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July 2011

Take no thought

In 1395, Wycliffe rendered it be not busy:  “Therfor I seie to you, that ye be not bisi to youre lijf.”  (Matthew 6:25) In 1534 Tyndale put the warning, be not carefull:  “Therfore I saye vnto you be not carefull for your lyfe” From Tyndale until 1611 all the translations rendered Jesus’ warning as “be not […]

Ye cannot serve God and mammon

We are all worshippers.  We all give our hearts to something.  And yet we only have one heart.  Simone Weil put it like this: “No human being escapes the necessity of conceiving some good outside himself towards which his thought turns in a movement of desire, supplication, and hope. Consequently, the only choice is between […]

Where your treasure is there will your heart be also

Following His discussion of three religious practices – alms-giving, prayer and fasting (Matthew 6:1-18) – Jesus returns to the topic of giving.  But here He doesn’t speak in terms of “alms” but of treasure. “19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and […]

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Modern translations put this verse in footnotes.  It does not appear in Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, nor in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew that we have.  It does appear in the Textus Receptus and so, for 300 years it appeared in all the English translations from Tyndale onwards.  In that time it has […]

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil

It is often said that the “Lord’s Prayer” is poorly named since its petitions are not those that the Lord Himself would make.  Jesus would certainly pray “Father” – “Abba” even.  He would certainly hallow the name of God and seek His kingdom.  And He is the One who supremely did the will of the […]

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

Spot the common theme in all these sayings: —  I owe you an apology. —  How can I ever repay you? —  Give credit where it’s due. —  I’m forever in your debt. —  You robbed me of my dignity. —  You cost me my reputation. —  It’s pay-back time. All of these statements use […]

Give us this day our daily bread

I’ve noted before that many people are reluctant to pray “small prayers.” Often Christians have told me they wouldn’t bother God with their piddling requests, after all He’s got more important things to care about. It’s an odd position to take when you think about it.  As though the affairs of the world were getting on […]

Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven

What is God up to in the world? Here’s a word to drop into conversation: God is ouranifying the earth. Ouranos is the Greek word for heaven – it’s where we get the name for the planet “Uranus”.  And here Jesus tells us that God’s desire is to ouranify the earth.  You might say – […]

Thy kingdom come

First we remember who God is (Father) and where we have come in Christ in order to speak with Him (Heaven).  At this point the Lord’s Prayer is wonderfully personal.  The One on the throne is Father. Then we ask that the Lord’s gospel character (His name) be more richly prized in our hearts.  Here […]

Hallowed be thy name

This one needs some unpacking.  Firstly that archaic word “hallowed.” In modern English, the word “hallowed” is only really preserved for sports venues.  For a football supporter, Wembley is hallowed ground.  For a cricket fan, Lord’s is hallowed turf. Hallowed means ‘regarded as holy.’ But “holy” needs explaining too.  It means ‘set apart, devoted, consecrated, […]