the lord's prayer


Can anyone tell me why there are two different, although, similar versions of the lord’s prayer in the bible, one in Mathew and the other in Luke. And which one is closer to what Jesus actually said.

God Bless


Bobby Mac,

We need to remember that Jesus preached for about three years to a whole lot of different audiences. There is no way at all that He could have avoided repeating Himself. I daresay the Apostles knew all the parables with a dozen different variations on each, depending on exactly where Jesus was when He told it.

The same is true for the Lord’s Prayer. Matthew speaks of a sermon on a mountain; Luke speaks of a sermon on a plain. They were two separate sermons, with similar themes–Jesus’ equivalent of the politician’s “stump speech.”

  • Liberian


Extyracted from
The New Testament - The Good News of Jesus
Michael Pennock1982 Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Ind 46556

Stage 3: New Testament Writings

  • One of the important things to note is how different authors recorded the same basic material.
  • Each adopted the oral tradition in his own unique way for the community he was addressing..
  • Luke and Matthew used their editorial skills to emphasize their overriding theme.  They adapted the material to fit their audience.

Read and compare the following passages on prayer: Mt 6:5-15 and Lk 11:1-14

Did you notice any difference in the two didaches (teachings) on how to pray?

We might outline the two readings on prayer like this:

MATTHEW ( 6:5-15)

  • When you pray
  • Don’t he phony
  • Don’t babble on; keep prayers short
  • Here’s an example of a short prayer: Our Father
  • Have forgiveness in - in your heart

LUKE (11:1-14) -
(compare with above and think for yourself and try to ask )why?

  • Jesus himself prayed
  • Show us how to pray
  • Here’s a formula: Father
  • Parable of friend: Be persistent
  • Parable of father: Your prayer will be answered

**There are certainly different teachings on prayer; in fact, even the versions of the Our Father are a bit different. **

How can we explain this phenomenon? If we remember that Matthew and Luke were writing for diverse communities, the differences make more sense.

MATTHEW ( 6:5-15)

  • Wrote for Jewish Christians
  • Assumed that Jewish converts did pray because Jews had a rich heritage of prayer
  • His gospel instructs the followers of Jesus to keep their prayers short and to the point (as in the Our Father).
  • They showed trust that God will answer their prayers, prayers that ask for God's will to be done
  • Matthew cautions his audience not to pray as hypocrites do - showing off so that others will think they are holy
  • This teaching on prayer would make a lot of sense to a converted Jew who had accepted Jesus.
  • Notice MattHew;s version includes “Our” Father – a personal God

LUKE (11:1-14)

  • Wrote for Gentile converts
  • They had been pagans who did not normally pray.
  • Luke points out that Jesus himself prayed (a Jew would have known this). 

Luke tells his audience that Jesus taught the perfect prayer,

  • In this prayer, the Christian can call God "Abba" (Father). 

Luke stressing that the Christian God is loving and deeply concerned with his children. Pagans did not know this. Their gods were often cruel and worked against people.

  • Luke underscores the need for persistence in prayer
  • Luke assures the community that its prayers will be answered. 

(his Gentile-Christian audience needed these reminders because Gentiles did not have the Jewish experience of praying with trust that God would answer prayers.)

  • Notice Luke;s version begins with ”Father”  (The “Our” is missingJ

Trust this helps to explain the differences.


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