Testing or Temptation?

This coming Sunday is the 17th Sunday in Lectionary Cycle C. We have been exploring some details about the Lord’s Prayer. One question that always arises in Bible studies is the meaning of the familiar form used in our liturgical settings where we are quite used to praying, “lead us not into temptation.” But note that the Lucan version in our gospel reading is and do not subject us to the final test.” The underlying Greek word is peirasmos? Its normal meaning is “test” or “temptation” – not necessarily always with a religious connotation. In the LXX we find the ordinary senses (cf. 1 Sam. 17:39) However we also find the use of peirasmos with a religious use: divine testing, in relation to temptation to transgress God’s commands, and in regards to the human tempting of God. Here are some examples: Continue reading