Debts, Sins, Trespasses… Oh My! (February 2014; Volume 3, Issue 2)
Have you ever noticed that there are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer printed in our hymnals?
If you worshiped with other Christian denominations, you might have noticed they say even another version.
So is it trespasses, sins, debts, or something else?
The easy answer…we do not know!
The Lord’s Prayer is introduced in both Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4, and neither is exactly the same as what we say in worship. On top of that, Jesus probably spoke in Aramaic, the prayer is written down in Greek, and we say it in English. Therefore we make our best reverent guess, which means that both versions are equally legitimate.
Some people prefer the “traditional” trespasses because it is what they grew up on. Others prefer the “contemporary” sins because it is more like how we normally talk. I personally see both sides, and this is why I like to alternate from time to time.
You might have noticed during Advent, that we used the “sins” version. We will do this again during Lent. In between, we will use the “trespasses” version. This might throw some people off, but by knowing both, you will more likely be able to fully participate wherever you worship. That being said, there is nothing to say that when I lead the “trespasses” version, you can’t pray “sins,” and vice-versa.
The Lord’s Prayer is a guideline for prayer, but Jesus did not mean for it to become just a rote prayer. If you break it down it follows a general “adoration, thanks, sorry, please” form.
The Lord’s Prayer is just one way to pray, or really a couple of many ways to pray. This is why I encourage you to become comfortable with both translations, and say which ever version you prefer…“trespasses,” in English, “sins,” in Spanish, “debts,” in ASL. No matter how you do it, what words you use, just make sure you pray to God in bad times and good, without ceasing.