Matt. 6:3//Lk. 11:3 Another Lord's Prayer Question!

From: Jeffrey Gibson (
Date: Fri Feb 13 1998 - 20:02:15 EST


Recently John Kloppenborg, in commenting upon my thesis on the meaning of
Matt. 6:13//Lk. 11:4 which I propounded at length here on B-Greek last
July or so, has asked me to provide evidence in support of my
understanding of the petition *from within the immediate context of the
Lord's Prayer itself* and not from other parts of Q or from a study of the
use and meaning of PEIRASMOS, etc.. Pursuant to that I would like to ask
the list a question about the meaning of Matt. 6:11//Lk. 11:3

But before I get to the question itself, as well as why I am asking it,
let me first set out the text and then the assumptions from which I am
working as I ask it.


MAT 6:11

LUK 11:3


1. Behind the prayer stands authentic dominical tradition.

2. The variants between both the substance and the wording of the Matthean
and Lukan versions of the LP are not to be explained by an appeal to the
supposition that Jesus gave two versions of the prayer on two or more
occasions, with Matthew reproducing one version, and Luke another. Rather,
behind each of the canonical versions stands a common tradition which each
evangelist has taken up and redacted.

3. Matthew's version of the "bread" petition (TON ARTON hHMWN TON
EPIOUSION DOS hHMIN SHMERON, Matt. 6:11), with its 3rd person aorist
imperative best represents the original Greek form of that petition.

4. The variation in Lk 11:3 from the original wording of the "bread
petition" (a present imperative, DOUS, "keep on giving", "bread requested
to be given not "now/today" but day by day) is due to Lukan redaction of
the petition which appears in Matt. 6:11. That is to say, Luke knew the
petition in its original (Matthean) form, and has consciously redacted it.

OK. So here's the question. The Lukan form of the petition suggests that
the situation of the petitioners is *not* one of hunger, one where they
lack sustenance. It is presupposed that they *have* bread, they have been
supplied with it. What they are asking for is that what they *have been*
supplied with (this strange EPIOUSIOS bread) continue to be supplied. But
does the Matthean version of the petition suggest or imply this? More
importantly, is there anything in the grammar or the syntax of Matt. 6:11
which would rule this view out of court?

Why am I asking this? Well, those of you who followed my postings on Matt.
6:13/Lk. 11:4 or who requested and received my printed and expanded work
up of these posting (which, by the way, apparently is slated to be given
as a paper in the Q section of the 1998 SBL Annual meeting!), know that I
made the claim that the background of the LP's "temptation" clause is the
story of Israel putting God to the test as this is recounted at Deut. 6-8
and elsewhere in the OT. Now I suspect that this interpretative context
also stands behind Matt. 6:11/Lk. 11:3 as well. For what I suspect is
actually being asked in the bread petition - at least the Lukan version of
it - is a request to God for help *to be content* with the bread that he
gives and to avoid the kind of grumbling that Israel engaged in when they
began to regard the food that God provided them as not sufficient for
their needs.

And *if* this is the case in Matt. 6:11 as well as in Lk. 11:3 (and I
think it *is* the case in Matt., for why would Luke then read it this way
unless the original upon which Lk. 11:3 said this?), then there would
indeed seem to be evidence from within the Lord's Prayer, and not just
from the usage of PEIRASMOS and other considerations, that the PEIRASMOS
spoken of in Matt. 6:13//Lk. 11:4 is believers putting God to the test.

So comments, criticisms, even brickbats, please.

Yours (with apologies to Crosstalk subscribers for cross posting),

Jeffrey Gibson

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