When did the words to the Lord's Prayer change?

I have been informed that the Lord's Prayer originally said, "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors."

However, at some point, the words were changed by "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

When did this change occur, and what was the reasoning for it? Who instituted this change in wording?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The change was made by the Church of England in their Book of Common Prayer. The church is Catholic and Reformed. Please read their history in Wikipedia.

    Original Latin Version - debts -debtors

    1662 BCP - trespass

    1928 Bcp - trespass

    1988 ELLC - sins

    BCP-Book of Common Prayer

    ELLC- English Language Liturgical Consultation

    Source(s): Google Search -Wikipedia
  • 1 decade ago

    My husband and I were discussing this very topic last night. I asked him the same question you did. His response was that debtors are no longer forgiven -- that the IRS made the Pope change the wording. Humorous, yes, but it didn't answer my question. The thing is, when I learned the Lord's Prayer in the early 1960s, the "debt" version is what our church was reciting. I remember that well because a few years later my Mom told me we had to say it differently and I kept forgetting. I've done a search and still can't find exactly when or why the wording was changed.

  • 1 decade ago

    This is off the top of my head but; forgive us our debts: debt is like sin in the sense of we are in debt to God for our sin because he forgives us for what we should not be doing against him. So its like a debt if you consider God bought us back (through the death of his son) and we owe him for that because that paid the price for sin. Secondly debtors; this is those who have sinned against us. Jesus always advocated that we forgive those who have sinned against us.

    Next trespass; its the same as the debt in the sense of as we trespass we going into territory that we should not be going. That territory is sinning on moral grounds.

    So they both refer to sin. Why is there changes? Its that there was different interpreters. In this circumstances it does not really change the meaning of the sense of it. If we look to other words in the Bible though, there has been changes to obscure the meaning and leave the interpretation open to incorrect meaning through translation.

    I believe the most accurate translation is the New World Translation by the Jehovah's Witnesses.


  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Lord's prayer was honestly not originally even said in English. There are various translations of the Greek text. And even the Greek text may be a translation of Jesus who may have been speaking in Aramaic.

    As the person above stated, it really hasn't changed.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    debts = trespasses = sins.

    There are many words that have similar meaning, that's why we have Thesauruses. When one is translating, they choose the word, they feel best matches the word they are translating.

  • Dave
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    those 2 quotes mean the same exact thing. the only difference is the 2nd uses a more modern dialect.

    remember language is always changing.

  • 3 years ago

    This is a coin I carry around everywhere. But I doubt people would have printed it incorrectly.

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