Posted by: Alicia | December 26, 2008

Hidden Gem – Matthew 6:13

Whenever I study the Bible, I like to have the following on hand:   “Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible”,  “Strong’s Concordance” and Pocket Interlinears for both the Old and New Testaments (Hebrew and Greek).    The reason for this is I often find things written in the scriptures that I want to search out further; a word may have a deeper meaning than the interpreted text provides for.

My “Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible” has it’s own Hebrew/Chaldee and Greek/Aramaic dictionaries in the back.  And in each verse, it will have some words “keyed” to the dictionary so that I can look up their original meaning.   Along with this I often look up the verses in my Pocket Interlinears so I can read them in the original language, and find other words to look up in the dictionary (the Interlinears have all the words keyed to the dictionary).   With this in mind, I can delve very deeply into the meaning of a text, increasing my knowledge and understanding of what is being said.  

Having said all that, I now want to take you, Dear Reader, through a hidden gem that I found in the “Lord’s Prayer”, which is found in Matthew 6:9-13, with the focus on verse 13.  But first, let’s read the entire “Lord’s Prayer” (New American Standard version):

Matthew 6:9-13:

9 “Our Father, who are in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. 
10 Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us or debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen.”

Such a beautiful prayer it is!  If we were all to use it as a template for our prayers, we would:

  • Acknowledge that God is our Father and Holy
  • Pray for His kingdom to finally come to pass on this earth
  • Pray that His will be done (something we all need to remember to pray, “Not my will, Lord, but Yours”)
  • Ask for Him to provide for us
  • Ask for His forgiveness in as much as we forgive others
  • Ask that He not allow us to be tempted
  • Ask Him to deliver us from evil
  • Acknowledge that His kingdom and power and glory is forever.

Indeed, it is a wonderful outline to use for our prayers, even without delving further into its meaning.  However, if we look at it a little deeper, we will find several very beautiful, hidden gems buried with in it.  For this study, however, we will focus just on the one in verse 13:

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil (#4190 in Strong’s Greek/Aramaic Dictionary).  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen”

The English version of this verse interprets “poneros” as “evil”, and some versions of the New Testament actually use “evil one” in their translation.  Both are correct, in a sense, but on a very summary level.  What we want to do is delve much deeper into its meaning, to find the hidden gem.  To do so, we need to look at the word’s meaning in the original language, and then team it up with the prior phrase, “lead us not into temptation”.  When we do this, we will discover its hidden meaning.

Using the Strong’s key listed above in bold text (4190), we can look up the word interpreted as “evil” or “evil one” in the Greek/Aramaic Dictionary:

4190:  poneros, pon-ay-ros; from a der. of 4192; hurtful, i.e. evil (prop. in effect or influence, and thus differing from 2556, which refers rather to essential character, as well as from 4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); fig. calamitous; also (pass) ill, i.e. diseased; but espec. (mor.) culpable, i.e. derelicit, vicious, facinorous; neut. (sing.) mischief, malice, or (plur.) guilt; masc. (sing.) the devil, or (plur.) sinners: – bad, evil, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, wicked (-ness); See also 4191.

Since it refers to 4192 and 4191, let’s look at them, also:

4191: poneroteros, pon-ay-rot-er-os; compare. of 4190; more evil: – more wicked.
4192: ponos, pon’-os; from the base of 3993; toil, i.e. (by impl.) anguish: – pain.

The definition in #4190 tells us that the word does not refer to one’s essential character, nor does it indicate a degeneracy from original virtue, but instead it implies a culpability in our character that leads us to do that which we know we shouldn’t.  And as a result, we become filled with guilt, and toil in pain and anguish.

In other words, Jesus is telling us to pray that God keep us from temptation, because the end result will be pain and anguish; we will struggle with guilt over what we did.   And more importantly, that guilt will keep us from having a relationship with God.  God wants nothing more than to be close to us, to be with us in our daily walk, to help and guide us.  But if we are filled with guilt because of something we did, we will pull away from Him, and damage our relationship.  God will not leave us, instead we will push Him away because of our guilty conscious.

Jesus’ whole purpose on this earth was to show us a better way of living, to be an example for us of love, compassion, non-judgmentalism, caring, and unconditional love.  And most of all, to remove that barrier that separated us from God. 

Before Christ died, we were separated from the “Most Holy Place” by a heavily decorated curtain in the Temple.  Only the High Priest was allowed to go beyond this curtain, to the “holy of holies” where the ark of the covenant stood, and make offerings for the sins of his people.  He was only allowed to do this on the Day of Atonement, and only with the proper precautions.

But when Christ died on the cross, the curtain was torn in two, and as a result, we were no longer separated from God.  For scripture tells us in Matthew 27:51:

“And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom, and the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”

In other words, Jesus’ death gained us direct access to God, Hebrews 4:16:

“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”

Jesus died on the cross, in propriation of our sins, and to bring us all to God.  Because of this, we can all go boldly before the throne of God and ask for help in our time of need.  All that is necessary on our part is to accept what Jesus did, acknowledge it, and ask God to forgive our sins (as we forgive others – this is a special key that we must always remember).

So the hidden gem in this verse is the interpretation of the word, “porneros”.  It doesn’t just mean, “evil” or “evil one”.  It means something much more than that.   It is the thing within us that keeps us from God.  It is the internal torment that comes from guilt when we do something we know deep down inside that we shouldn’t have done.  And Jesus doesn’t want us to feel that way.  He wants us to ask for forgiveness, accept that we have been forgiven, and then come boldly to God, and ask for help when we need it.

Isn’t that beautiful?

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Responses

  1. OH yes it is beautiful. Another one, that hits home. You know that already. Thank you again. It is so uplifting, and to feel close to God again, means more to me than words can express. I am so thankful, that in my time of need all the things I have overlooked or forgotten, God has not, and he wants me to come back to him all the way, and leave the baggage behind and be free of it. Thank you Alicia so much. Please let me know the next gem you find. It truly means so much to me.

    • Kim,

      You are most welcome. I promise to keep you up to date on any new postings.

      In love and light,

      Alicia


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