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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

Larger Than Sin. I don’t disagree with the aforementioned translations inasmuch as they also express a facet of truth, but I maintain that they are still inadequate to express the richer message of the prayer. I reiterate that in the historical context of Jesus, the word ‘debt’ or ‘indebted’ had a spirit, force and meaning which may not be fully captured and expressed by the word ‘sin’. Accordingly, Luke may have wanted to express a message which was not exclusive about guilt when he juxtaposed the words ‘sin’ and ‘indebted’ in the ‘Our Father.’ We’ll explore more on this later. The point now is that in Lk 11:4 we have to be open to, and be at home with a message which is larger than sin.

Moreover, in our contemporary setting in which the word ‘sin’ is usually or popularly associated with small failures such as forgetting to say prayers like the angelus while big wrongdoings like graft, corruption and ecological destruction are not consistently and significantly dealt with, or sin is mainly understood as a stain of the individual soul which must be wiped out before going to heaven, important and concrete Biblical concerns like historical (socio-politico-economic) realities are merely relegated to the margins. These ignored matters, ironically, are vital and inevitable issues of salvation especially for people in the Third World who find themselves in seemingly hopeless situations of indebtedness, oppression, injustice and poverty. I insist then on the recovery of the word ‘debt’ or ‘indebted’ in the ‘Our Father’ because it may express a message that can make us be sharply conscious about historical realities as contrasted to soul issues, as well as social spirituality in contrast to private piety. With these in mind, it is now high time to discuss more thoroughly on the historical dynamics of Jesus’ time. Doing so, we hope to understand better the significance of the concept of ‘debt’ and ‘indebtedness’ in the ‘Our Father.’


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