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However, Matthew concludes the Lord's Prayer with a proverb that emphasizes forgiveness (Matt 6:14-15). Here the offense to be forgiven is called a “trespass.” Which of these options do you use? Why do you prefer it? Do you think we all should settle on one option or leave room for individuals to say whichever version is most familiar to them. Why?

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

In the Old Testament, “debt” is a common metaphor for sin. If sin is a debt to God (a view evidenced by the sacrificial system), then forgiveness of sin is like the action of releasing a debtor. In ancient Israel, there was a system in place for the periodic releasing of debtors from their financial obligations. God's willingness to release sin was tied theologically to the human release of financial debts. Read: Deuteronomy 15:1-2. Notice that there is a rhythm of releasing others from their debts that is associated with the practice of Sabbath keeping. While this system might seem impractical to us today, what do you think it teaches us about releasing others from their metaphorical debts (i.e., sins)?

Consider a time in which you extended forgiveness to someone. Was it difficult to do so? How did you feel afterwards? How did this impact the relationship?

In your opinion, is forgiveness the same thing as getting over something? If not, which do you think has to come first? "

INTRODUCTION Prayer is a medium through which we present our requests and petitions before God. The Lord's Prayer is structured with two sets of requests: three "you" petitions (covered in week 3) followed by three "we" petitions. The first "we" petition offers a request for daily bread. For those facing poverty, the question of whether there will be daily bread is a real one. But this request takes on a different meaning for those Christians who are financially stable. What does it mean to pray for daily better for those who never worry about their stomachs being empty? The second petition is a request for forgiveness. The promise of God’s forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian message. But it is also an ethical imperative for how we are to treat one another. Forgiven people should be forgiving people. In this study, we will take deeper look at the first two "we" petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. We will not only explore what these petitions meant in their ancient context but we will also reflect on how they continue to bear on our relationship with God and one another in today’s world.


OUR DAILY BREAD When you pray for “daily bread” what do you imagine yourself asking for? What counts as daily bread in your life?

Interpreters have noted that the meaning of this petition is not as clear and simple as it often seems. The first challenge entails thinking about what sort of "bread" Jesus might be referring to. Read: Mark 6:34-42, John 6:30-35, Exodus 16:2-5. What type of “bread” is referred to in each of these passages? Which of these are meant to be understood as digestible food and which are meant to be understood more symbolically?

A second difficulty is understanding the Greek word that often gets translated as “daily.” When used in combination with bread, this word can have a number of different meanings: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Immediate: "Give us our bread for today" Ongoing: "Give us our bread each day" Future: "Give us our bread for tomorrow" Sacramental: "Give us the bread of spiritual substance" – i.e., the Eucharist Christological: "Give us the bread necessary for sustaining our faith – i.e., the Word of God Discuss: How does each of the above understandings shift the meaning of this petition? Which of these is closer to your own understanding of what “daily bread” means in your life?

!!!! !!

In the context of first century Judea, this petition mostly likely referred to ingestible ! food of which bread was a key element. When food sources are unstable and famine is a real threat, the petition for bread shows an utter dependence on God for bodily needs. For many modern Americans, it is difficult to muster the same sense of utter dependency on God when it comes to what we will eat in any given day. Discuss: For those with full pantries and full stomachs, how does this line of the prayer make us more aware of the needs of others? What are some areas in your life where you need to be reminded about your daily dependency on God?

FORGIVE

US OUR

...

The second "we" petition of the Lord's Prayer is a request for forgiveness. The importance of repentance and forgiveness is a key teaching of Jesus. The forgiveness described in the Lord's Prayer has two parts: our forgiveness of others and God's forgiveness of us. Both imply one another. Read: Luke 6:32-37, Matthew 18:21-22. What is the connection between our actions of mercy to others and God's actions of mercy to us? How is this connection comforting? Challenging?

While the wording of the Lord's Prayer is fairly standard across congregations, one word continues to be a point of contention. What are we to forgive? Is it debts? Sins? Or trespasses? All three options have support in the Bible. Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer uses the Greek word (opheilēmata)"that most closely corresponds to the English “debts” and “debtors.” Luke’s version uses the Greek for sin (hamartia) first ("forgive us for us our sins") but then follows Matthew in the second half of the verse ("as we forgive those indebted to us"). The Greek word for trespass (paraptōmata) is not found in either version of the Lord’s Prayer.


OUR DAILY BREAD When you pray for “daily bread” what do you imagine yourself asking for? What counts as daily bread in your life?

Interpreters have noted that the meaning of this petition is not as clear and simple as it often seems. The first challenge entails thinking about what sort of "bread" Jesus might be referring to. Read: Mark 6:34-42, John 6:30-35, Exodus 16:2-5. What type of “bread” is referred to in each of these passages? Which of these are meant to be understood as digestible food and which are meant to be understood more symbolically?

A second difficulty is understanding the Greek word that often gets translated as “daily.” When used in combination with bread, this word can have a number of different meanings: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Immediate: "Give us our bread for today" Ongoing: "Give us our bread each day" Future: "Give us our bread for tomorrow" Sacramental: "Give us the bread of spiritual substance" – i.e., the Eucharist Christological: "Give us the bread necessary for sustaining our faith – i.e., the Word of God Discuss: How does each of the above understandings shift the meaning of this petition? Which of these is closer to your own understanding of what “daily bread” means in your life?

!!!! !!

In the context of first century Judea, this petition mostly likely referred to ingestible ! food of which bread was a key element. When food sources are unstable and famine is a real threat, the petition for bread shows an utter dependence on God for bodily needs. For many modern Americans, it is difficult to muster the same sense of utter dependency on God when it comes to what we will eat in any given day. Discuss: For those with full pantries and full stomachs, how does this line of the prayer make us more aware of the needs of others? What are some areas in your life where you need to be reminded about your daily dependency on God?

FORGIVE

US OUR

...

The second "we" petition of the Lord's Prayer is a request for forgiveness. The importance of repentance and forgiveness is a key teaching of Jesus. The forgiveness described in the Lord's Prayer has two parts: our forgiveness of others and God's forgiveness of us. Both imply one another. Read: Luke 6:32-37, Matthew 18:21-22. What is the connection between our actions of mercy to others and God's actions of mercy to us? How is this connection comforting? Challenging?

While the wording of the Lord's Prayer is fairly standard across congregations, one word continues to be a point of contention. What are we to forgive? Is it debts? Sins? Or trespasses? All three options have support in the Bible. Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer uses the Greek word (opheilēmata)"that most closely corresponds to the English “debts” and “debtors.” Luke’s version uses the Greek for sin (hamartia) first ("forgive us for us our sins") but then follows Matthew in the second half of the verse ("as we forgive those indebted to us"). The Greek word for trespass (paraptōmata) is not found in either version of the Lord’s Prayer.


However, Matthew concludes the Lord's Prayer with a proverb that emphasizes forgiveness (Matt 6:14-15). Here the offense to be forgiven is called a “trespass.” Which of these options do you use? Why do you prefer it? Do you think we all should settle on one option or leave room for individuals to say whichever version is most familiar to them. Why?

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

In the Old Testament, “debt” is a common metaphor for sin. If sin is a debt to God (a view evidenced by the sacrificial system), then forgiveness of sin is like the action of releasing a debtor. In ancient Israel, there was a system in place for the periodic releasing of debtors from their financial obligations. God's willingness to release sin was tied theologically to the human release of financial debts. Read: Deuteronomy 15:1-2. Notice that there is a rhythm of releasing others from their debts that is associated with the practice of Sabbath keeping. While this system might seem impractical to us today, what do you think it teaches us about releasing others from their metaphorical debts (i.e., sins)?

Consider a time in which you extended forgiveness to someone. Was it difficult to do so? How did you feel afterwards? How did this impact the relationship?

In your opinion, is forgiveness the same thing as getting over something? If not, which do you think has to come first? "

INTRODUCTION Prayer is a medium through which we present our requests and petitions before God. The Lord's Prayer is structured with two sets of requests: three "you" petitions (covered in week 3) followed by three "we" petitions. The first "we" petition offers a request for daily bread. For those facing poverty, the question of whether there will be daily bread is a real one. But this request takes on a different meaning for those Christians who are financially stable. What does it mean to pray for daily better for those who never worry about their stomachs being empty? The second petition is a request for forgiveness. The promise of God’s forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian message. But it is also an ethical imperative for how we are to treat one another. Forgiven people should be forgiving people. In this study, we will take deeper look at the first two "we" petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. We will not only explore what these petitions meant in their ancient context but we will also reflect on how they continue to bear on our relationship with God and one another in today’s world.

Profile for First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta

Living the Lord's Prayer  

Week 4

Living the Lord's Prayer  

Week 4