A Study of the Lord's Prayer
Session 4: No Trespassing!
Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
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- What is your pet peeve?
- Have you ever been stopped for speeding?
- What is your opinion on the death penalty? (What did you think of the movie Dead Man
For Your Information:
- "Trespasses," "debts," "transgressions," "sins":
where do all these English words come from that we use in various renderings of the
Lords Prayer:? The following table lays out the relevant texts. Note that
"debt" and "sin" are probably translating the same underlying Aramaic
And forgive us our debts (opheil-), as we also
forgave (or have forgiven) our debtors (opheil-).
And forgive us our sins (hamartia), for we ourselves
are forgiving all who are in debt (opheil-) to us.
For if you forgive others their transgressions (paraptõma),
your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither
will your Father forgive your transgressions (paraptõma).
Whenever you stand praying, keep on forgiving, if you have
anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your
- debt (opheil-): that which is owed, usually in a financial sense; an obligation;
also with a moral or ethical sense as a way to refer to sins
- transgress (paraptõma): literally, a "falling to the side"; to
transgress the will and law of God by some false step or failure; perhaps carries the
connotation of an unpremeditated act
- sin (hamart-): to act contrary to the will and law of God; to engage in
- trespass (parabain-): to act contrary to established custom or law, with the
implication of intent; to disobey, to break the law (This word is not used in the
Lords Prayer; note its use in Matthew 15.2-3)
- Based on these definitions, what distinctions would you make about the various ways we
sin, transgress, trespass, or become indebted?
- Is there any significance to the use of different terms used in Matthew 6.12 and
- Compare Matthew 6.12 and Luke 11.4 and carefully note the tenses of the verbs. Is the
difference important? What is significant about the difference between Matthews
"as" and Lukes "for"?
- Note that only Matthew 6.15 explicitly states that if you do not forgive, you will not
be forgiven. Does our behavior constrict Gods behavior?
- How does one go about forgiving someone? Read Matthew 18.15-18 and Galatians 6.1.
- How often are we to forgive people who sin against us? Read Matthew 15.21-22.
- Why should we keep on forgiving? Read Matthew 15.23-35.
- Read Luke 17.3-4. Did the disciples think it was easy to keep on forgiving? Read verse
- Carefully read Matthew 5.23-24. What are the conditions for coming into the presence of
God with an offering?
- Read Luther's explanations to the 5th Petition of the Lord's
If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God who is
faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1.8-9
For Your Consideration:
- How can you be sure that you are forgiven?
- There is a saying, "Forgive and forget." Is it easier to forgive or to forget
a wrong done to you? Is the saying true? Should we instead "Forgive and
- There are some evils done in this world which are so terrible that it seems almost
impossible to forgive them. (the Holocaust, rape, murders, etc.) How do you deal with such
- How would you classify sins? Are some worse than others? In what ways do you sin against
God? Against someone else? Against yourself?
- Which is sweeter: revenge or forgiveness?
- If someone sins against you, which is more harmful to you: to bear the sin or to bear a
- An example: if someone as a child was sexually abused by a relative, what would it mean
for that person to forgive the abuser? What sort of relationship should be established?
- Is it right to seek the death penalty? This issue is a complicated one involving many
passages from Scripture, but what guidance does the Lords Prayer provide?
- Which is more true?
- Our capacity to forgive depends on Gods forgiveness toward us.
- Gods capacity to forgive us depends on our forgiving others.
- Keep in mind the important distinction between sin (as a power or force in
our lives) and sins (the specific wrong things we do because of the power of
sin). In the Lords Prayer, are we asking for forgiveness of sin or sins?
- The answer to the previous question should help you answer this one. Is the Lords
Prayer a prayer for an unbeliever seeking to be forgiven and saved or is it the prayer for
a believer seeking to grow in a relationship with God?
- John the Baptist preached "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of
sins." (Mark 1.4) Jesus forgave sins during his ministry. (Mark 2.1-12) If such
forgiveness was available before his death, why did Jesus have to die? (Passages like
Romans 5.15-21 and Hebrews 9-10 may help.)
The sins of some people are
conspicuous and precede them to judgment, while the sins of others follow them there.
1 Timothy 5.24
- Truthfully examine your life. Against whom have you sinned? Repent to them and seek
- Truthfully examine your life. Who has sinned against you? Forgive them and seek to be
- Pray the Lords Prayer when you first awake, sometime during the day, and just
before you go to sleep.
- Parents: teach the Lords Prayer to your children. Godparents: remember that you
promised to teach the Lords Prayer to your godchild when s/he was baptized.