Byzantine Text 1995
Καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ. Ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δύναμις καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. Ἀμήν. Matthew 6:13 BYZ
Translation is an art which draws upon theological and interpretive skills as well as linguistic and textual preservation skills. Recently the lead pastor of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis said that the phrase in the Lord's prayer asking God to not lead us into temptations "is not a good translation." Rather, Pope Francis advocates what he considers a better translation, “Do not let us fall into temptation.” At least part of the reason is theological, because Pope Francis says, it “is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation.” He added, “It is Satan who leads us into temptation; that’s his department.” We should appreciate that Pope Francis is valiant to speak well of God, which is in agreement with the third commandment which demands we not take the Lord's name in vain. This is also in agreement with James who tells us in James 1:13 that “13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. (Jas. 1:13 ESV)” So God is not culpable in our sin, though he controls all of the events.
Theological coherence along with interpretive skills are mandatory for a solid translation. However, we cannot read good theology into a passage that does not get addressed by that passage. We cannot dump lexical meaning nor grammatical features of the original language text in order to satisfy theological uniformity. If the translation should be "do not let us fall" I would expect the word to would have meaning "fall" to be within the lexical range of meaning. The leading academic dictionary of Biblical Greek says the meaning of the word is "1. to bring into an area, bring in" or "2. to cause someone to enter into a certain event or condition, bring in".
The verb εἰσενέγκῃς (eisenegkes) is a second person active aorist subjunctive. The second person is the subject, "our Father" is who is being asked to not lead us into temptation. The verb is not passive, it is active and "our Father" is the one who is being asked to not lead. This form with the negative particle μὴ according to Dan Wallace is "The prohibitive aorist is normally used, like its positive counterpart, in speculative situations. The force of the aorist is used to prohibit the action as a whole. Because of this, it sometimes has an ingressive flavor: Do not start." (The Basics of New Testament Syntax, page 320) So perhaps in a schmaltzy sort of translation we might say, “you don’t even start to lead us”. The way I am reading the verse is that it assumes that the providence of God is a governing factor in our life. God is in control of what happens ultimately. This verse gives the idea that God will lead us into temptation at times but we should ask him that we not be led into temptation. This is coherent with the passage in Luke, "And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. (Lk. 4:1-2 ESV) Yes, it is the devil doing the tempting but God (the Holy Spirit) is the one leading where Jesus is going. There is a theological tension which exists and we must embrace the tension of the passage. That tension is even in the Lord's prayer itself. Amazingly, the definite article before the word evil in the Greek indicates it is the evil one, not our evil. I would say it means “the Devil”, we are to ask God to deliver us from the Devil. This is also coherent with the command of Jesus to Peter, "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation." (Matt. 26:41 ESV)
We should note that the Westminster Larger Catechism recognizes the tensions of "God...may so order things" with "that Satan, the world, and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside". This tension has more than an intellectual curiosity, it is the reality that we actually live within.
Q. 195. What do we pray for in the sixth petition?
A. In the sixth petition (which is, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil), acknowledging that the most wise, righteous, and gracious God, for divers holy and just ends, may so order things, that we may be assaulted, foiled, and for a time led captive by temptations; that Satan, the world, and the flesh, are ready powerfully to draw us aside, and ensnare us; and that we, even after the pardon of our sins, by reason of our corruption, weakness, and want of watchfulness, are not only subject to be tempted, and forward to expose ourselves unto temptations, but also of ourselves unable and unwilling to resist them, to recover out of them, and to improve them; and worthy to be left under the power of them; we pray, that God would so overrule the world and all in it, subdue the flesh, and restrain Satan, order all things, bestow and bless all means of grace, and quicken us to watchfulness in the use of them, that we and all his people may by his providence be kept from being tempted to sin; or, if tempted, that by his Spirit we may be powerfully supported and enabled to stand in the hour of temptation; or when fallen, raised again and recovered out of it, and have a sanctified use and improvement thereof: that our sanctification and salvation may be perfected, Satan trodden under our feet, and we fully freed from sin, temptation, and all evil, forever.
There is a hands on quiz coming soon for me and you on this.