Given the recent decision of Pope Francis to approve a change in the translation of the Our Father in Italian from “lead us not into temptation” to “do not let us fall into temptation,” I want to repeat what I have written before and intensify my opposition to such a change.
I will state, for the record, that I do not speak Italian and accept that there may be nuances to the Italian translation of which I am unaware. However, as we can surely expect, there is now going to be pressure to change the English translation as well. I oppose this and want to revisit why.
Most fundamentally, there is a notion expressed by the Pope himself and others that God does not lead us into temptation. The Pope said, “A father does not do that…”
But this is simply not true and is contrary to Scripture.
Scripture states plainly: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). And thus, we see that it is part of the providence of God that his Son, and all who are members of Jesus’ body, experience temptations and trials of various sorts. God leads us forth in life to experience and overcome these things by his grace.
So the purpose of these trials and temptations for us is that we grow by facing down opposition, error and sin, and by exhibiting obedience to the commandments of God.
This becomes clearer when we understand that the Greek word often translated as “tempted” is peirasmós, which can refer either to being “tempted” or to being “tested.” And, of course, life is filled with many tests. By them we learn to master the challenges and vicissitudes of life.
Good fathers and mothers routinely expose their children to challenges, even moderate dangers, so that they can grow and learn to live in a world filled with temptations and lights contrary to the Gospel.