Explaining Spanish Grammar Using the Language Chapter, Part 7

I had a busy day yesterday, and I blogged about it, and it seems that people enjoyed what I wrote, probably because I wrote about it in Spanish, Romanian, Korean, and Japanese. It was Sunday, so I talked about going to church and Bible class. I have begun attending a Bible class taught in Spanish. It has been a while since I had the opportunity to go to a Spanish Bible class, and it is good for my listening skills. Next week, on Friday, I will begin teaching a Bible class in Spanish. I hope I can do a lot of good and help a lot of people. That is what I also help with my blog. I hope this series of blogs about the Spanish grammar in the language chapter has helped people not only understand Spanish grammar a little better, but also understand God’s perspective on language in the church. We have done verses 1-15 of 1 Corinthians 14, so we will next go on to verse 16. Understanding the grammar helps you really understand what you are reading. You can explain the meaning of a passage in the Bible by connecting it to the verses around it and looking at the grammar.

El da gracias a Dios. (He thanks God.)Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Verse 16: Porque si bendices solo con el espiritu, ‘el que ocupa lugar de simple oyente, ?Como dira’ a Amen a tu accion de gracias? pues no sabe lo que has dicho.

Porque si bendices solo con el espiritu, – “Because if you bless only with the spirit.” “Porque” is only one word, not two, so it means “because.” If it were two words, “por que,” it would mean “why?” “Si” doesn’t have an accent mark, so it means “if.” If it had an accent mark, it would mean “yes.” “Bendices” comes from “bendecir” which means “to bless.” To change it to second person, singular, simple present tense, use “bendices.” “You” is the pronoun embedded in “bendices.” “Solo” means “only.” “Con” means “with, and it is the beginning of a prepositional phrase. “El” has no accent mark and comes before a noun, so it is a singular, masculine, article meaning “the.” It is masculine because the noun it is connected to, “espiritu,” is masculine. “Espiritu” is the object of the preposition, “con.”

Cuando un hombrese levanta y ora, los otros son oyentes (When a man stands up and prays, the others are listeners.) Photo by Immortal shots – See latest on Pexels.com

‘el que ocupa lugar de simple oyente, – “he that occupies a place of simple listener.” ” ‘El” has an accent mark, so it is the second person singular personal subject pronoun, “he.” “Que” in the middle of the sentence, is usually “that,” the relative pronoun that begins a relative clause that usually functions as an adjective telling about the noun or pronoun it comes after, even in English, so this relative clause will tell us about ” ‘el.” “Ocupa” comes from “ocupar.” “Ocupar” means “to occupy” or “to take up space.” “Ocupa” is in the third person singular simple present tense form, and the pronoun embedded in “ocupa” is either “he, she, it, or the respectful “you.” Since this relative clause tells about “‘el,” the pronoun embedded in “ocupa” is ” ‘el.” “Lugar” is a noun meaning “place.” “Lugar” answers the question “What does he occupy?” He occupies a place (lugar), so “lugar” is the object of the preposition. “De” can mean “from” or “of,” and here, it means “of.” “Simple” means “simple” just as it looks like. It is an adjective used before the noun which means that emphasis has been put on it because it isn’t used after the noun, “oyente.” “Oyente” comes form “oir.” “Oir” is the verb form and means “to hear.” Usually, in English, we would say “listener” instead of “hearer” as the noun form of a person who hears or listens. “Oyente” is translated into English as “listener” or “auditor.” In English, “auditory” is an adjective related to “listening” or “hearing.”

?Como dira’ a Amen a tu accion de gracias?” – “How will he say ‘Amen’ to your action of thanksgiving?” “Como” used at the beginning of a question means “how.” If it were inside the sentence, it would mean “like” or “as.” “Dira’ ” comes from “decir” which means “to say.” “Dira’ ” is in future tense, third person singular which means that “he, she, it, or the respectful ‘you’ ” could be embedded into it. Since it is referring back to “oyente,” (the listener), and “the listener” refers back to ” ‘el.” then we know that “Dira’ ” has ” ‘el.” (he) embedded in it. “a” is used twice, and means “to” in both places. “Amen” is the same in both languages, and it means “so be it,” or “I agree.” “Tu” has no accent mark and comes before a noun, “accion.” so it means “your.” If it had an accent mark, it would mean “you.” “De,” again, means “of.” “Gracias,” we all know means “thanks,” and in this case, it is used as an object of the preposition, “de,” so we need a noun form, so it becomes “thanksgiving.”

Si ‘el oro en una otra lengua, la gente no saben que ‘el ha dicho. (If he prays in another language, the people don’t know what he has said.)Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

pues no sabe que has dicho – “then, he doesn’t know what you have said.” “Pues” could mean either “well,” or “then.” Either of these words would fit into our clause. “No” before a verb negates it like “not” does in English. “Sabe” comes from “saber” which means “to know.” “Sabe” is third person singular simple present tense. It could have any of these pronouns embedded in it: he, she, it, respectful you, but we know that it is referring back to “oyente” which we know refers back to ” ‘el,” so we know the pronoun is ” ‘el” again. “No sabe” means “he doesn’t know.”

que has dicho – “what you have said.” This is a relative clause again. Usually “que” in the sentence means “that” in English, but sometimes it means something else. Here it is the relative pronoun “what.” “Has dicho” comes from “decir.” “Decir” means “to say.” “Has dicho” is in present perfect tense and is second person singular. Present perfect tense is a kind of past tense that begins in the past and continues until now. The pronoun embedded in “has dicho” is “you” because it is second person singular. “Dicho” is the past participle, “said.” The past participle is used in both English and Spanish to create present perfect tense. In place of “has,” in English, we use “have.” In English, it takes “has or have” and the past participle to make present perfect tense. In Spanish, it takes “he, has, has, hemos, or han” and the past participle to make present perfect tense.

Orar en el espiritu es sentir sus oraciones. (To pray in the spirit is to feel your prayers.)Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Let’s put this all together: “Because if you bless only with the spirit, he that occupies the place of simple listener, How will he say ‘I agree’ to your action of thanksgiving when he doesn’t know what you have said?”

If you remember, the verse just before this one said we need to pray with the spirit and pray with the understanding. And before that, it said that if someone speaks in another language, there must be an interpreter when the church comes together because everything is done to build up the church when the church comes together. No one is built up if they don’t understand. God wants “listener” to be built up by what is being said when we come together as a church. An action of “thanksgiving” must mean a prayer because we always say “thankyou” to God when we pray. It sounds like someone is leading a prayer, and the person listening must agree with what that person says, but he can’t agree if you are speaking a language he doesn’t understand.

‘El hace bueno porque sentir sus oraciones. (He does well because he feels his prayers.) No es como un robot. (He is not like a robot.)Photo by Ric Rodrigues on Pexels.com

Verse 17: Porque tu’, a la verdad, bien das gracias; pero el otro no es edificado’.

Porque tu’ – “because you.” Again, “porque” means “because” because it is one word, and not two. “Tu’ ” means “you” because it has an accent mark. Without the mark, it becomes “your.” This means that “tu’ ” (you) is the subject of this sentence.

a la verdad – “in truth.” Literally, “a la verdad” means “to the truth,” but we don’t say it that way in English.

bien das gracias -“you give thanks well.” “Bien” means “well.” “Bien” (well) is an adverb.) An adverb tells about a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. In this case, it tells about “das” (you give) which is a verb. In English, we don’t put our adverbs before the verb they tell about. There are different places for the adverb in the sentence, but as I have told my students from many years, if you aren’t sure where the adverb goes, put it at the end of the clause or sentence because it goes well there every time, so I put it at the end of the English clause. “Das” comes from “dar” which means “to give.” “Das” is in second person singular simple present tense which means the pronoun is “you.” “Gracias” (thanks) or (thanksgiving) is a noun, and is the direct object of “das” (you give). What do you give? You give ‘thanks.”

El apostol Pablo estaba ensenado (The apostel Paul was teaching.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

pero el otro no es edificado’ – “but the other is not edified.” “Pero” means “but.” The Apostle Paul is a good teacher. Before he tells them what they did wrong, he compliments them and tells them that they do a good job giving thanks, but then he takes them another direction with the conjuction “pero,” (but). When I was taught to teach, I was taught that when I wanted to correct a student, I needed to say something positive about what they had done before I corrected them because it softens their feelings, but they have to be corrected to learn. “El” is the singular masculine article “the.” It is not “he” because there is no accent mark. “El otro” means “the other” referring to the person who is the “listener” in the verse before this one. “No es” means “isn’t.” This “es” comes from “ser” which is the “to be” verb used to identify things or to give an adjective that is not a feeling describing it. “Edificado” is the past participle of the verb “edificar.” which means “to built up” or “to edify.” In both English and Spanish, the past participle can be used as an adjective, and “edificado” is used as an adjective here.

Let’s put verse 17 together: “because you, in truth, you give thanks well, but the other is not edified.”

Again, when it is talking about “give thanks,” it is talking about a prayer. So, they are doing a good job with their prayers, but they are not leading the prayers in a language that others can understand, so no one is built up.

Apostol Pablo tuve un cerebro bueno. (The apostle Paul had a good brain.)Photo by meo on Pexels.com

Verse 18: Doy gracias a Dios que hablo en lenguas mas que todos vosotros.

Doy gracias a Dios – “I give thanks to God.””Doy” comes from “dar” which means “to give.” “Doy” is in simple present tense, first person singular. This means the apostle Paul is talking about what he personally does all the time. “Doy gracias” means “I give thanks” which means he “prays.” “A” means “to” and “Dios” means “God.” “A Dios” is a prepositional phrase. “A” (to) is the preposition, and “Dios” is the noun that is the object of the preposition.”

que hablo en lenguas – “that I speak in languages.” “Que” is the relative pronoun again that means “that.” “Hablo” comes from “hablar” which means “to speak.” “Hablo” is first person singular, simple present tense. This means that “I” is embedded in “hablo,” and that it is the apostle Paul who speaks languages. He was a missionary. He traveled to many countries teaching people about God. He had to speak in several languages so he could teach the people. “En” means “in.” “En” is the preposition, and “lenguas” (languages) is the noun that is the object of the preposition. What does he speak? He speaks ‘languages.’ “Lenguas” (languages) is in the plural form because it has an “s” on the end, so the apostle Paul was a polyglot meaning someone who speaks many languages.

Mas que todos vosotros. – “more than all you guys.” “Mas” means “more.” “Que” often is translated “that” in the middle of the sentence, but here, it is used as a comparative, meaning “than.” We know that because of “mas” (more). “Todos” means “all,” and it is masculine which in Spanish means it incorporates both the males and the females. It is referring to “vosotros” which is plural, so it needs the “s” on the end. “Vosotros” is the plural “you guys.”

Let’s put this verse all together: “I give thanks to God that I speak languages more than all you guys.”

Hay perosnas que dicen que la gente que son Cristianos no son muy intelegentes, pero no aceptas que ellos dicen porque puedes entender en mas que una lengua. (There are people who say that Christians aren’t very intelligent, but don’t accept what they say because you can understand in more than one language.) Cristianos estudain mas que los otros. (Christians study more than the others.) Cada semana, muchos leer la Biblia cada dia y otros libros cada dia, y van a los clases de Biblia. (Every week, many read the Bible everyday, and other books everyday, and they go to Bible classes.)Cristianos conocen o tratar concocer. (The Christians know or try to know.) Solamente una persona que no tartar conocer es tonto.(Only people who don’t try to know are dumb.) Y eres intelegente. (And you are smart.) Photo by Immortal shots – See latest on Pexels.com

Now, when the apostle Paul gives us advice about what to do with our languages in the church, we know we can listen from more than just one stand point. Yes, he was an apostle meaning he was sent as a teacher from God, but also, he spoke many languages. He understands those of us who speak more than one language. He knows we want an opportunity to use what we know. He doesn’t think speaking in a foreign language is a bad thing because he gives thanks to God for the languages he speaks.

However, we have been learning that there is a proper time to use our languages and a proper time to sit down and be quiet. If no one understands, it doesn’t do any good to speak a language in church because the object of the church service is to built everyone up. It isn’t for people to be seen as some people think it is. It isn’t for the preacher to point out our sins. It is so that the people can be built up as Christians. Yes, sometimes correction needs to take place, but the apostle Paul gave us the great example of how to correct someone. He didn’t point anyone out in particular, and he softened the blow by saying something nice about them first. God made church services for us, for us to be built up.

Now, let’s talk about an important aspect of the Spanish grammar.

1) What is a past participle? Have you ever heard of the principle parts of the verb? Here are some examples in English. This is a chart I often draw on the board for my students.

infinitive/simple present tense/simple past tense/future tense/present participle/past


to say/ say, says/ said/ /will say / saying /said

to eat/ eat, eats/ ate/ /will eat /eating /eaten

to see/ see, sees/ saw/ /will see /seeing /seen

to write/ write, writes/ wrote/ /will write /writing /written

Most languages have these designations that will help you in grammar. In English, to use that present participle, we need to either make it present progressive tense (ex, I am saying), make it past progressive tense (ex, I was saying), or make it into a gerund (ex, “Saying that is good.” Another example: “Walking is tiring” or “the walking man went home.”) If you want to use the past participle, here are ways to use it: “I have eaten” (present perfect tense). “The written page is hard to read in Japanese” (used as an adjective). “I had seen” (past perfect tense). “It is written” (used as an adjective).

They do the same kind of thing in Spanish. Here are examples of how to use “dicho”(the past participle that means “said.”)

present perfect tense:

he dicho – I have said

has dicho – you have said

ha dicho – he, she, or it has said, or respectful you have said.

hemos dicho – we have said

han dicho – they have said or you (respectful and plural) has said

The gerund:

Diciendo ‘esta – saying that (Diciendo ‘esta es un idea buena – Saying that is a good idea.)

Hablado – speaking (Hablado y escrito es Bueno- Speaking and writing is good.)

The present progressive: (you can see that the present participle changes when it changes from a gerund to a progressive verb in Spanish, but it stays the same in English.)

estoy hablando – I am speaking

estas hablando – you are speaking

esta hablando -he, she, it is speaking or you respectful are speaking

estamos hablando – we are speaking

estan hablando – they are speaking or you (plural and respectful) are speaking

The past progressive:

estaba hablando – I was speaking

estabas hablando – you were speaking

estaba hablando – he, she, or it was speaking or respectful you were speaking

estabamos hablando – we were speaking

estaban hablando – they were speaking

Past or present participle as an adjective:

‘El es bien hablado – He is well spoken (In English, we use the past participle, but in Spanish, the present participle)

Es dicho que ‘el es el hijo de Dios – It is said that he is the son of God. (The past participle is used in both languages.)

Es escrito que ‘el es el hijo de Dios – It is written that he is the son of God. (The past participle is used in both langauges.)

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