Catholic Lord’s Prayer vs Protestant Lord’s Prayer: What’s the Difference?


The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most well-known and much-loved passages in the New Testament. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke record the prayer, which believers have recited in their churches and homes for over 2,000 years. But why do Catholics have one version of the prayer and Protestants have another?

The ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of Matthew disagree on how the Lord’s Prayer ends. Catholic Bibles do not include the longer ending of the prayer. Some Protestant Bibles include the longer ending, but others do not. Catholic scholars, and most Protestant scholars, agree that the longer ending is not original.

What exactly is the longer ending? Why do some Protestant churches recite the longer ending if most scholars believe it was added later? Which English Bible translations include the longer ending? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.

The Lord's Prayer
What phrase of the Lord’s Prayer do Catholics not say? See below

Catholic and Protestant Lord’s Prayer: Comparison

The disputed line of the Lord’s Prayer can be seen on the table below. The debate, however, is not simply between Catholics and Protestants. Some Protestants advocate praying the disputed line, but others do not. Nevertheless, the only major Bible translations that include the line are the King James Version and the New King James Version, which are Protestant publications.

Where is the Lord’s Prayer recorded? The Lord’s Prayer is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. Luke’s version of the prayer is shorter than Matthew’s. Some scholars believe Luke shortened the prayer. Others believe that Jesus taught the shorter version early in his ministry and the longer version later in his ministry. [1] The disputed line is only associated with Matthew’s Gospel. The addition is included at the end of Matthew 6:13.

CatholicProtestant
Matthew 6:9-13: New American BibleMatthew 6:9-13: King James Version
6:9Our Father in heavenOur Father which art in heaven
6:10hallowed be your nameHallowed be thy name
your kingdom comeThy kingdom come
your will be doneThy will be done
on earth as in heavenin earth, as it is in heaven
6:11Give us today our daily breadGive us this day our daily bread
6:12and forgive us our debtsAnd forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtorsas we forgive our debtors
6:13aand do not subject us to the final testAnd lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from the evil onebut deliver us from evil
6:13bFor thine is the kingdom
and the power
and the glory
forever
Amen
Catholic Protestant prayer
What Bible translations have the phrase? See below

For Thine Is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory Forever: How Did It Get In Some Bibles?

If there are reasons to question the authenticity of the disputed phrase, why is it included in some Bible translations and how did it become a part of the prayer in some Protestant churches?

What is the historical evidence in favor of the disputed line? There are ancient manuscripts of Matthew that include the line “for thine is the kingdom and the power and glory forever. Amen.” The most reliable ancient manuscripts, which are usually distinguished by characteristics such as their early age, do not include the line.

Is the content of the prayer unbiblical? The disputed line reflects biblical truth and finds theological agreement with the rest of Scripture. Most Bible scholars believe the line is an allusion to 1 Chronicles 29:11-13,

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.

Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. (KJV)

How do Bible scholars think the phrase got included in some manuscripts? In the first century, Jews often included doxologies at the conclusion of prayers. A doxology in this context refers to praise spoken to God. Many scholars believe that the disputed line was a liturgical doxology that became included in one manuscript and then eventually many more.

Was the line disputed in the early church? Yes. Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin, did not fully trust the manuscripts that included the line, which is why the Vulgate (i.e. the Latin translation of the Bible does not include it. Following Jerome’s decision, Catholic translations like the Douay-Rheims, the Confraternity Edition, and the New American do not include the phrase.

The Lord’s Prayer in Protestant Bibles and Churches

How did the phrase become a tradition in some Protestant churches? The most likely answer to this question is that the phrase became influential because of its inclusion in the King James Version of the Bible, which Protestants favored for centuries.

Popular Protestant Bible translations that appeared in later centuries, like the NIV, ESV, and NLT, used different manuscripts than the KJV did to translate the Bible and as a result, do not include the disputed phrase. The table below reveals what popular translations include the line.

TranslationIs the disputed line included?
New International Version (NIV)no
New Living Translation (NLT)no
English Standard Version (ESV)no
King James Version (KJV)yes
New King James Version (NKJV)yes
New American Standard Bible (NASB)no
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)no
Contemporary English Version (CEV)no
Good News Translation (GNT)no
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)no

Do Protestant Bibles besides the KJV and NKJV include the phrase at all? Many of the translations on the table above include the phrase in a footnote or endnote, but not in the main body of the text. Protestant Bibles often include a note when ancient manuscripts do not agree. They also commonly offer an explanation when their translation choice differs from the KJV as that is the classic Bible translation among Protestants.

Do some Protestants defend the phrase? Some Protestants devoted to the KJV defend the Greek manuscripts the translation uses. There are also Protestant Bible scholars that argue that the phrase may be original, but it’s difficult to know for sure. For example, renown scholar Leon Morris writes,

[The disputed phrase] is lacking in the oldest MSS (in Luke as in Matthew), though it has considerable early attestation.

But it may be argued that it is unllikely that a first-century Jewish prayer should conclude without a doxology and that its absence in many MSS may be because it was simpply assumed, while in others it was explicitly included.

On the whole it seems probable that it was a liturgical addition made early in the life of the church, but we should not regard this as certain. The case for the doxology is stronger than many students assume.” [3]

What is an example of a note that addressed the disputed phrase? One of the most popular Study Bibles among Protestants, the NIV Study Bible, includes a footnote that reads, “Some late manuscripts /for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” No additional explanation is offered.

Do Bible translations that include the phrase include a note about it? Some do. The NKJV note states, “NU-Text omits For Yours through Amen.” The translators’ notes state, “These variations from the traditional text generally represent the Alexandrian or Egyptian type of text… they are found in the Critical Text published in the twenty-seventh edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (N) and in the United Bibles Societies’ fourth edition (U), hence the acronym, ‘NU-Text.'”

References:
[1] Source
[2] Source
[3] The Gospel of Matthew by Leon Morris. Pillar New Testament Commentary. 1993. P. 149. Eerdmans Publishing.
[4] Source

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