For Thine is the Kingdom

This past weekend, we wrapped up our sermon series on The Lord’s Prayer. And, it was only afterwards that I realized I’d left something out. This is what happens to me sometimes when I get preaching and moving around. But, what I love about our church is that we pay attention. Many of you asked me after the service: “What about this part of the prayer? Why is it in some Bibles and not others? Should we pray it or not?”

And, what they were referring to is the very familiar phrase: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13b, KJV)

You might be surprised to hear that this phrase didn’t occur in the most original manuscripts. Therefore, it wasn’t likely part of the prayer that Jesus originally taught. However, we do know that it was included and prayed by Christians from almost the very beginning of the existence of The Lord’s Prayer.

We know this from the Didache, which is an early Christian work that outlines discipleship. It reveals how the church saw things, how they ordered themselves, and what happened in some of the earliest Christian gatherings. Through the study of this work, many scholars believe that verse 13b was written in the First Century, basically at the same time as other New Testament writings were being written.

So, while this portion of the prayer wasn’t likely part of the original prayer that Jesus taught, it has been included ever since, from almost the very start of Christians gathering together. This likely explains why it was added in when other copies of the book of Matthew were made. Because, it had already been established as standard.

All of this is to say, that while the phrase: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” isn’t necessarily Scripture as Jesus taught it, it still matters, as it has shaped Christians for centuries, and therefore should shape us as well.