It has been a while since I did my last blog explaining Spanish grammar, so I thought it was time to get to it again. We haven’t had internet in our house for a few weeks, and it has been difficult to blog, but it is easier now. If there was a type of blog someone was missing, they will get it now. Many people in America have studied Spanish, and I happen to be somewhat of a grammarian as someone who speaks several languages, is an English professor, and has taught Spanish too. I also like using the Bible for learning a foreign language because the Bible is in every language, and if you have any trouble, you can compare it to a Bible in your first language. On top of that, you get extra, beyond language, you get Bible knowledge which is always worth having.
The last time I did this, we did 1 Corinthians 14: 1-4. To give you a recap of what was written there, basically, the Apostle Paul let us know that preaching was more important than speaking in a foreign language. The people in Corinth had been arguing about who had the best gift from God. In chapter 13, first, he stopped the arguing by teaching them how to love one another, and now he is talking about one gift in particular: speaking in foreign languages. It is important to understand that these are spiritual gifts are miraculous (1 Corinthians 12: 7-11, Acts 2: 4-6) because in the beginning, God sent miraculous gifts to help get the church started, but the gifts came to an end when the people actually learned to love and formed into a church, “When that which is perfect has come, that which is in part will be done away.” Chapter 4 begins by says that God giving someone knowledge so they can preach is more important than God giving someone the ability to speak a foreign language they had never studied. It is hard to review all the grammar we have studied, so you will get that review as we talk about the current grammar. Now we are ready for verse 5 of 1 Corinthians 14.
Verse 5: Asi que quisiera que todos vosotros hablaseis en lenguas, pero mas que profetizaseis, porque mayor es ‘el que profetiza que ‘el que habla en lenguas, y no ser que las interprete para que la iglesia reciba edificacion.
Asi que quisiera – “So (that) I would like..” “Asi” means “so.” “Que” means “that.” “Quisiera” comes from “querer” which means “to want.” “Quisiera” is a form that is like “would like” or “wish.”
que todos vosotros hablaseis en lenguas – “that all you speak in languages.” This is a relative clause, and “that” or “que” is the relative pronoun. “Todos” means “all,” and the “s” is on the end because “vosotros” is plural. “Vosotros” is plural “you.” “Hablaseis” comes from “hablar.” “to speak.” “Hablaseis” is second person (you) plural (more than one) and simple present tense (everyday, all the time). “En” means “in.” “Lenguas” means “languages.” The “s” on the end tells you it is plural.
pero mas que profetizas – “but more that you preach.” “Pero” means “but.” “Mas” means “more.” “Que profetizas” means “that you preach.” “Que” means “that.” “Profetizas” comes from “profetizar” which means “to prophecy” or “to preach.” “Profetizas” is second person (you), plural (more than one), and simple present tense (everyday, all the time.)
porque mayor es ‘el que profetiza que ‘el que habla en lenguas – “because he that preaches is better than he that speaks in languages.” “Porque” means “because.” It is all one word, but if it were two words: “por que,” it would mean “why.” “Mayor” means “better.” “Es” means “is.” ” ‘El” means “he.” If there was no accent mark, it would mean “the,” but the accent mark tells you it is “he.” “Que” means “that” and is a relative pronoun. If “que” were at the beginning of the sentence instead of in the middle, it would mean “what,” but here, it is in the middle of the sentence, so one thing it can be is “that,” a relative pronoun. “Que profetiza” is a relative clause. “Profetiza” comes from “profetizar” which means “to prophesy” or “to preach.” “Profetiza” is simple present tense (everyday, all the time), third person (he, she, it, or only in Spanish respectful “you”), and singular (only one). This relative clause explains ” ‘el.” After ” ‘el que profetiza” there is another “que.” This is another “que” in the middle of the sentence. However, it does not mean “that” or “what,” but means “than” because the sentence is comparing preaching to speaking in foreign languages. “Que ‘el que habla en lenguas” means “than he that speaks in languages.” The grammar for ” ‘el” and “que,” you already know. “habla” comes from “hablar,” “to speak.” “Habla” is third person, singular, simple present tense. It has “he” or ” ‘el” imbedded in it. “En lenguas” means “in languages.” It is plural because it ends in “s.”
y no ser que las interprete – “and unless he interpret them.” Everyone probably already knows that “y” means “and.” “No” is always a negative. “No” comes before “ser.” “Ser” means “to be,” so literally, “no ser” means “not to be.” “Que” means “that,” so you have “no ser que,” “not to be that” meaning an exception is coming, so we say “unless.” “Las interprete” means “he interprets them.” “Las” can easily mean a plural, feminine “the,” but there is not a noun after this “las,” but a verb. That means that “las” here is a direct object pronoun. It is plural and feminine meaning “them.” “Interprete” comes from “interpreter,” to interpret. “Interprete” is third person, singular, simple present tense. the pronoun embedded in “interprete” is “he” or ” ‘el” because it is referring back to the ” ‘el” in the first part of the sentence.
para que la iglesia reciba edificacion – “so that the church receives edification.” “Para que” means “so that.” “Para” alone means “for,” and “que” alone means “that,” but together, they become “so that.” “la iglesia” means “the church.” “La” is a singular feminine “the.” The “a” tells you it is feminine, and it must match the noun after it, and it does. The noun after “la” is “iglesia,” “church.” “Iglesia” is feminine because it ends in “a” and plural because there is no “s.” “Reciba” comes from “recibir’ which means “to receive.” “Reciba” is third person, singular, simple present tense. The pronoun embedded in “reciba” is “it” because it is referring to “the church,” the church receives. “Edificacion” means just like it seems “edification.” It is a direct object noun. It is the direct object of the verb “reciba.” Direct objects receive the direct action of the verb, and to find them you answer “what?” What does the church receive? (Que la iglesia reciba?) The church receives “edificacion.”
Putting this verse all together: “So I would like that all of you speak in languages, but more that you preach because he that preaches is better than he that speaks languages unless he interprets then so that the church receives edification.”
Verse 6: Ahora pues, hermanos, si yo voy a vosotros hablando en lenguas, ?Que os o provechara’, si no os hablare con revelacion, o con ciencia, o con profecia, o con doctrina?
Ahora pues – “now then” or “now, well.” This is rather a preface to the rest of the sentence, like a pause.
hermanos – “brothers.” “hermano” means “brother,” and “s” on the end makes is plural like in English.
si yo voy a vosotros hablando en lenguas – “If I go to you speaking in languages.” “SI’ means “if.” Many people know that “si’ ” means “yes.” However, if you take that accent mark off, “si” is “if.” “Yo” is the first person singular personal pronoun, “I.” “Voy” comes from “ir,” to go. “Voy” is in first person singular simple present tense, and the pronoun embedded in “voy” is “I.” “a” means “to.” “Vosotros” means “you,” plural. “Hablando” comes from “hablar.” “Hablar” means “to speak.” “Hablando” is the “ing” form “speaking.” Any time you see “ando” on the end of a verb, it means “ing.” “En lenguas” means “in languages.” Sometimes “en” means “in” and sometimes “on,” but in this case, it means “in.” “Leguas” means “languages.” The “s” on the end means the same thing it means in English.
?Que os o provechara’, – “What will it prove to you?” In Spanish, questions begin with an upside down question mark, but I don’t have one of those on my keyboard, so I put a regular question mark. Because this is a question and begins with “que,” that “que” means “what.” “Os” is an indirect object plural “you” which means it has the meaning of “to” before it. “Provechara’ ” comes from “provechar” which means “to prove.” In future tense in Spanish, you don’t take that “ar” ending off this time, but leave it and add the ending after that. “Profechara’ ” is in future tense, third person, singular. That means that the pronoun embedded in “provechara’ ” is either “he, she, it, or the respectful ‘you’ .” In this case, the pronoun is “it.”
si no os hablare’ con revelacion – “if I will not speak to you with revelation.” Again “si” without the accent mark means “if.” “No” means “not.” “Hablare’ ” comes from “hablar,” “to speak.” “Hablare’ ” is in future tense, first person, singular. First person means that “I” is embedded into “hablare’ ,” so you have, “If I will not speak.” “Os” is an indirect object pronoun meaning it has the meaning of “to” before it, and it means “to you.” “Con” means “with.” “Revelacion” is just what it looks like “revelation.” Meaning a revelation from God referring to the people who were inspired by God to speak. Inspiration means “God breathed.” Many people believe that the New Testament is inspired or “God breathed” meaning that God spoke to us through the writers of the Bible, and the Bible says that too, “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). In Spanish, it actually says “inspired”: “Toda la Escritura es inspirada por Dios, y util para ensenar, para redarguir, para corregir, para instruir en juticia.”
o con ciencia – “or with Science” or “or with knowledge.” Anyone who thinks the Bible is not Scientific, they are mistaken. The Apostle Paul here talks about coming to the people with Science or Knowledge. Science is the knowledge of the world around you. It makes sense that God would give them knowledge of the world around them because he made it.
o con profecia – “or with prophesy.” Yes, the Bible actually has prophesies in it that came true. If you check out other prophets, they prophesy differently than what is in the Bible. the Old Testament is full of prophesies about the church and about Jesus. The prophets gave specific details that came true like Jesus would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1: 22 &23), Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2: 6), or that many children would die when Jesus was born (Jeremiah 31: 15, Matthew 2: 17 & 18), etc. God left no doubt who Jesus was when he was born if you knew the prophecies. If you read others who claim to be prophets, their prophecies are general and could mean anything, but the prophecies from the Old Testament are specific. John the Baptist was out preaching in the desert, wearing leather clothing, and eating locusts and wild honey, and the Old Testament prophets come right out and say there would be a voice of one crying in the desert yelling “make straight your paths (Isaiah 40:3, Matthew 3: 1-4),” and John the Baptist did just that. There are more than 100 prophecies that came true, so prophecy is very important in the Bible. These people the Apostle Paul was talking to knew how important the prophecies were.
o con doctrina? – “or with doctrine” or “or with teaching.” Here we have the end of the question. This is one of the reasons why we gather with the church, because we want to be taught. The Apostle Paul was inspired by God and brought lots of teachings.
Let’s put this all together: “Now then, brothers, if I go to you speaking in languages, what will it prove to you if I will not speak with revelation, or with Science or knowledge, or with prophecy or with teaching?”
There you have it. The Apostle Paul is explaining why preaching is better than speaking in a foreign language. He used a rhetorical question to begin his argument. A rhetorical question doesn’t expect an answer. It has an answer that is obvious. It won’t do anyone any good to speak in a foreign language if there is nothing to translate, so it means that preaching and teaching are more important than speaking in a foreign language even though it seems everyone in 1 Corinthians 12 wanted to speak in a foreign language. They liked the idea of speaking in foreign languages they didn’t study as we would all like. We admire people who can translate when we can’t, and we would love to be one of them. However, if there is nothing to translate, then the foreign language does no good. The Apostle Paul is going to go on and explain more in the next verses, but I think this blog is getting long enough.
When I was in Korea, a young man came to one of my Bible studies distressed because the church he was attending thought surely he wasn’t a Christian because he couldn’t speak in miraculous “tongues.” The church where he was attending all thought that they could “jabber” to God with no one understanding, and that made them a Christian. However, these were actually languages. They weren’t just jabbering here. In Acts 2, when so many people heard in their own language, they weren’t just jabbering. There was a reason for these foreign languages, to communicate with people who spoke other languages. 1 Corinthians 13 said speaking these languages without studying them was going to end when perfection, love between brothers enough to form a church, would come. And here, the Apostle Paul says speaking in a foreign language does no good if there is nothing to translate. These were not ecstatic tongues that only the person standing at the front of the church and God can understand. Yes, I have seen them do it because my relative did it. These languages that were being discussed were actually languages that someone could understand. This young man didn’t need to be distressed. He was just honest. If you can’t stand up and jabber in front of the church and make yourself seem important, it is good, not bad because you are being honest. There is no language that man can’t speak because language was made for man. The Apostle Paul goes on to explain in the verses that follow. In verse 9, he even says, “unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?” Verse 15 says, “I will pray with my spirit, and I will pray with my mind.” Verse 13 says if you want to speak in a foreign language, you better be prepared to interpret it, and verse 19 says five words that you can understand are much better than a thousand you can’t understand. After that, he tells the people to grow up again. There is so much more about language in this chapter, so I will continue. Here are some things we learned about Spanish grammar this time:
1. “quisiera” means “I would like” or “I wish.”
2. We conjugated “hablar” in more than one way. “Hablaseis” means “you (plural) speak.” “Habla” means “he, she, it, or respectful ‘you’ ” speaks. “hablando” means “speaking.” If you add an “estar” verb to this, you can have a present tense continuous verb: estoy hablando – I am speaking, estas hablando – you are speaking, esta hablando – he, she, or it is speaking or the respectful “you are speaking.” Estamos hablando – We are speaking. Estan hablando – they are speaking or the respectful, plural, you are speaking. Simple “hablando” can be the gerund “speaking.” A gerund looks like a verb, but is a noun. An example: “Speaking is forbidden” – hablando esta’ prohibido. Sometimes they use “hablar” in place of “hablando” there. “habare’ ” – I will speak. “habla” – he, she, or it speaks or respectful you speak.
os – The plural object “you.” It can be a direct object pronoun or an indirect object pronoun. If it is the indirect object pronoun, we translate it to “to you” in English. It is placed before the verb in Spanish.
provechara’ – “it will prove.” ” Provechara’ ” comes from “provechar” which means “to prove.” In future tense, they don’t take off that “ar” ending, but just add to it. In this case the ending is ” a’ .” This ending means the pronoun is either “he, she, it, or the respectful you.”
Let’s conjugate some verbs in future tense because it is used often here. There are actually two ways to use future tense.
to speak – hablar
I will speak – voy a hablar, or hablare’
you will speak – vas a hablar, or hablaras
he will speak, she will speak, it will speak, respectful you will speak – va a hablar, or hablara’
We will speak – vamos a hablar or hablaremos
They will speak or respectful you will speak – van a hablar, or hablaran
to go – ir
I will go – voy a ir, or ire’
you will go – vas a ir, or iras
He, she, it or respectful you will go – va a ir, or ira’
we will go – vamos a ir, or iremos
They will go or respectful you will go – van a ir, or iran
to want – querer
I will want – voy a querer, or querere’
you will want – vas a querer, or quereras
he, she, it or respectful you will want – va a querer, or querera’
we will want – vamos a querer, or quereremos
they will want or respectful you will want – van a querer, or quereran
As you can see, future tense in Spanish is not hard at all. It is very logical, and al you have to do is memorize the endings, and you will have future tense. See you in the next blog about Spanish grammar in the language chapter.