Jewish Scholar and Methodist Pastor Find Hebrew Origins of “The Lord’s Prayer”

Posted on:

< < Back to

A Jewish Bible scholar and an African American pastor joined in an intellectual and spiritual journey of faith and scholarly inquiry. The result is they say they uncovered the truth about one of the most coveted prayers in the Christian world – the “Lord’s Prayer” and its Hebrew origins.

On a journey to Israel in 2002, Methodist Pastor Keith Johnson, of the Park Avenue Church in Minneapolis, met with world renowned scholar Nehemia Gordon. This started a long-term relationship and research partnership that resulted in a book A Prayer To Our Father: Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer.

They discovered a Hebrew version of the Lord’s Prayer, preserved by Jewish rabbis for over a thousand years, according to Gordon. Working from the original languages of early texts, the two men translated the texts and found much commonality in most of the traditional forms of the prayer.
In its early forms, the prayer could have been as easily used in the Jewish faith as in the Christian faith, according to Gordon. They found that the prayer has a universal adherence to tenets in both faiths.

In an interview with WOUB’s Tom Hodson, Gordon described the partnership with Johnson, their work together, and the outcomes of their research.

Gordon holds a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and a bachelor’s degree in Archaeology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has worked as a translator on the Dead Sea Scrolls and as a researcher of ancient Hebrew manuscripts.

Johnson, besides being an elder, also served as chaplain to the Minnesota Vikings and has ministered to top athletes in the NFL and NBA.

Gordon will be speaking on July 12 at 3:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Ohio.
For more information about the book and their research, please go to either or to