Lord's prayer


This may be obvious, I might be missing something but why does it appear that the Lord's prayer is different in the Bible than the way we actually say it? This is the way I have been told to say it, and the way that I have seen it documented;

Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.

Yet looking at Matthew 6 for example, Jesus is addressing his disciples and tells them "Pray in 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 this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts
As we also have forgiven our debtors
And do not bring us to the time of trial
but rescue us from the evil one


It's simply a matter of translation. If you look at a Douay-Rheims Bible, a NRSV Bible, a NAB Bible, a Jerusalem Bible, and a Knox Bible, you will notice that each is slightly different, but they all convey the same meaning. Also, if you look at the prayer in the different Gospels even within the same translation, you will notice that they are slightly different.

We use the translation that we use simply by centuries-old custom. It is very familiar to Catholics (and most Protestants as well), and it matches the meaning of the original Greek very well, so there is no need to correct it.

A priest in my diocese recently gave a very good, thorough answer to the question of why the text of the Lord's Prayer was not recently changed on his parish's website:

Let me begin by pointing out that the use of vernacular (for us that is English) within the Mass is relatively new when compared to the larger history of our Church. For centuries the liturgical prayers were said in Latin. This however, has not been the case for the bible. Rather the art of biblical translation has an extensive history. Already in the 4th century the ancient texts of Greek and Aramaic were translated to Latin, as history tells us by St. Jerome. Now fast forward to the 14th century where John Wycliffe translates the bible into English based on the Latin text.

Why this history? Well, the Lord’s Prayer is a direct quote from scripture, and the translation of scripture from the Latin to the English had already begun in the 14th century. Hence, for scripture there is already a long history of working with the text, examining the text, all to convey its meaning in vernacular languages (i.e., English). That is why we have so many different versions of the bible, and in the end translation is an art. As it stands the translation of scripture -- this includes the Lord’s Prayer -- has gone through centuries of translations, where the text of Mass has gone through decades. Thus, the text of Lord’s Prayer, simply put, is fine. Its translation from Latin to English is adequate and therefore there was no need to re-translate it in the Third Edition of the Roman Missal.


[quote="marcaevans, post:1, topic:317729"]

Yet looking at Matthew 6 for example, Jesus is addressing his disciples and tells them "Pray in this way"


Translating is finding a way to transfer meaning from language to language.
In Greek, which we cannot readily read, the prayer looks like this, and had meaning to Jesus and his disciples:
Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς·
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομα σου·
10 ἐλθέτω ὴ βασιλεία σου·
γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημα σου,
ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς·
11 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·
12 καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν,
ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν.
13 καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν,
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.
A transliteration (kind of a word for word substitution) looks about like this:
Father of us, the one in the heavens,
let the name of you be hallowed;
let come the kingdom of you;
let be done the will of you,
as in heaven, also on earth.
the bread of us daily give us today,
and forgive us the debts of us
as also we forgive the debtors of us;
and do not lead us into testing,
but deliver us from the evil (one)
Then the various translators to English instead of substitution of words put it in phrasing that sounds like we might speak, and phrases that make us have the same feeling as the disciples had when Jesus spoke to them.
I have the same feeling of the meaning of the prayer in both of the translations that you presented in your post.
I have the first one memorized, as you do, but I get the same understanding when I read the second version.

John Martin


The prayer as it occurs in Luke 11:2–4

hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.


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