The pope recently changed the wording of the 6th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer. This may cause some to consider how this affects us as Lutherans. In reality, the papal church decision does not affect us at all. Here is the papal statement regarding the change:
The translation of a line in the Lord’s Prayer has been changed by The Pope after he signalled he was frustrated that it implies God might lead people into temptation.
Pope Francis approved altering the translation of the line “and lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation.”
Luther already in 1530 addressed the concern when he wrote his explanation to the 6th Petition in the Small Catechism.
6th Petition: And do not lead us into temptation.
What does this mean? God indeed tempts no one; but we pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us, so that the devil, the world, and our flesh may not deceive us nor seduce us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice; and although we may be assailed by them, still we may finally overcome and obtain the victory.
Immediately Luther addresses the concern whether God tempts us. He does not. The focus of the 6th petition is to call upon God’s protection against the three spiritual enemies: the devil, the world, and our flesh. Further that none of the three may not deceive us nor seduce us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. With the outcome that we finally overcome all these temptations in Christ’s power, and that we may obtain that the victory in Christ.
So is there any need for us as Lutherans to change the wording of English translation? Absolutely not. The current translation is acceptable and the result does not change even with a wording change.
Rest assured that our praying the Lord’s Prayer is acceptable to God and reflects God’s own desires for our prayers.
Other translation changes:
A final note is that the new translation by the papal church will affect oral recitation by congregations, small groups, and by individuals. In pastoral care to shut-ins, those hospitalized, home visitation, I recite the Lord’s Prayer, inviting the person(s) to join with me. What advantage is a wording change? None. Negatively it will cause confusion, stumbling, uncertainty at a very critical time for the person to be actively praying the commonly known words. Word changes like this are not helpful for pastoral care and private devotions.
Also, note that even when new Bible translations or revisions (NASB, ESV, NIV, etc.) appear, that change never affects the liturgical form used in worship or private devotions.
The pope also changed the text of “The Gloria” in the liturgy. That change will not affect us as Lutherans at all.