The Anglican version of “Lead me not into temptation” is “Save me from the time of trial.” Since when does God save us FROM the time of trial. The Bible is bursting with verses that say that trials are the name of the game. For example, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation (troubles, trials, sorrows), but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
“Save us IN the time of trial” would be better. “Trial,” however, is not the correct translation; “temptation” is the correct translation. You might say that the latter cannot be the correct translation, because it says in James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.”
What is going on? I’m a bit stumped. Charles Spurgeon’s sermon on “Lead us not into temptation” – I listened to it twice – did not help. John Calvin sheds more light:
“And lead us not into temptation Matthew 6:13 – Some people have split this petition into two. This is wrong: for the nature of the subject makes it manifest, that it is one and the same petition. The connection of the words also shows it: for the word but, which is placed between, connects the two clauses together, as Augustine judiciously explains. The sentence ought to be resolved thus, That we may not be led into temptation, deliver us from evil The meaning is: “We are conscious Of our own weakness, and desire to enjoy the protection of God, that we may remain impregnable against all the assaults of Satan.” We showed from the former petition, that no man can be reckoned a Christian, who does not acknowledge himself to be a sinner; and in the same manner, we conclude from this petition, that we have no strength for living a holy life, except so far as we obtain it from God. Whoever implores the assistance of God to overcome temptations, acknowledges that, unless God deliver him, he will be constantly falling that he may not reel at every blow.
The word temptation is often used generally for any kind of trial. In this sense God is said to have tempted Abraham, (Genesis 22:1) when he tried his faith. We are tempted both by adversity and by prosperity: because each of them is an occasion of bringing to light feelings which were formerly concealed. But here it denotes inward temptation, which may be fitly called the scourge of the devil, for exciting our lust. It would be foolish to ask, that God would keep us free from every thing which makes trial of our faith. All wicked emotions, which excite us to sin, are included under the name of temptation Though it is not impossible that we may feel such pricks in our minds, (for, during the whole course of our life, we have a constant warfare with the flesh) yet we ask that the Lord would not cause us to be thrown down, or suffer us to be overwhelmed, by temptations.
In order to express this truth more clearly, that we are liable to constant stumbling and ruinous falls, if God does not uphold us with his hand, Christ used this form of expression, (μὴ εἰσενέγκὟς,) Lead us not into temptation: or, as some render it, Bring us not into temptation It is certainly true, that “every man is tempted,” as the Apostle James says, (1:14 ) “by his own lust:” yet, as God not only gives us up to the will of Satan, to kindle the flame of lust, but employs him as the agent of his wrath, when he chooses to drive men headlong to destruction, he may be also said, in a way peculiar to himself, to lead them into temptation In the same sense, “an evil spirit from the Lord” is said to have “seized or troubled Saul,” (1 Samuel 16:14 🙂 and there are many passages of Scripture to the same purpose. And yet we will not therefore say, that God is the author of evil: because, by giving men over to a reprobate mind,” (Romans 1:28) he does not exercise a confused tyranny, but executes his just, though secret judgments, though the reason of them may be unknown to us.” (End of Calvin).
John Calvin – Text