The Greatest Prayer (Week 5)

What do we mean when we pray, “Forgive us our debts”? Is there a difference in meaning among the three common versions of this petition using debts, trespasses or sins?

Monday night we’ll take a look at chapter 7 in The Greatest Prayer by John Dominic Crossan. Ask your questions about the reading or make a comment below.

Discussion Questions

Chapter 7 – Forgive Us Our Debts

  1. Throughout human history debt and slavery have had strong connections with one another. What is the relationship between debt and forced-slave labor?
  2. Discuss the examples of laws limiting debt slavery (pp.144-153). Why were such limitations important?
  3. Crossan offers a brief overview of the uses of debt, trespass, and sin in prayers found in gospels. What differences does Crossan find? Why does Crossan argues the term debts should be read literally and not metaphorically?
  4. If debts are to be understood literally, how does Crossan understand humanity’s debts to God? How does this relate to the way in which you understand our debt to God?
  5. For a first century Mediterranean day laborer or peasant, daily bread and future debt would have been primary concerns. In what ways do these concerns hold true for the poor today?
  6. How do we understand debt today? Do we see it in relation to oppression or economic exploitation? Or do we view debt as a result of personal choices?
  7. Discuss the connections between being forgiven our own debts and forgiving the debts of others.
  8. Does the use of the word “debt” change the way in which you understand The Lord’s Prayer?

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