Here I am again to continue explaining Spanish grammar using 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter from the Bible. It is helpful to recap, not the grammar at this point, but the meaning of what we have read. The Apostle Paul began this chapter very eloquently like poetry. The last verse of 1 Corinthians 12 said he was going to show us a “more excellent way.” This chapter really needed to be written because if you look in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, the people were fighting and breaking into groups. It also needed to be written because there were miraculous spiritual gifts among them, and each thought they were more important than the others because of the miraculous spiritual gift they had received. Paul is going to pour some water on them and tell them that those miraculous spiritual gifts are coming to an end, and he is going to tell them what is most important so they can get along: love. He explains how they should act if they love one another which is a real sign of Christianity, if people love one another and treat them well. Love is the core to Christianity. In the verses I will explain today, he has already said everything I have recapped here, and he begins to explain about the miraculous spiritual gifts coming to an end.
Verse 9: Porque en parte conocemos, y en parte profetizamos;
Porque– “Because.” If you studied Spanish in school, you will have learned this word. In the beginning, it is hard to tell it apart from “por que” because they sound the same, but if they are written, “porque” as one word means “because,” and “por que” as two words means “why?” “Porque” means the Apostle Paul is about to explain why he said the miraculous prophecies, miraculous languages, and the miraculous knowledge will stop.
en parte conocemos – “We know in part.” “En” means “in.” “Parte” means “part.” “Conocemos” comes from “conocer” which means “to know.” “Conocemos” is in first person, plural, simple present tense. That means that the pronoun imbedded here is “we,” and it happens everyday. What do they “know in part?” Christianity is being taught. The Bible doesn’t exist. The church in Corinth is just getting 1 Corinthians. Every church doesn’t have it yet. The church in Galatia has another letter. Every church doesn’t have it yet. The church has needed help to understand the full message of Christ because each of them only has part of the story. The gospels weren’t written from the very beginning when Christ was living. The new Christians in the first church were going a lot on faith. They needed more knowledge. They needed to be able to preach or prophecy (Those two words are synonymous at times.) They needed to communicate with other churches and preachers who didn’t speak the same language they did. They just flat needed help! Everything they did was “in part,” so God sent miraculous gifts of the holy Spirit to help them.
y profetizamos en parte. “And we prophesy in part.” The only thing I haven’t explained here is “profetizamos.” “profetizamos” comes from “profetizar” which means “to prophesy.” “Profetizamos” is in first person plural simple present tense. That means that it has the pronoun “we” imbedded in it and happens everyday. The word “profetizar” or “prophesy” come from the word “professor,” and a “professor” stands up and teaches like a prophet stands up and teaches spiritual things.
Verse 9 would be translated like this into English: “Because we know in part, and we prophesy in part.”
Verse 10: “mas cuando venga lo perfecto, entonces lo que es en parte se acabara’.”
mas – “moreover.” Often “mas” means “more” in English, but if we use it at the beginning of a sentence meaning we have more to say, we say “moreover.”
cuando venga lo perfecto – “When perfection comes.” “Cuando” means “when.” “Venga” comes from “venir” which means “to come.” “Venga” is actually in simple present tense, third person singular, and it can also be used as a command or request to say, “Come!” In this came, “venga” is the simple present tense, third person singular verb. The pronoun imbedded here can be “he, she, it, or the respectful “you.” In this case, after “venga,” the Spanish as included “lo” which is masculine and can mean “it” or “he.” The Spanish gives us the pronoun. What could this masculine “it” be referring to?
I have read where people say in English that the “it” refers to the Bible with all the different letters and books all in one cover because it is whole. Galatians 3 and the last chapter of Revelation both tell us that the teachings we have, the Bible is all we need, and there is nothing else, and 2 Peter 1:3 says we have everything we need for life and Godliness. However, Bible in Spanish is “Biblia.” That “a” on the end means that “Biblia,” in Spanish, is a feminine word, but the pronoun we have referring to it is “lo,” a masculine pronoun. What is masculine that is perfect? The chapter is all about “love,” and “amor” (love) is a masculine noun in Spanish. The chapter is all about trying to get the people to get along, so keeping this in context, probably, the Apostle Paul is trying to tell these people that if they could just get along and stop fighting over who was more important than the other, then they wouldn’t need those miraculous gifts because they would understand the basic core of Christianity, love. 1 John says, “God is love.” At one time, I wondered if that “lo” could refer to Christ, but there is no “a” in front of “lo” telling me that “lo” is a person, so it must be a masculine “it” referring to the subject of this chapter: “love.” This means that “love” is “perfecto,” “perfection.”
entonces lo que es en parte se acabara‘ – “then, it which is in part will end.” “Entonces” means “then” which means that the Apostle Paul is tying this part of the sentence up to a conclusion. Again, we have “lo” that masculine singular pronoun that is modified by a relative clause to explain what “lo” is referring to. The relative clause is like an adjective describing “lo.” The relative clause begins with “que.” As a question word, “que” means “what,” but because of the placement of “que” in the sentence rather than at the beginning of a question, we know it is a relative pronoun. We could translate “que” as either “that” or “which.” The relative clause continues with “es en parte.” “Es” is a simple present tense, third person singular form of “ser” which identifies things. The pronoun imbedded in it is “it.” “En” means “in,” and “parte” means “part.” The whole relative clause is “que es en parte” (that is in part or which is in part.)
se acabara‘ – “will stop itself.” “Se acabara” is a future tense, third person singular, reflexive verb with a reflexive pronoun, “se.” That “se”(itself) is referring to “that which is in part” which means the “miraculous prophesies, the miraculous languages, and the miraculous knowledge” that they were arguing about from chapter 12, so all those miraculous things will stop if they just learn to love one another, and the Apostle Paul was trying to teach them to love one another, to get along. If you are getting along, who cares who can preach miraculously and who just preaches? If you are getting along, who cares who has a gift for learning languages they haven’t studied overnight and who doesn’t? If you are getting along, who cares who knows what? The Apostle Paul is telling them that miracles are not the point of Christianity. Love is the point of Christianity. Forget about miracles, and you will be just fine. The Apostle Paul just wants them to learn to get along and love one another, and he is teaching them to do it, and hopefully teaching us to do it. With love, there is no need for miracles because acting in love is perfect.
If we put all this verse together in English, it says, “Moreover, when that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part will be finished.”
The Apostle Paul is not done with the love chapter yet, and neither are we. He goes on to explain more, and I will go on explaining the grammar you see in Spanish in the rest of the chapter. I love pulling the grammar apart because it really helps with understanding. In fact, I have even thought about going into chapter 14 of 1 Corinthians because it is all about languages, and that is what we are doing here as well as learning to understand the Bible better. Studying a text in more than one language really does help you to understand the text better.