Luke 11:4

4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial."

Luke 11:4 Meaning and Commentary

Luke 11:4

And forgive us our sins
Beza's most ancient copy reads "debts", as in (See Gill on Matthew 6:12); and which best agrees with the phrase "indebted", after mentioned:

for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us; and lead
us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
(See Gill on Matthew 6:12), (See Gill on Matthew 6:13). The doxology there used, and the word "Amen", are here omitted. Some of the petitions in this prayer are not delivered in the very same words as they are in Matthew. The three first petitions are word for word the same; for though the third petition is different in our translation, it is the same in the original. The fourth and fifth vary: in Matthew the fourth is, "give us this day our daily bread"; here in Luke, "give us day by day our daily bread." The fifth in Matthew is, "and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors"; here, "and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us". And these verbal variations, though the sense is the same, together with the omission of the doxology, and the word "Amen", show, that this prayer was not designed to be an exact form, and to be so used, but as a directory of prayer. I have, in my notes (See Gill on Matthew 6:9) &c. shown the agreement there is between the petitions in this prayer, and some that were made use of among the Jews; and have supposed that our Lord took notice of such petitions, which the good people among the Jews frequently used; and which he approved of, and singled out, and put them into the order and method in which they stand, with some alterations for the better, to be a directory to his disciples and followers. Which to suppose, I apprehend, does not at all countenance the making and using stinted forms of prayer; since the petitions used by good men among the Jews, were not used as forms of prayer, but what they were led unto by the Spirit of God from common and constant experience to make use of; just as we may observe now, that good people in different parts, who use no form of prayer, nor have ever heard one another pray, and yet make use of the same petitions, and almost, if not altogether, in the selfsame words, their wants, necessities, cases, and circumstances being the same; and these frequently returning, oblige to a repeated use of them, in the same words, or near unto them. And though forms of prayer might not be in use among the Jews in the times of Christ, yet it is easy to account for it, how Christ came to be acquainted with the petitions in general use with good men; since not only he is God omniscient, and knows all the prayers of his people, both in public and private; but, as man, must know what were used, by his attendance on public worship, and by the private communion he had with the saints and children of God. It must indeed be owned, that forms of prayer very early obtained among the Jews; and if not in Christ's time, yet in the times of his apostles. There is frequent mention F8 of the eighteen prayers in the times of Gamaliel, the master of the Apostle Paul; and of a nineteenth composed by one of his disciples F9, Samuel the little, who is thought, by some, to be Saul himself, whilst he was a scholar of his; and which is directed against the heretics, or Christians, as they were called by the Jews; and this easily accounts for, how the petitions of the ancient good men among the Jews came to be put with others into their forms of prayer, where we now find them. For that they should take these petitions from this directory of Christ's, is not reasonable to suppose, considering their implacable enmity against him. Moreover, supposing, but not granting, that these petitions which our Lord took, and put into this order, for the use and instruction of his disciples, had been used by good men as forms of prayer, it will not justify the use of forms by any authority of Christ, or as being agreeably to his will; since it is certain, that however these petitions were used by good men before, our Lord never designed they should be used as an exact, precise form of prayer by his disciples; seeing there are several variations in them as here delivered, from what they are as they stand in Matthew; whereas, had they been intended as a stinted form, they would have been expressed in the selfsame words: and moreover, to approve of here and there a petition, which for their matter are excellently good, and to approve of them all together, as a form, are two different things: to which may be added, that though there is an agreement between the petitions, as used by the Jews, and those our Lord directs to; yet there are some variations and alterations much for the better, which destroy the form of them.


F8 Misn. Beracot, c. 4. sect. 3. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 28. 2. T. Hieros. Taaniot, fol. 65. 3. Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 7. sect. 7.
F9 T. Bab. Beracot, ib. Maimon. Hilch. Tephilla, c. 2. sect. 1, 2. Gauz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 2.

Luke 11:4 In-Context

2 He said to them, "When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial."
5 And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, "Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;
6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.'

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or [us into temptation]. Other ancient authorities add [but rescue us from the evil one] (or [from evil])
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.