The Our Father


Please help me with this! In English, we pray “lead us not into temptation” while in Spanish the line can be interpreted as “don’t let us fall into temptation”. My neighbor, a native of Ecuador, is very confused since the English Our Father sounds almost like God is the temptor! While doing research, I discovered that in Aramaic it is “let us not be lost in superficial things”! As I have done more research, I found This site traces the prayer from the original Aramaic to what is said today- which seems to be much different in meaning! I speak German, Italian and Swahili in addition to Spanish and English, and, now that this has been pointed out to me, I find that those languages vary in meaning as well. Why does this line vary so much in translation? How do I explain this to my neighbor as she learns English, as she is very offended by the English and will only pray in Spanish now! Thanks for any help.


A word of advice. Be careful of sites that claim to give a ‘translation’ of the Our Father ‘from the original Aramaic’ like the one you linked to. For one, we do not have the original Aramaic version as spoken by Jesus. We do have translations of the gospels in Syriac (a dialect of Aramaic such as the Peshitta, but not only are they not in the dialect of Aramaic that would have been actually spoken by Jesus (that was a different one), most people agree that they are translated from the Greek. And guess what? The Syriac says the same thing as our version: “Our Father who art in heaven.”

These are not ‘translations’, but paraphrases, and very loose (read: bad) paraphrases at that; you’ll have to do quite some mental and linguistic gymnastics in order to produce something like “let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose” out of “deliver us from (the) evil (one).”

This is something I wrote around six years ago that addresses this topic. Please excuse younger me’s smart-aleck-iness. :blush: My post is in turn based on this guy’s, who is an actual Aramaic expert. If there’s anyone who should know what the text should translate to, it’d be him:

You have to remember that the original Greek word is peirasmos. It could mean ‘temptation’, but it could also mean ‘test’ or ‘trial’. God doesn’t ‘tempt’ people (in the sense that He leads people into sin), though He could allow people to be ‘tested’ (look at Job). The petition can be better understood as us either/both asking God to give us the grace to discern what is evil and to resist temptation or/and asking God to spare us from extremely difficult ‘trials’ or ‘tests’ that we cannot bear. You might want to look at these pages:


Thank you SO much! The links you provided are very helpful!


Oh, and I didn’t find the younger you to be smart-alecky at all. That was very well researched and informative! :thumbsup:


We know over and over again from scripture that God does not tempt us or bring us evil. Therefore, any perception of your lady friend’s is just, her scandalized perception.

the following is the explanation of “lead us not into temptation” from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which you and your friend should consider, as well as the following paragraphs in the catechism:

***2846 This petition goes to the root of the preceding one, for our sins result from our consenting to temptation; we therefore ask our Father not to “lead” us into temptation. It is difficult to translate the Greek verb used by a single English word: the Greek means both “do not allow us to enter into temptation” and “do not let us yield to temptation.” “God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one”; on the contrary, he wants to set us free from evil. We ask him not to allow us to take the way that leads to sin. We are engaged in the battle “between flesh and spirit”; this petition implores the Spirit of discernment and strength. ***


The Catechism should have been my first resource to answer my question. I’m ashamed to say that I turned to these forums instead. Thank you for your help- and for the reminder that I had the answer in my Catechism all along!! :o

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