Matthew 6:13, For Thine is the Kingdom

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.

//Today’s verse concludes the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in the book of Matthew. But this final stanza, beginning with For thine is the kingdom, isn’t original to the prayer. You won’t find it in Luke’s rendition, and you won’t find it in our earliest copies of Matthew. It was added sometime later.

Why did it get added? I can offer an opinion, but it’s only an opinion.

First, it must be recognized that this is an eschatological prayer. That is, it anticipates the arrival of God’s kingdom on earth; presumably with the return of Jesus. So, likewise, the final pre-edited stanza: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Many scholars recognize this as a plea for rescue from the trying times that must precede the Lord’s arrival. Readers of Paul’s letters and the book of Revelation will know what I mean: Jews and Christians both anticipated a period of suffering, sometimes called the Woes of the Messiah, before the inauguration of God’s kingdom, God’s era of righteous rule on the earth.

But the prayer ends rather abruptly, and on a dark note. Evil. Something like, Please, God, guide us safely through that awful time, so that we might participate in the coming age of plenty … when debts will all be forgiven, and there will be bread to eat every day, and your righteous rule will extend your kingdom over the entire earth.

Then comes the new addition to the prayer, speaking of power and glory forever. Gently redirecting us away from our fears and dreams of the future, with one very important word: is. While all of the rest of the prayer is futuristic, looking ahead to a better time, this little word “is” suddenly invites participation in the glorious kingdom of God now. Perhaps it was added by someone who recognized the silliness of living entirely in anticipation of a future day, encouraging us instead to grasp what is ours now through the goodness of God. It is a shift in understanding of what the Kingdom of God is … from a future arrival of a Messiah to a living, worldwide Christian movement, already under the reign of Jesus.


  1. You might be interested in the Wikipedia commentary:

    The doxology of the prayer is not contained in Luke’s version, nor is it present in the earliest manuscripts of Matthew, representative of the Alexandrian text, but is present in the manuscripts representative of the Byzantine text.[33] It is thus absent in the oldest and best manuscripts of Matthew,[34] and most scholars do not consider it part of the original text of Matthew.[35][36] Modern translations generally omit it.[37]

    The first known use of the doxology, in a less lengthy form (“for yours is the power and the glory forever”),[38] as a conclusion for the Lord’s Prayer (in a version slightly different from that of Matthew) is in the Didache, 8:2. It has similarities with 1 Chronicles 29:11 – “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all.” In Orthodox Christianity and Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Churches, a similar doxology is sung within the context of the Divine Liturgy. Following the last line of the prayer, the priest sings “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages”. Latin Rite Roman Catholics, as well as some Lutherans,[39] do not use it when reciting the Lord’s Prayer, but it has been included as an independent item, not as part of the Lord’s Prayer, in the Roman Rite Mass. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer sometimes gives the Lord’s Prayer with the doxology, sometimes without.[40] Most Protestants attach it to the Lord’s Prayer.

  2. Fascinating stuff! Thanks, John.

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