My brain seems to click with Latin languages. Perhaps because when I was a little girl, I had French lessons at school and because English and the Latin languages have a lot in common. When I began studying Spanish in high school, even though my French wasn’t very good, the French I knew gave me a head start in understanding Spanish. When I began speaking Romanian, it came so quickly, it was amazing! Someone was speaking Romanian to me, and I understood even though I hadn’t studied or been around any Romanian, and I was puzzled. I finally figured out they were using Romanian words that were also French words that I had known since I was a very little girl. When my Romanian teacher was having trouble explaining Romanian grammar to me, I explained it to him because I could recognize the similarities between Romanian grammar and the Spanish grammar I had studied in high school. When I study some other language, I always want to retreat to Latin languages because they are part of me and so much easier for me, but I am not actually Latin at all. When I blog about Spanish, it is a pleasure for me. I started blogging about the Spanish grammar in love chapter from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13 yesterday, and I am going to continue today with verses 3 and 4.
Verse 3: Y si’ repartiese todos mis bienes para dar de comer a los pobres y si’ entregase mi cuerpo para ser quemado, y no tengo amor, de nada me sirve.
Y si’ repartiese todos mis bienes – “And if I distributed all my goods.” Again, “Y” means “and.” “repartiese” comes from “repartir” which means “to distribute.” “Repartiese” is first person singular imperfect subjunctive form. Imperfect subjunctive is the past tense that is used with “if” and is hypothetical. “First person singular” means “I.” With the next part, begin with “bienes” because it is the noun, and so therefore, rules over any word connected to it. It is a masculine, plural noun, so everything connected to it must also be masculine and plural. “Bienes” means “goods.” “Mis” is a plural “my,” and “todos” means “all,” and it is masculine because of the last “o” and plural because of the “s.”
para dar de comer a los pobres – “For giving to the poor to eat.” “Para” means “for.” “Dar” means “to give.” In many languages, you can take the infinitive form of the verb inside the sentence and translate it to English as a gerund, and “ing” noun that looks like a verb. I have done that with this “dar.” “Dar” is actually the infinitive form, the unconjugated or basic form like you would find in the dictionary. “to give” is an infinitive in English, and it is a very basic form. You can find “give” in the dictionary, but if you conjugated it for example into past tense: “gave,” you couldn’t find “gave” in the dictionary. Sometimes we use “to give” and “giving” interchangeably in English because they can mean the same thing. Here is an example “To give a gift is fun” can also be said, “Giving a gift is fun.” In these two sentences, “to give” and “giving” mean the same thing.
“comer” means “to eat.” “A” means “to.” ” Los pobres” means “the poor.” Just “pobre” can be an adjective meaning “poor” like in English, but if you put “the” in front of “poor” in English, you have “the poor,” and we think of that as plural even though there is no “s.” In Spanish, they add the “s” to “pobre” as well as make “el” (the) into “los” because “pobres” is plural, so “the” (los) also needs to be plural.
y si’ entragase mi cuerpo – “And delivered my body.” “Y,” again, means “and.” “si'” with that accent mark over it, means “if.” “Entregase” comes from “entregar” which means ” to turn in” or “to deliver.” “Entregase” is in imperfect subjunctive tense and is first person singular. Imperfect subjunctive is a kind of hypothetical past tense that comes with “if.” “Mi” means “my,” and “cuerpo” means “body.”
para ser quemado – “to be burned” or “to be burnt.” Just “ser” can mean “to be,” but in Spanish, they acknowledge there can be more than one meaning for the infinitive in a sentence, and when we see it in English, we just instinctively know the difference. For example: with “He went to school to study” and “I want to study” both have “to study,” but each one has a slightly different meaning. In Spanish, the meaning of the first one is acknowledged. “To study” in the first sentence, means “in order to study” or “for studying” or “with the intention of studying.” “To study” in the second sentence doesn’t mean that at all.” If they encounter an infinitive like the first one in Spanish, they will put “para” before that infinitive. This means that when you see “para” before “ser,” a state of being verb, that infinitive in English, “to be” comes with intention because of the “para” in Spanish. We already know that in English without changing the grammar or adding a word, but in Spanish, they add a word.
“Quemado” comes from “quemar,” to burn. It is the past participle. In both English and Spanish, we can use the past participle of the verb as an adjective. If you aren’t sure what a past participle is, it is one of the principal parts of the verb. In English, we have the infinitive, the simple present tense, the simple past tense, the “ing” form or participle form that can be used either as a gerund that is a noun or adjective and also used with present, past, and future continuous forms of he verb. Another principle part of the English verb is future tense, and then the past participle. The past participle can be used either as part of a verb or as an adjective. Here is how you can use it as part of a verb for the verb “to eat” : “I have eaten” or “I had eaten.” If you want to make it into an adjective, you can say “The eaten part of the cake tasted good.” In that sentence, “eaten” tells about “part,” a noun, which means “eaten” functions as an adjective. You can do the same with “to burn” as the past participle. The past participle of “to burn” is either “burnt” or “burned.” “The burnt toast tasted good anyway.” “Burnt” is the active telling about “toast,” and “toast” is a noun. “It is burnt” or “It is burned” mean the same thing, and in both cases, that “burnt” or “burned” is the past participle telling about “it,” the subject.
y no tengo amor – “and I don’t have love.” Again, “tengo” comes from “tener,” “to have.” Tengo is the first person singular simple present tense. If you put “no” before “tengo,” it comes out as “I don’t have.” “Amor” meaning “love” is the direct object. A direct object is a noun or pronoun, and it answers the question “what?”. “What do I not have?” I don’t have love, so “love” is the direct object.
de nada me sirve – “from nothing, it serves me” or “it serves me nothing.” “Nada” means “nothing.” “De” can mean either “of” or “from,” and in this case, it means “from.” “Me” is a direct object pronoun which means “me” in English. because it is a direct object, it receives the direct action of “sirve” and answers the question, “What doesn’t it serve?” “it doesn’t serve me.” “Sirve” comes from “sirvir” meaning “to serve.”Sirve” is conjugated into third person singular present tense. “Third person singular” means it has a pronoun embedded into it that is either “he, she, or it, and at times, only in Spanish, a respectful “you.” Spanish doesn’t have “it” there, but instead “‘el” (he) or “ella” (she) is used for “it.”
Putting this verse all together, we have: “And if I distributed all my goods for giving to the poor to eat and delivered my body to be burned, and don’t have love, it serves me nothing.“
Verse 4: El amor es sufrido, es benigno; el amor no tiene invidia, el amor no es jactancioso, y no se avanece;
El amor es sufrido – “Love is long suffering” or “Love is patient.” In Spanish, you have “el” and ” ‘el.” “El,” without the accent mark means “the.” ” ‘El,” with the accent mark means “he.” In this case, it is “el” without the accent mark, so ” ‘el” means “the.” I didn’t use it in English because it sounds strange in English right here. As we all know, “the” or “el” comes before a noun, “amor,” meaning “love.” The verb here is “es.” “Es” means “is” and comes from “ser,” the state of being verb that identifies a permanent noun or identifies qualities of a noun, like adjectives. If I say, “He is tall,” “He” is the subject and a pronoun. “Is” is the state of being verb that allows you to tell about “he.” “Is” or “es” are both simple present tense meaning “everyday” or “all the time,” and “tall” is an adjective that tells about “he.” It is the same with this clause: “el amor es sufrido.””Sufrido” is an adjective that means “long suffering” or “patient” that tells about “amor” or “love.”
es benigno – ” It is benign” or “It is kind.” You can see in English, that this clause has the same pattern at the one above: subject + state of being verb + adjective. Within “es,” besides “is,” you can find “he, she, it, or only in Spanish, the respectful ‘you.’ “
el amor no tiene envidia – “Love doesn’t have envy.” The pattern of this clause is: subject + action verb + noun.”Tiene” comes from “tener,” to have. Embedded in “tiene” you find “he, she, it, or only in Spanish, the respectful “you” because it is third person singular, and it is simple present tense. The “no” before “tiene” makes it negative, so in English, it becomes, “doesn’t have.””Envidia” is a direct object of the verb “no tiene” or “doesn’t have.”
el amor no es jactancioso – “Love is not boastful.” Here, we have the same grammatical pattern in this clause as we had at the clauses at the beginning of this verse: Subject + state of being verb + adjective. The state of being verb, “es” is negative because there is a “no” before it. The verb tense and person is the same as “es” in the beginning of this verse.
no se avanece – “It doesn’t advance itself” or “It isn’t pushy” or “It isn’t self seeking” or “It isn’t selfish.” “Se” is a reflexive pronoun meaning “itself,” “himself,” “herself” or’ “yourself.” “Avanece” comes from “avancer” which means “to advance.” If you “advance” yourself, it can mean “pushy,” “self-seeking,” or even “selfish.” You can’t see the subject “it” here, but it is found within “avance.”
Now, let’s put this all together: “Love is patient, it is kind, love doesn’t have envy, love is not boastful, it isn’t selfish.”
Okay, I have explained the Spanish grammar in verses 3 & 4 of 1 Corinthians 13. I like this chapter a lot, not because I am romantic, but because I realize that the Apostle Paul was trying to teach the people in Corinth how to get along with one another because they were breaking into different camps and arguing about things. If you look back to the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, he wrote this letter because they were following different teachers and breaking into groups, and if you go on into chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians, he says, “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing Spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:13). In the Bible classes I taught in S. Korea, I encouraged the students always to remember the fruits of the Spirit, the things that we see in ourselves and others if we have the Holy Spirit that are found in Galatians 5: 22 & 23: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” The Apostle Paul was right. If we all learn to act like this, we can get along much easier.
Today, you can call those different groups the people in Corinth were breaking into “denominations” or different “churches.” God wants us all to get along. He doesn’t want one group of Christians thinking they have all the answers, and so they separate from the others. I purposefully don’t tell you which church I go to because I know just following God is more important than anything else. I encourage you to study your Bibles and figure out as much as you can, but not to break into groups. I also like this chapter because it teaches how to get along with one another. God wants us to treat one another with “love,” and this chapter tells us how. We would have a lot less divorces and fights among family members or among people in a school or workplace if we could all learn these lessons from the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.