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Article Index
The ‘Our Father’ of My Childhood
The Contexts of the Story
The Historical Context of the Our Father
My Historical Context
Blending Contexts in an On-going History
Companions on the Way
The Word ‘Debt/Indebted’ in the Our Father
Main Focus on Luke 11:4
Usual Interpretation of ‘Sin’ and ‘Debt’
Larger Than Sin
Indebtedness in Jesus’ Historical Setting
Where has the Jubilee Year Gone?
Rabbi Hillel’s Prosbul
The Significance of the Word ‘Debt’
The Jubilee Year in the Lk 4:16-30
More Than Sin-Orientation: The Kingdom of God
Breaking Fixed or Petrified Perspectives
Re-reading Lk 11:4 Through Jesus’ Eyes
Re-reading Lk 11:4 Through the Eyes of an Awakened, Poor Jew
Re-reading Lk 11:4 in the Larger Context of Luke’s Gospel
Lk 18: 18-27: a Commentary on Luke’s ‘Our Father’.
Social Justice in the Larger Context of Luke-Acts
Re-reading Lk 11:4 in the Context of Acts 2 and 4
Re-reading Luke 11:4 in My Context
The Need for an Alternative Spirituality
Before We Part Ways: Time to Recharge and Refresh
As We Part
All Pages

Usual Interpretation of ‘Sin’ and ‘Debt’. Significant in our alternative reading of Lk 11:4 are some clarifications about the usual understanding associated with the words ‘sin/sinner’ and ‘debt/debtor.’ The words ‘debt’ and ‘debtor’ were used as metaphor for ‘sin’ and ‘sinner’ in the Palestinian-Aramaic milieu during the time of Jesus and the early church. The same might be true about Luke’s usage of the Greek word ????????? (opheilonti = indebted) in the ‘Our Father.’ Further, the Dead Sea or Qumran scrolls attest that the combined words ‘sin and debt’ mean ‘guilt.’ Based on these, we may say that, after all, the revision of the Our Father of my childhood should not be a major issue. It may not conform to Luke’s or Matthew’s literal wording, but is nonetheless faithful to the spirit behind the words. No wonder, many translators are unanimous in making the point more fixed and precise by translating the metaphor ‘debt’ into ‘sin’, and accordingly the metaphor ‘debtor’ into ‘sinner.’ Consider these translations of Luke 11:4, for example:

NLV (New Living Message)

And forgive us our sins—

just as we forgive those who have sinned against us.

ISV (International Standard Version)

…and forgive us our sins,

as we forgive everyone who sins against us.

NIV (New International Version)

Forgive us our sins,

for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.


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