It seems things I publish in Spanish or that are about the Spanish language seem to be really popular. Spanish is a very important language in the world. There are many Spanish speakers in America now, and the number seems to be growing. From Mexico south, all the way to the tip of South America, everyone speaks Spanish except Brazil, and the speak Portuguese, a language very much like Spanish. On top of that, in Europe, there is Spain, and Equatorial Guinea in Africa who also speak Spanish. The Philippines has a lot of Spanish influence, and if you watch a movie from the Philippines, the people will speak a combination of English, Spanish, and Tagalog. Many Americans have studied Spanish as a second language also. If an American speaks a foreign language, it is more likely to be Spanish than anything else. Spanish, no doubt, is a very important language in the world. Now, let’s talk about Spanish grammar found in the language chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 14. I will begin with verse 11.
So far, the apostle Paul has been very poetic again trying to explain why when we speak a foreign language, that people must understand. He said there are many languages in the world, and they all have meaning. He also says that if someone speaks in a church, they must be understood because the point is building the church up, so he says that preaching is more important than speaking in a foreign language because preaching builds the people in the church up. Now, let’s continue with verse 11.
Verse 11: Pero si ignoro el valor de las palabras, sere’ como extranjero para ‘el que habla, y ‘el que habla sera’ como exranjero para mi.
Pero si ignoro – “If I ignore.” “Pero” means “but,” a conjunction. “Si” without the accent mark means “if.” “Ignoro” comes from “ignorer” which means “to ignore.” “ignoro” is first person, singular, simple present tense. First person singular means the pronoun “I” is embedded into “ignoro.” Simple present tense means that it happens all the time, everyday. That “o” on the end tells you it is first person, singular, simple present tense.
el valor de las palabras – “The value of the words.” “El” means “the.” It is masculine and singular, so it needs a masculine singular noun. “valor” is that masculine noun, and it means “value.” “El valor” is the direct object of the verb, “ignoro.” It means that “value” receives the direct action of “ignore.” “De” means “of,” and is a preposition. “Las” means “the,” and it is feminine and plural. The “a” inside tells you it is feminine, and the “s” on the end tells you it is plural. This means it goes with a feminine, plural noun. “Palabras” is the feminine, plural noun. “Palabra” means “word,” and “palabras” means “words.” “Palabras” is the object of the preposition “de” (of).
Sere’ – “I will be.” “Ser” means “to be.” It is used with adjectives and to identify things. The “e’ ” on the end of “sere’ ” means that it is future tense and first person singular.
como extranjero – “like a foreigner.” “Como” can mean “how” if it is used as a relative pronoun or as an interrogative pronoun, but it is used here as part of a simile. A simile needs either “like” or “as.” A simile is a comparison. “Ignoring the value of the words” (ignoro el valor de las palabras) is being compared to being a foreigner (extranjero).
para ‘el que habla – “for he that speaks.” “Para” means “for.” ” ‘El” means “he.” “Que,” if it begins a question means “what,” but this doesn’t begin a question, so it is most likely to be “that,” a relative pronoun. “Habla” comes from “hablar.” “Habla” is in simple present tense, third person, singular. It means that it happens everyday or all the time, and “he” or “she” is embedded in it. In this case, we would say “he.” “Que habla” is the relative clause “that speaks.” “For” (para) is a preposition, and “que habla” (that speaks) is a relative clause being used as a noun clause, and becomes the object of the preposition.
Y ‘el que habla – “And, he that speaks.” “Y” means “and,” ” ‘El” means “he.” “Que habla,” again, is a relative clause that means “that speaks.” However, it is not part of the prepositional phrase this time. It is used as a noun phrase that is the subject of another clause.
sera’ – “will be.” ” ‘El que habla” is the subject of “sera’ .” “Sera’ ” comes from “ser” which means “to be.” “Ser” identifies things and is used adjectives. “Sera’ ” is the future tense, singular, third person.
como extranjero para mi – “Like a foreigner for me.” “Como,” as I said before, can mean “how,” but only as an interrogative pronoun at the beginning of a sentence. Here, it translates as “like” or “as” and signals a comparison. It is a simile. “Extranjero” means “foreigner.” The apostle Paul is still talking about the people who ignore the value of the words. “Para” means “for.” “Para” is a preposition. “Mi” means “me” and is pronounced the same as the English word. “Mi” (me) is an object pronoun. In this case, it is the object of the preposition, and “para mi” (for me) is a prepositional phrase.
Let’s put verse 11 together: “If I ignore the value of the words, I will be like a foreigner for he that speaks, and he that speaks will be like a foreigner for me.”
Verse 12: “ Asi’ tambien vosotros; pues que anhelais dones espirituales, procured abundar en ellos para edificacion de la iglesia.”
Asi’ tambien vosotros – “You guys are like this also.” “Vosotros” means “you guys,” and it is more formal than “you guys.” “Asi’ ” means “like this.” “Tambien” means “also” or “too.”
pues que anhelais – “then that you long for” or “well that you long for.” “Pues” can mean either “then” or “well.” “Que” means “that” in the middle of the sentence. “Anhelais” comes from “anhelar” which means “to long for.” “Anhelais” is in the second person plural simple present tense form. After all, the apostle Paul is speaking to a group of people in a church, so this is the right tense unless he wants to be more formal and say “Ustedes anhelan” which means the same thing, but is more formal. Second person plural means “you guys” is the subject of “anhelais” (you guys long for).
dones espirituales – “spiritual gifts.” “Dones” is the plural form of “don” which means “gift.” The “es” on the end makes it plural just like the “s” on the end of “gifts” makes it plural. “Dones” is the direct object of “anhelais” (to long for). What do they long for? The long for “dones” (gifts). Asking the question “what” always tells you which noun is the direct object. “Espirituales” means “spiritual.” It is in the plural form, and it is an adjective. In Spanish, adjectives come after the noun, and the noun is “dones.” If a noun is plural, then its adjective also needs to be plural.
procurad abundar en ellos – “procure abundance in them.” “Procurad” means “procure.” It means to get those spiritual gifts. “Abundar” means “abundance.” He is telling them to try to get a lot of spiritual gifts.”En ellos” means “in them” or “of them.” Here, “ellos” is used as an object pronoun that is used as the object of the preposition, and “en” is the preposition.
Para edificacion de la iglesia – “for edification of the church.”
“Para” means “for.” “Edificacion” is like the English word “edification” and means the same thing: to build up. “Para edificacion” is a prepositional phrase. “Para” is the preposition, and “edificacion” is the object noun of the preposition. “De” is also a preposition that means “of.” “La” is the article that means “the.” It is singular and feminine because it goes with “iglesia,” a singular, feminine noun that is the object noun of the preposition, “de.” “De la iglesia” is a prepositional phrase. This “la” tells you there is only one church, and that is it unique.
Let’s put verse 12 together: “You guys are like this also, well, you long for spiritual gifts, get a lot of them for the building up of the church.”
It seems the purpose for the spiritual gifts is for the building up of the church. We help one another with our spiritual gifts. In the end, chapter 13 says the only miraculous gifts we may get are “faith, hope, and love.” The greatest gift is “love.” It helps us get along with one another. It helps us understand that the message the preacher is preaching is something we all need to be built up. It stops us from arguing over who is the best or who has the best gift. However, the apostle Paul did say that it was better to be able to preach than to speak in foreign languages. In this verses, he has been encouraging everyone to make themselves understood. There should be no one jabbering. There should be no one standing up and speaking in front of the church without a translator. If someone speaks, you have to make sure people understand them. If not, that speaker is speaking “into the wind.” If we don’t know the meaning of the words, it is like a trumpet that just makes noise, but no one knows why. However, if the trumpet plays the battle song, everyone knows to prepare for battle. We can even communicate using inanimate objects, and should understand that when we speak, we need to communicate.
I hope this chapter is helping everyone understand what use language is in the church. As we go further, you will understand the function of language more. Basically, it is for communication, to communicate the words that build the church up. Next time, I will talk about verses 13 and 14, and we will learn more about language in the church.