by Bruce Hanson

“And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13

I know my high school English teacher probably wouldn’t like my use of But, But as a title, but let me explain. The first “but” refers to my writing assignment concerning the passage above. The second “but” was hand-delivered by the librarian at the Heavenly Public Library as I sat down to write. She reminded me of something we ought to “Post-It” in our brains. And yes, I was being noisy!! 

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Living  and Active

What the librarian whispered in my ear was that I needed to slow down and ruminate. If you are like me, the Lord’s Prayer is something I memorized not long after I learned to talk. I have likely recited it many thousands of times. If I am not careful, it can simply slide off my tongue without making an impact on my mind or my heart. God’s Word is LIVING and ACTIVE. Every time I read it and all the rest of scripture, I should endeavor to read it as though I have never seen it before. It has the potential to be new every time. Now to the first “but” from the passage above.

What could possibly be the purpose of tying the two portions of the sentence above with the conjunction“but”If we flesh it out as is implied, it would say,
“But if He does”. The thing is, God doesn’t tempt. Numerous scriptures tell us that. Never. Never. So why did Jesus use the word “but”?

Let me start by saying that this is what God is telling me about Jesus’ use of the word “but”. He may have something else for you. The Greek word used here for temptation is the word peirasmos. If you look that word up in Strong’s Concordance, you will find three potential meanings that might be used in translation:  trial, testing, temptation. 

For me, if I employ the meaning of peirasmos as temptation, then that seems to contradict what I know about God’s character. But if I use it in the sense of testing, then things suddenly make sense to me. Not only do they make sense, but they also give me reassurance as I face the challenges of aging.
The GPB, the Grandpa Bruce Paraphrased edition of scripture would look like this:

“God, if I had my choice, I might choose to avoid all trials. Trials aren’t much fun, but if you do allow me down a path fraught with trials, please help me out the other side. I KNOW you will!!”

But, But 

“Testing, Testing”

Thank You Jesus

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