Mat 6:13 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]'So I was forced into a great teaching moment. Why are there variants? Well, I know I am an odd duck for actually attempting to teach my children about the transmission of the Biblical text, but we now live in a society where this is no longer something Christians may remain ignorant, especially with Bart Ehrman's books in full circulation.
Today I received my hard cover edition of Philip W. Comfort's New Testament Text and Translation Commentary. It is just full of great "commentary on the variant readings of the ancient New Testament Manuscripts and how they relate to the major English translations." So now if you are wondering why the newer translations such as the ESV and the NIV have "removed" (speaking like an irrational King James Onlyist) this part of the verse, you will read some very helpful answers, of which I'd like to share a portion from the section dealing with Matthew 6:13.
First, Comfort explains that there are manuscripts that omit the reading. Then he goes on to explain that there are 6 variants of the reading and offers them for you to compare.
Variant 1 has only the "amen".
Variant 2 has "because yours is the power forever."
Variant 3 has "because yours is the power and the glory forever. Amen."
Variant 4 has "because yours is the kingdom and the glory forever. Amen."
Variant 5 has "because yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."
And this is the most fascinating. Variant 6 has "because yours is the kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit forever. Amen."
So what is the explanation for the inclusion of these variants into the text of Scripture? Since most of us live in a historical vacuum, we miss the rich Christian heritage that has given to us the wide manuscript tradition. For instance, most Christians are totally unfamiliar with the Didache. It is a work that circulated during the age of the Apostolic Fathers (church leaders right after the Apostles). Comfort writes that "the longer form [Matthew 6:13] probably came from the Didache (also known as the 'teaching of the Twelve'), which was written in Syria or Palestine during the early second century."
If you are still wondering why this doxology was included into the text of Matthew's Gospel if it was not was not a part of the original autograph, then consider the last portion of Comfort's commentary upon this text.
"...the ending has become so ingrained in Christian tradition that it has not dropped from use in private prayers or in public worship--with the exception of the Roman Catholic churches. When reciting the Lord's Prayer, most Christians do not stop after saying 'but deliver us from evil.' Most go on to say, 'For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.'As Wesctott and Hort are cited as saying,
Why do people feel compelled to end with this assertive doxology? Probably for the same reason that motivated some early scribes to add it. This profound prayer invites a glorious, uplifting conclusion--especially in oral reading."
[the] doxology originated in liturgical use in Syria, and was thence adopted into the Greek and Syriac Syrian texts of the N.T.To this day, after having learned quite some time ago that the text is not a part of the original reading, I am still prone to pray in this manner. Why? Am I being unfaithful? No. I am simply moved as most Christians to recognize the wonder of God's sovereign grace in our lives.