So, if John taught them to pray, it would be to pray for repentance. So, to ask to pray as John taught, generally, would mean that they asking to be able to pray for repentance.


#7

Note that Matthew witnessed the events, while Luke is writing what he obtained from witnesses. It seems likely that Matthew is giving the original words, and Luke gives someone's summary of them.


#8

Both Daniel Harrington, SJ and Luke Timothy Johnson suggest the Lord's Prayer can be seen as a simplified form of the Amidah, the Eighteen Benedictions, that Jews recited three times a day. They were also called the Standing Prayer, which fits in with the teachings that precede the Lord's Prayer in Matthew. If it is the case that the Lord's Prayer derives from the Amidah, then the Amidah would have been known to John and Jesus, and their disciples. The Didache included the Matthean version of the Lord's Prayer, indicating that it was adopted early in the history of Christianity. Interestingly, the Didache version includes the final doxology.


#9

[quote="Joe_Kelley, post:7, topic:336724"]
Note that Matthew witnessed the events, while Luke is writing what he obtained from witnesses. It seems likely that Matthew is giving the original words, and Luke gives someone's summary of them.

[/quote]

It ain't as simple as that. Matthew could also easily have adapted and reworded the prayer to fit in with the themes of his gospel (the phrase "Father in heaven" comes to mind).


#10

The position of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that the Lord's Prayer comes to us from Our Lord Himself as the name implies. Also the Baltimore Catechism maintains that Our Lord made it by Himself, while the Catholic Encyclopedia calls the term oratio dominica an early one.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2765:

2765 The traditional expression "the Lord's Prayer" - oratio Dominica - means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus. The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is "of the Lord." On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him: he is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: he is the model of our prayer.

Baltimore Catechism 4, The Lord's Prayer:

This is the most beautiful and best of all prayers, because Our Lord Himself made it. (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2). One day when He was praying and explaining to His Apostles the great advantages of prayer, one of them said to Him: "Lord, teach us to pray." Then Jesus taught them this prayer. It contains everything we need or could ask for. We cannot see its full meaning at once. The more we think over it, the more clearly we understand it. We could write whole pages on almost every word, and still not say all that could be said about this prayer. It is called "the Lord's," because He made it, and sometimes the "Our Father," from the first words.

Catholic Encyclopedia, The Lord's Prayer:

Although the Latin term oratio dominica is of early date, the phrase "Lord's Prayer" does not seem to have been generally familiar in England before the Reformation. During the Middle Ages the "Our Father" was always said in Latin, even by the uneducated. Hence it was then most commonly known as the Pater noster. The name "Lord's prayer" attaches to it not because Jesus Christ used the prayer Himself (for to ask forgiveness of sin would have implied the acknowledgment of guilt) but because He taught it to His disciples.


#11

[quote="Oldtimer_7, post:8, topic:336724"]
Both Daniel Harrington, SJ and Luke Timothy Johnson suggest the Lord's Prayer can be seen as a simplified form of the Amidah, the Eighteen Benedictions, that Jews recited three times a day. They were also called the Standing Prayer, which fits in with the teachings that precede the Lord's Prayer in Matthew. If it is the case that the Lord's Prayer derives from the Amidah, then the Amidah would have been known to John and Jesus, and their disciples. The Didache included the Matthean version of the Lord's Prayer, indicating that it was adopted early in the history of Christianity. Interestingly, the Didache version includes the final doxology.

[/quote]

I am not seeing the relationship to the Amidah. Could I ask you to explain further what are the similarities?


#12

[quote="patrick457, post:9, topic:336724"]
It ain't as simple as that. Matthew could also easily have adapted and reworded the prayer to fit in with the themes of his gospel (the phrase "Father in heaven" comes to mind).

[/quote]

Bet Jesus wishes that He had thought to do that at the time. :D


#13

It will be simpler to illustrate the point using Matthew 6. In verse 5, Jesus talks about Jews standing in prayer. The name Amidah derives from the Hebrew root, md, which means "to stand." "Our Father in heaven" is a classic Jewish formulation. In Matthew, the word for father is abba, whereas in the Amidah, it is abbouni. Abba is the familiar address in Aramaic, like "Daddy" or "Papa." The first petition is roughly a condensation of the first three Benedictions. Benediction Two talks about sustaining the living, which is similar in thought to daily bread (or supersubstantial, if you like the DRC). Benediction Six asks for the forgiveness of sins. Benediction Seven also asks for redemption, which is similar to "lead us not into temptation". In v.13, the only differences are that the DRC has a comma, and the KJV a period. The KJV continues after a colon with the doxology.

I hope this helps. For further information, you can read The Gospel of Matthew in the Sacra Pagina Series, pp. 96-99.


#14

I should just note that, while it is nowadays common to claim that 'abba in Aramaic has the same connotations as “daddy” (based to a theory by the late Joachim Jeremias that the word 'abba derived perhaps from baby-talk and means basically - as he translates it into German - lieber Vater “dear father”), recently Jeremias’ claim have come under question. (Although to be fair, while Jeremias did argue for childlike spontaneity conveyed by 'abba, he was not the one who made the ‘abba=daddy’ connection but people after him.)

Perhaps the word did belong to the familiar or colloquial register of the language in Jesus’ time, but people of all ages (not just children) would have still used 'abba; and the word itself eventually became a courtesy title for respected men. Unlike “daddy,” which kind of sounds too childish and too informal, as well as ‘father’, which is perhaps too stiff and formal, the word 'abba, while being intimate, carries a sense of reverence, respect and awe with it: true intimacy does not eliminate a sense of sacred awe and ‘otherness’, nor does it equate with getting all informal and feel-good.


#15

[quote="Glacies, post:10, topic:336724"]
The position of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that the Lord's Prayer comes to us from Our Lord Himself as the name implies. Also the Baltimore Catechism maintains that Our Lord made it by Himself, while the Catholic Encyclopedia calls the term oratio dominica an early one.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2765:

Baltimore Catechism 4, The Lord's Prayer:

Catholic Encyclopedia, The Lord's Prayer:

[/quote]

That pretty well settles it! But that question given by the OP shows some original thinking, which I find impressive!


#16

[quote="fnr, post:1, topic:336724"]
In the two versions of the Our Father in scripture (Matthew 6 and Luke 11), the version in Luke is preceded by some words that are extremely interesting...

Luke 11:
"1 He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, *“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” ***2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread 4 and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
What does it mean that Jesus taught his disciples to pray "just as John taught his disciples?" Does that mean he used a similar style and form of prayer as Jesus? Or that John was the first to use the term "Father" for God? Or that he actually used the Our Father? Any clues or historical exegesis would be welcome!

[/quote]

If they knew what John had taught his disciples to pray, they wouldn't need Jesus to teach them again, would they? Rather they are saying "It is fitting for masters to teach disciples how to pray. John did this for his disciples; will you please do the same for yours?"


#17

"But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Yours is the power and the glory for ever. Thrice in the day thus pray." - Didache XIII (c. AD 40 - 90)


#18

[quote="fnr, post:1, topic:336724"]
In the two versions of the Our Father in scripture (Matthew 6 and Luke 11), the version in Luke is preceded by some words that are extremely interesting...

Luke 11:
"1 He was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, *“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” ***2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread 4 and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”
What does it mean that Jesus taught his disciples to pray "just as John taught his disciples?" Does that mean he used a similar style and form of prayer as Jesus? Or that John was the first to use the term "Father" for God? Or that he actually used the Our Father? Any clues or historical exegesis would be welcome!

[/quote]

No he did not write the Our Father. Jesus gave us that prayer.


#19

[quote="Oldtimer_7, post:8, topic:336724"]
Both Daniel Harrington, SJ and Luke Timothy Johnson suggest the Lord's Prayer can be seen as a simplified form of the Amidah, the Eighteen Benedictions, that Jews recited three times a day. They were also called the Standing Prayer, which fits in with the teachings that precede the Lord's Prayer in Matthew. If it is the case that the Lord's Prayer derives from the Amidah, then the Amidah would have been known to John and Jesus, and their disciples. The Didache included the Matthean version of the Lord's Prayer, indicating that it was adopted early in the history of Christianity. Interestingly, the Didache version includes the final doxology.

[/quote]

I found this interesting passage in the Catechism:

"2767 This indivisible gift of the Lord's words and of the Holy Spirit who gives life to them in the hearts of believers has been received and lived by the Church from the beginning. The first communities prayed the Lord's Prayer three times a day,18 in place of the "Eighteen Benedictions" customary in Jewish piety."

Reference 18, cited here, is the Didache.


#20

Patrick, thanks for the elucidation on the issue of* Abba/Abbouni.* Your points are well taken.

There is a similar usage in the terms Rabbi/Rabbouni. In Mark 10:51, Bartimaeus the blind beggar calls Jesus Rabbouni and in the Gospel of John 20:16, Mary Magdelene, on recognizing Jesus after His resurrection, also uses Rabbouni.
In several places in Mark, Peter and the other disciples refer to Jesus as Rabbi. This is also the case in John.

FNR, there are few places where we will find such a wealth of information. One is the Catechism, and the other is Catholic Answers.


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