Matthew 6:13
A Defense of the Doxology

by Martin A. Shue


And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

From the time most of us were kids we were taught The Lordís Prayer, reciting it over and over until at last we knew it by heart. Fortunately for us, at that time we were not encumbered by the opinions of the Ďscholarsí concerning this wonderful example of prayer that the Lord gave to us. Sadly, it has become "fashionable" among our modern day textual critics to label the Doxology of the Lordís Prayer (i.e. Matt. 6:13b) as a spurious interpolation. Because of this most inauspicious treatment of this verse it has been omitted from the Nestle/Aland and United Bible Societyís Greek Text. Naturally, since virtually all the modern versions are based on these two texts it, viz. Matt. 6:13, is omitted from the modern versions as well. A few of the modern translations read:

New International Version - And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

New American Standard Version - `And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

New Living Translation - And don't let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

New Revised Standard Version - And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

As you can easily see the modern versions abruptly end the Lordís Prayer with "evil (one)" completely omitting the Doxology. It is this phrase in particular (i.e. "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen") that we want to discuss in this article.

James White made the following comments concerning this passage of Scripture:

The "Lordís Prayer" of Matthew 6 is an excellent text for illustrating how scribal expansion took place in the context of a passage that was deeply ingrained in the Christian liturgy from the earliest times. Not only does the "long ending" in verse 13 provide a valuable insight into the habits of the scribes, but the many efforts at harmonizing Lukeís much abbreviated version in Luke 11:2-4 are of great interest as well (White, The King James Only Controversy, p. 252)
These are some interesting assertions on the part of Mr. White. The only problem is they are simply that---ASSERTIONS. Mr. White offers no real proof that what he is hypothesizing is actually what happened here in Matt. 6:13. White goes on to comment that in some of the manuscripts (MSS) that do contain the Doxology do so with slight variance. White attempts to use this as proof that it was an addition and not an omission by stating, "This kind of "variant cluster" is a sure sign of a later addition (Ibid)." While this conjecture may conveniently serve Whiteís purpose of trying to discredit the authenticity of Matt. 6:13b it is poor scholarship at best. A simple examination of the Nestle/Aland 27th edition Greek Text would show that there are an extensive amount of variant readings which are supported by modern scholarship (White included). Surely Mr. White is not advocating that we throw out all these passages because there exists a "variant cluster" is he? In passing, I would like to make some comments regarding Whiteís statement about "Lukeís much abbreviated version in Luke 11:2-4". The "scholarship only" crowd is renowned for preferring the "abbreviated" text. What White Ďfailedí to point out is that Lukeís text WAS the abbreviated text; however, it must not have been abbreviated enough for them (NIV, NASV, NRSV, et al.) because they once again took out their textual scythe and removed 20 words from Lukeís "abbreviated version" (viz. "Our...which art in Heaven...thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth...but deliver us from evil.").

In his book, The Causes of Corruption of the Traditional Text Vol. II, Dean John William Burgon sets forth in most exquisite fashion the reason the Doxology is wanting in a few of the MSS. Burgon clearly demonstrates how that Liturgical use has been the cause of this corruption. It was common in the Liturgy for the choir to recite the Lordís Prayer down to "And deliver us from evil". At that point the choir would fall silent and the priest would then end the prayer with the words, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." Due to this practice it is quite easy to see how the Doxology has been omitted from a few of the ancient MSS. As Burgon pointed out "it proves on inquiry to be the very few MSS.,--not the very many,--which have been depraved (Ibid, p.87)." Most likely the reason Mr. White is confused about this issue is because that is the way he was taught. The Ďscholarsí for the last 400 yrs. or so have been influenced greatly by an erroneous note in the Complutensian Polyglott (1514). The note reads as follows:

In the Greek copies, after And deliver us from evil, follows For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. But it is to be noted that in the Greek liturgy, after the choir has said And deliver us from evil, it is the Priest who responds as above: and those words, according to the Greeks, the priest alone may pronounce. This makes it probable that the words in question are no integral part of the LORDíS Prayer: but that certain copyists inserted them in error, supposing, from their use in the liturgy, that they formed part of the text.
So as you can see White was only parroting what he had read or either what he had been taught. Burgon established that this hypothesis was incorrect and showed that had this been true it would have no doubt resulted in the "very many" MSS. omitting the phrase while the "very few MSS." would have added it. The evidence just does not support such a hypothesis---it didnít in 1514 and it doesnít today as we shall soon see. The Dean summed it up this way, "In no conceivable way, on the other hand, could that briefer formula have resulted from the practice of the ancient Church. The thing, I repeat, is simply impossible (Burgon, The Causes of Corruption, pp.. 84-85)."

Now we will move on into the external evidence for and against Matt. 6:13b. James White gives the evidence for omitting the Doxology as, "Aleph, B, D, Z, 0170, f1, 205, l, 547, many Latin translations and numerous Fathers (White, King James Only Controversy, p. 252)." It is scarcely believable that the modern versions have omitted these precious words of our Saviour on such scanty evidence. In his book, White doesnít dare present his readers with the evidence for retaining this reading. Had he done so it would have revealed the modern versions as the frauds that they are.

What White failed to tell his readers follows. The Doxology is found in uncials K (9th century), L (8th century), W (5th century), S (Sigma) (6th century), F (Phi) (6th century), E (8th century), M (9th century, G (9th century), U (9th century), V (9th century), D (Delta) (9th century), Q (Theta) (9th century), and P (Pi) (9th century). It is also found in these minuscules (or cursives)-- 13, 28, 33, 69, 124, 174, 230, 346, 543, 565, 700, 788, 892, 1009, 1010, 1071, 1079, 1195, 1216, 1230, 1241, 1242, 1253, 1365, 1546, 1646, 2148 and 2174 (9th to 15th century). In addition to these manuscripts (MSS.) it is also found in every Lectionary except one (i.e. Lectionary 547) and four Old Latin MSS., viz. k, f, g , and q. As you can see the Greek MSS. overwhelmingly attest to the authenticity of the Doxology of the Lordís Prayer. With this type of evidence it is unthinkable that the modern versions would even consider omitting this phrase let alone actually omitting it as they have done.

Matt. 6:13b also receives some very strong attestation from ancient documents and versions. Of the versions it is validated by the Peshitta (2nd century), the Coptic (3rd century), the Sahidic (3rd century), the Gothic (4th century), the Armenian (4th century), the Georgian (5th century), the Ethiopic (6th century), the Harkleian (6th century), the Palestinian (6th century), and the Curetonian Syriac (6th century). In addition to these versions it receives support from Tatians Diatessaron (2nd century), the Apostolic Constitutions (4th century), and the Didache (Didach). Briefly we want to take a look at the Didache, also know as the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. The Didache is dated by many to just shortly after 100 AD. and contains a form of the Lordís Prayer that would certainly support the reading found in the KJB.

But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites; for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week; but do ye fast on the fourth day and the Preparation(Friday). Neither pray as the hypocrites; but as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, thus pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever. Thrice in the day thus pray. (Didache, Concerning Fasting and Prayer (The Lordís Prayer), viii)

The phrase is also quoted by numerous church Fathers without any suspicion whatsoever.

John Chrysostom writes:

He again encourages and raises our spirits, by bringing to our remembrance the King under whom we are arrayed, and signifying Him to be more powerful than all. "For Thine," saith He, "is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory (Chrysostom (4th century), Homily XIX, x)."
In addition to the mass of evidence already listed for the reading of the KJB we can add the support of the Early English Versions.

Tyndale 1534- And leade us not into temptacion: but delyver us from evell. For thyne is the kyngedome and the power, and the glorye for ever. Amen.

Geveva 1557- And lead us not into tentation, but deliuer us from euil. For thyne is the kingdome, and the power, and the glorie for euer. Amen.

Given the massive amount of evidence that clearly points to the fact that the Doxology of the Lordís Prayer is authentic it is utterly absurd that the modern versions have removed these precious words of our Saviourís. However, this verse stands a constant reminder that the modern versions cannot be trusted when it comes to Biblical preservation. They have repeatedly shown themselves to be frauds in their claims of being the Holy Bible. The Authorized Version is once again shown to be far superior to the modern versions. We close this article with a quote from John Calvin:

Moreover, there is subjoined the reason for our great boldness in asking and confidence of obtaining, (sec. 11, 36.) Although this does not exist in the Latin copies, yet as it accords so well with the whole, we cannot think of omitting it. The words are, THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER. Here is the calm and firm assurance of our faith. For were our prayers to be commended to God by our own worth, who would venture even to whisper before him? Now, however wretched we may be, however unworthy, however devoid of commendation, we shall never want a reason for prayer, nor a ground of confidence, since the kingdom, power, and glory, can never be wrested from our Father. (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Vol. III, Of Prayer 20:47)

I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
Psalms 119:162