The Lord’s Prayer
By: Martin A. Shue
It is my goal in this short treatise to defend the words, “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” These wonderful words of our Saviour have been omitted by many Greek texts and therefore, are wanting in nearly every modern version.
Before I begin my defense of these words I would like to lay before my reader what some modern-day textual scholars have to say about this verse. I will begin by quoting noted textual critic Bruce Metzger. Metzger states, “After sou the great majority of witnesses interpolate genethetw to thelema sou, ws en ouranw kai epi tes ges from Mt. 6.10. If the Lukan text had originally contained these words, no good reason can be suggested that accounts for their absence from such varied witnesses as p75 B L f1 vg syr(c,s) arm al.” (Metzger, A Textual Commentary, p. 131-132). One must seriously question Metzger’s use of the words “varied witnesses”. It can hardly be argued that p75 B L f1 constitute “varied witnesses”. P75 B and L are known to agree with one another and are from the same general location, thus, it would seem rather odd to refer to them as “varied witnesses”. It must also be pointed out that Metzger admits that “the great majority of witnesses” have the phrase, “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.”
Next, I want to quote what Kurt Aland had to say regarding this passage of scripture. Aland comments, “The essential information is found in the apparatus of Nestle-Aland26, and only a selection in GNT3 (p75 and B should be noticed as the only manuscripts to preserve the original text in all its details; even N and the other great uncials succumb here and there to the temptation to add something from Matthew, although interestingly enough none is tempted to add the doxology from Matt. 6:13 in the Lucan text).” (Aland, The Text of the NT, p. 309). Here we clearly see the adulation these scholars have for Vaticanus. Aland believes that it (B) and p75 are the only mss. out of the nearly 5,400 that “preserve the original text”. What is so ironic is that Aleph betrays B here and contains the phrase “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” When this happens Aland et al. completely dismiss Aleph. But had Aleph agreed with the omission there can be little doubt that Aland would’ve been hailing it as “the original text”. In Aleph we have a Greek witness that is just as ancient as B and older than L.
I would like to comment a little on these two quotes before moving on with my defense. Many modern version supporters will no doubt read the words of Metzger and Aland and walk away with their minds settled. If I were to make such naked assertions they would demand absolute proof of my statements or they would gladly dismiss my comments as mere hearsay. In particular I want to point out Metzger’s theory that the words were “interpolate(d)…from Matt. 6:10”. This could be said about any number of passages where the gospels record the same events. Metzger offers absolutely no proof to substantiate his claim. Again we ask if it would be easier for 3 mss. to omit (whether by mere accident or by design) the phrase or for it to be “interpolated” into 99.9999% of the manuscripts? Astounding it would be for mss. from all parts of Christendom to arbitrarily (as Metzger purports) decide to add these words. It is high time that we demand some actual evidence before we will believe such naked assertions.
Metzger has already informed us that “the great majority of witnesses” read as does our King James Bible. This is a staggering amount of manuscript support. How 99.9999% of the evidence can be dismissed in this fashion boggles the mind. How Metzger can overlook such widespread attestation as this and call 3 mss. “varied witnesses” will surely astound the intelligent reader. The phrase doesn’t just receive overwhelming Greek support. It is also confirmed by the Old Latin (b c e f i l q) as well as the Sixtine Vulgate version. More notable attestation comes from the Peshitta (150 AD) and the Syriac version of Thomas Harkel (Harklean Version - 616 AD). The words are also found in the ancient Bohairic Translation and nearly all the Coptic. The Sahidic reads, “Thy will be done.” (omitting only ‘as in heaven, so in earth’), which brings it more in agreement with our Traditional Text than the Critical Text. Now, if Metzger is inclined to use “varied witnesses”, this truly constitutes “varied witnesses”!
In his remarks above, Kurt Aland refers his readers to the “essential information” that is found in the Nestle-Aland 26th edition. I happen to have the 27th edition so I will be making use of it. The only real notable difference from the citation set forth by Metzger (see quote above) is the addition of Marcion and Origen as witnesses for the omission. Enough has been written about Origen and his proclivity for altering nearly every mss. that came into his possession. I will pass over Origen at this time but I did want to comment about N/A’s choice of citing Marcion as a witness FOR their text. This should both astound and enlighten the Bible student. Marcion was a heretic of the first order and was routinely condemned by many of the Early Church Writers as such. Marcion was known for his methods of mutilating the original texts. It would be little wonder that this phrase (and many others) would be found wanting in Marcion’s copy of the Gospel of Luke. Irenaeus especially notes that Marcion was guilty of mutilating this gospel.
“Besides this, he mutilates the Gospel which is according to Luke, removing all that is written respecting the generation of the Lord, and setting aside a great deal of the teaching of the Lord, in which the Lord is recorded as most clearly confessing that the Maker of this universe is His Father. He likewise persuaded his disciples that he himself was more worthy of credit than are those apostles who have handed down the Gospel to us, furnishing them not with the Gospel, but merely a fragment of it. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.27)”
Irenaeus comments in another place,
“Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the Scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all; and, curtailing the Gospel according to Luke and the Epistles of Paul, they assert that these are alone authentic, which they have themselves thus shortened. (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.12)”
Tertullian verifies what Irenaeus has stated,
“Now, of the authors whom we possess, Marcion seems to have singled out Luke for his mutilating process. (Tertullian, Five Books Against Marcion, 4.2)”
Again Tertullian writes,
“…it clearly follows that Luke’s Gospel also has come down to us in like integrity until the sacrilegious treatment of Marcion. In short, when Marcion laid hands on it, it then became diverse and hostile to the Gospels of the apostles. (Tertullian, Five Books Against Marcion, 4.5)”
Considering these facts it is little wonder Marcion’s copy of Luke omitted the words “Thy will be done,
as in heaven, so in earth.” Since Vaticanus has followed a copy similar to Marcion’s it will also be no surprise to learn that it has
omitted the following words from the Lord’s Prayer as found in Luke’s gospel –
“Our...which art in Heaven...thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth...but
deliver us from evil.” What IS a surprise is that nearly 1,800 years later this
heretic’s mutilation is being foisted upon the
If you want the words of God and not the sacrilegious mutilations of the heretic Marcion stick with your King James Bible.