The Peshitta is the Aramaic version of the New Testament. There is disagreement between the Western Church and the Eastern Church as to whether the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic or Greek. The Eastern Church insists that Aramaic was the language spoken by the Lord Jesus when He walked this earth.
Regardless of who is correct, the Peshitta is a very old version of the New Testament and dates back to the First Century. This antiquity is perhaps one reason why the translators of the Geneva Bible used the Peshitta as one source for their translation. The Geneva Bible precedes the King James Version by over fifty years.
I give this background on the Peshitta New Testament because there is part of the Lord’s Prayer that I have not understood. The Lord’s Prayer is a marvelous example for us. It is model prayer, a format for our use, or if you will, a template for prayer to the Lord. But I have never understood the phrase, “And lead us not into temptation.”
The Lord allows Satan to tempt us, as He allowed the temptation of Job. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13)
In 1933 George M. Lamsa published an English translation of the Bible based upon the Old Testament and New Testament Syriac/Aramaic versions. The following is his translation of the Lord’s Prayer. It is wonderfully poetic.
The phrase “And do not let us enter our temptation” does not conflict with the King James Version, or other translations, with which we are familiar. The Peshitta and/or Lamsa simply looked at it a different way. The versions we are accustomed to could read, “Let us not be led into temptation.” To me, that is an easier way to understand our petition to the Lord, Who does not tempt us.
As Christians, we are so blessed to be able to approach the majesty of our Heavenly Father with our praises and petitions. We are His children, and He hears our prayers. While the Lord hears the prayer for salvation of the unsaved, the unsaved do not have the privilege of presenting their petitions before the Lord because they are not His children.
Praise the Lord for that wonderful privilege!