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Explaining Spanish Grammar From the Language Chapter, Part 9

Yes, it does seem to take a long time to get through a chapter, even in Spanish, a language that English speakers find a bit easier than some of the others, and even though I explain more than one verse in a blog. However, I think this chapter is an important one for us to understand, and grammar is a sure way to understand it. After all, there are so many people who follow my blog who speak another language or at least have an interest in other languages. On top of that, there are Mexican flooding into America, and some can speak English and some can’t. Even beyond that, the most important reason, we want to be right with God. We want to do things his was. We don’t want to make up our own rules because that isn’t making God God. It is making ourselves God. We study to understand him and learn what he wants.

When the church assembles, if someone speaks in a foreign language, there must be a translator. At the Del City church of Christ, I have heard talented people get up and say everything in both English and Spanish. They also have all English or all Spanish Bible classes. They are trying hard to accommodate the Mexicans who have been flooding into Oklahoma, but still make sure that the original people can understand. I have heard the song leader in this picture lead songs in both English and Spanish.

So far, in this chapter, we have learned that if someone comes into an assembly of God’s people and they don’t speak the language, they need to just sit down and not stand up and talk unless there is a translator. In fact, we have learned that it is necessary, if someone comes into our worship services, for us to include them by providing a translator if possible. I haven’t been in Oklahoma long, but I have been told that once a month, the church I have been attending here has a bilingual worship service so that Mexicans coming in and the Americans who have been here forever can worship in the same room. It is Biblical.

I have seen Americans overseas stand up and speak in English without a translator, and no one in the audience really understands. Without a translator, according to 1 Corinthians 14, they should sit down. I have seen people stand up in front of the people of the church or sit in the pews and sway and jabber saying it is the holy spirit, but 1 Corinthians 14 says that if you do that, it makes no sense because no one, not even you understand what you are saying. The apostle Paul, the writer of this chapter, explains that just as when we play musical instruments, the notes have meaning, so when we speak, words have meaning, and he encourages us to use our words. The apostle Paul was a polyglot which means he spoke several languages, and he says he would rather speak five words understood than ten thousand words that no one understand. The apostle Paul says this even refers to when we are praying at home, use words, don’t jabber, and make sure you understand and everyone else understands what you are saying. Otherwise, it would be like speaking into the wind.

When a preacher preaches, if there are people there who don’t understand him, he needs a translator.// Guess, what, with the posts you see from me, I have been the translator for many Bible classes all over the world. It shouldn’t surprise you.Photo by Matheus Viana on Pexels.com

He has already told us that preaching is more important than speaking in other languages because the goal of worship is to build one another up. If what we say doesn’t help, then don’t say it. He also says in verse 20 that the goal in Christianity is not to have malice, but to think pure, like children, but not to argue like children like children.

Now, we are ready for the next verse.

When the apostle Paul talks about “the law,” the only law that existed when he was writing was the Old Testament.//Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels.com

Verse 21: En la ley esta’ escrito: En otras lenguas y con otros labios hablare’ a ‘este pueblo; y ni aun asi’ me oiran, dice el Senor.

En la ley esta’ escrito: – “In the law, it is written.” “En” is an easy word to recognize in Spanish. It usually means “in.” “La ley” means “the law.” “La” is a feminine, singular “the” because it has an “a” and no “s.” “Ley” must be a feminine noun because the translator has coupled it with “la,” and we know all the nouns and their articles must be the same gender and number. This means it is a particular law, one law. Which law? The only law he could be referring to is the old law, the Old Testament because when this was being written, the New Testament wasn’t written yet. Since “en” is a preposition and “ley” is a noun, that means that “en la ley” is a prepositional phrase, and “ley” is the object of the preposition.

“Esta’ ” needs that apostrophe because if it wasn’t there, you wouldn’t know if it meant “this” or “is,” but because it is there, we know it is a third person singular, simple present tense form of “be” which is “is.” “Escrito” comes from “escribir” which means “to write.” “Escrito” is the past participle that translates to English as “written.” This means that “esta’ escrito” is a passive voice verb that means “is written,” and we don’t know who did the writing with this verb conjugation.

“In other languages and with other lips.”Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

En otros lenguas y con otros labios – “In other languages and with other lips.” Again, “en” means “in.” “Otras” is feminine because of the “a” and plural because of the “s,” and it is a noun that means “languages.” “Otras” matches “lenguas” in number and in gender. The “a” in “lenguas” means it is feminine also. “Y” means “and.” “Con” means “with.” “Otros” is masculine beacause of the “o” and plural because of the “s,” and it means “other” just like “otras” also means “other,” but just a different gender. “Labios” means “lips.” “labios” is also masculine and plural, and it matches “otros.” “En” and “Con” are both prepostions, and “lenguas” and “labios” are both nouns used as the object of the preposition, so “en otros lenguas” and “con otros labios” are both prepositional phrases.

The apostle Paul traveled around teaching about God in different languages. The Bible even says he went to Spain. Photo by slon_dot_pics on Pexels.com

hablare’ a ‘este pueblo – “I will speak to this village or people.” “Hablare’ ” comes from “hablar” which means “to speak.” “Hablare’ ” is conjugated into first person singular future tense. Future tense is slightly easier than the other tenses because usually, you leave the verb intact, and then you add the ending. The ending for first person singular in future tense is usually “e’,” however, I have seen exceptions where it is “i’,” “A” means “to.” ” ‘Este” means “this.” “Pueblo” can mean either “village” or “people.” ” ‘Este” is a masculine, singular form of “this,” and “pueblo” is also in the masculine singular form. Everything in Spanish matches. You figure out which word in the clause is most important, and you match everything in gender and number to it. After this clause, there is a semi-colon (;). A semi-colon means that these two sentences are closely related. In fact, they are so closely related the writer of the sentence is tempted to put them in the same sentence. What is on either side of the semi-colon must be a complete sentence, and you don’t have to capitalize the first letter of the second sentence.

Y ni aun asi’ me oiran – “And, neither, even like this, will they hear me.” Again, “y” means “and.” “Ni” means “niether.” “Aun” means “even.” “Asi’ ” means “like this.” “Me” is a direct object pronoun that means “me.” It is pronounced “meh.” Direct object pronouns are often place before the verb in Spanish, and this one is. A direct object receives the direct action of the verb. “Oiran” comes from “oir” which means “to hear.” It is the future tense, third person plural form of the verb.” Remember, I said to make future tense, leave the basic verb intact and add the ending to the basic verb. “An” is the ending for third person plural, “they.”

Let’s put this verse together: “In the law, it is written: In other languages and with other lips, I will speak to this village or people, and neither, even like this, will they hear me.”

In this verse, the apostle Paul is quoting from Isaiah 28:11, from the Old Testament, as he said, “the law.” The apostle Paul was a really smart guy who had been to lots of school and studied with the best teachers of the day. It was just like he had graduated from an Ivy league university. He was also a polyglot. He knows about language, and he knows about what is in the Bible.

Some people won’t listen even if you speak in their language. Some of them don’t expect foreigners to speak their language, so don’t even listen to begin with. I will never forget the old woman in Romania who was just not listening to me because she knew I was American, but all of a sudden her eyes got big, and she even jumped a bit and said in Romanian, “Hey! You are speaking in Romanian!” She was downright shocked! Until then, she hadn’t listen to a word I was saying because she expected me to speak English.Photo by Kirill Palii on Pexels.com

1 Corinthians 14: 22: Asi’ que, las lenguas son por senal, no a las creyentes, sino a los incredulous; pero la profesia, no a los incredulous, sino a los creyentes.

Asi’ que – ” So that.” Sometimes “asi’ ” means “like this,” and sometimes just “so.” Here, it means “so.” “Que” can mean “what” if it begins a question, but if it is in the middle of a sentence, it usually means “that.” “Que” is in the middle of the sentence here.

If you learn to speak a language to talk to other people, it is a sign that you care to speak to them. One of the reasons I learned to speak Romanian was because many young people spoke English, but I always wanted to talk to the old people because I knew they had a lot to offer. I found them interesting, but the only way to talk to them was to speak Romanian, so for that and other reasons, I learned. Learning a language is a sign you care. Photo by Timothy Paule II on Pexels.com

las lenguas son por senal – “The languages are for a sign.” That “senal” should have an “ene” sign over it which looks like an “s” lying on it’s side, and “senal” is pronounced: “senyal.” “Las” is a plural, feminine “the.” “A” makes is feminine, and “s” makes is plural. “Lenguas” which means “languages,” is also a plural feminine noun. The nouns rule the other words connected to them. That is why we need “las” in front of “lenguas.” They have to match in gender and number. “Son” comes from “ser.” “Ser” is a state of being verb that identifies things. “Son” is third person, plural, simple present tense. Third person plural means that “they” is embedded into “son.” Simple present tense means that it happens everyday or al the time. “Por senal” is a prepositional phrase. “Por” (for) is the preposition, and “senal” is the object noun of the preposition.

People who already believe in God don’t need you to learn a language as much as those who don’t believe. The Bible says they can’t believe if someone doesn’t teach them, and if they speak a foreign language, you can’t teach them unless you care enough to learn their language. .Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

no a las creyentes – “not to the believers.” “No” means “not.” “A” means “to.” “Las” is a plural feminine “the” because of the “as.” “Creyentes” comes from “creer” which means “to believe.” “Creyentes” is the form that is a plural noun, hence “believers.”

sino a los incredulous – “but to the unbelievers.” There is more than one way to say “but” in Spanish: “pero” and “sino.” “A” means “to.” “Los” is a masculine, plural “the” because of the “os.” “Incredulos” is also Masculine and plural because it also has “o” and “s,” so they match like they should. “Cred” is the part of the word that comes from “creer.” In Romanian, “cred” actualy means “I believe.” We also have “incredulous” in English which means they are a skeptic. That “in” on the front of the word make it “un, ” so “incredulous” means “unbelievers.”

People who don’t believe in God usually don’t attend Bible classes, but I always convinced people just to read the Bible with me. I didn’t’ start by taking them to church. They are more likely to get more out of it if they have read about the life of Christ, so I begin just by sitting and reading with them, often in a foreign language.. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

pero la profecia, no a los incredulous – “but the preaching is not to the unbeliever.” “Pero” means “but.” “La” is a singular, feminine “the.” The “a” tells you it is feminine, and the lack of “s” tells you it is singular. “Profecia” can mean “prophecy” or “preaching.” “Profesia” is a feminine, singular noun that rules “la,” and they must match. “No” means “not.” “A” means “to.” “Los” is the masculine, plural “the” because of the “os.” It is paired up with “incredulous.”

sino a las creyentes – “but to the believers.” I have already explained everything in this clause in other places in this blog.

Let’s put verse 22 together:So that, the languages are for a sign, not to the believers, but to the unbelievers.”

Now, the apostle Paul goes on to explain what he is talking about.

What kind of worship services would a group this big have if they were all speaking in different languages at once? No one could even hear themselves think, and the apostle Paul discourages everyone speaking in different languages at once.Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Verse 23: Si, pues, toda la iglesia se reune en un solo lugar, y todos hablan en lenguas y entran indoctos o incredulous, ?No diran que estais locos?”

Si, pues, toda la iglesia se reune en un solo lugar, – If, then, all the church is together in one place.” “Si” without an accent mark means “if.” If there was an accent mark: “si’ ,” then it would mean “yes” but we don’t have an accent mark. “Pues” can means “well” or “then.” and here it means “then.” “Toda” means “all,” and it is singular and feminine, and the noun that rules it is “iglesia” which is singular and feminine.” “La” is also singular and feminine and ruled by “iglesia,” and means “the.” “Iglesia” means “church.” “Se reune” comes from “se” and “reunir.” “Se” is a pronoun that means “themselves.” If there was an accent mark on “se’,” it would mean “I know,” but there is no accent mark, so it means “themselves.” Yes, direct object pronouns can come before the verb in Spanish. The verb is “reune.” “Reune” is singular and third person simple present tense.” The pronoun that is embedded into “reune” is “ella” (her) because “ella” refers to “iglesia.” “En” means “in.” “Un” means “one,” and “solo” means “only.” “Lugar” means “place.” “En un solo lugar” is a prepositional phrase with “en as the preposition and “lugar” as the noun object of the preposition.

Could you imagine how crazy it would feel if you were in this group and they were all talking all at once all in different languages?Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

y todos hablan en lenguas – “And everyone speaks in languages.” Again, “y” means “and.” “Todos” can be “all” or “everyone.” “Todos” is plural and masculine, but it doesn’t mean that everyone is male. In Spanish, if the group is male and female, they use a masculine word. “Hablan” comes from “hablar” which means “to speak.” “Hablan” is in third person plural simple present tense. That means that the pronoun embedded in “hablan” is “they.” “En lenguas” means “in languages.” This means that everyone is speaking a different langauge. However, if that happens, how can they understand one another? It would sound to the others like they were jabbering.

y entran indoctos o incredulous – “and unlearned or unbelievers enter.” Again, “y” means “and.” the next word is a verb, but in English, the next word is a noun, in fact, a double subject: “unlearned or unbelievers.” Yes, often the subject comes after the verb in Spanish. If the verb comes before the subject, it means the verb is more important than the subject. “Entran” comes from “entrar” which means “to enter.” “Entran” is third person plural simple present tense which means the pronoun embedded in “entran” is “they.” “Indoctos” means “unlearned.” It has an “s” on the end, so it is plural. “O” in Spanish means “or.” That means you can take a choice between “inductos” and “incredulous.” I have already explained to you that “incredulous” means “unbelievers.” There is a comma after “incredulous” which means that it is the end of the “if” clause that was begun at the beginning of the sentence, and we know the sentence is not finished.

?No diran que estais locos? – “Wouldn’t or won’t they say that you are crazy?” In Spanish, if there is a question, it begins with an upside down question mark, but I don’t have that question mark on my keyboard, so I just used a regular question mark. “No diran” means “will they not say.” However, in the Spanish word order, it is the same as the word order of a sentence, but because of the question mark at the beginning, we know it is a question, so in English, we change the word order to a question word order. I changed “will not” to “wouldn’t” because this is the conclusion to a conditional clause, and conditional clauses are not concrete, but hypothetical, so this question also needs to be hypothetical in English, so instead of saying “won’t,” I put “wouldn’t.” “Won’t” is the contraction of “will not.” “Diran” comes for “decir” which means “to day.” “Diran” is in future tense third person plural which means the pronoun “they” is embedded in it. The “they refers to “indoctos” or “incredulos.”

“que” is in the middle of the sentence, so it means “that.” “Estais” comes from “estar” which is the stat of being verb that tells how something is as well as where it is. “Estais” is the the present tense, second person plural form, that form my Spanish teach told me to ignore because I wouldn’t see it very often, and she is right. I hardly see it. Second person plural means that “you guys” is imbedded into it. “Locos” is the plural form of “loco” which means “crazy.” It is plural because of “you guys” being embedded into “estais.”

Let’s put this verse all together: “If, then, if the church is altogether in one place, and everyone speaks in languages, and unlearned or unbelievers enter, wouldn’t they say you are crazy?”

When the people were at the Tower of Babel, initially, they could all speak the same language, and it was easy for them to work together. They were accomplishing so much together, they felt so much pride they though they were equivalent to God, so God confounded the languages, and they dispersed. If people can’t communicate, they won’t stay together. Photo by Picography on Pexels.com

The apostle Paul set up a funny scenario for us to understand better. Have you ever been in a church meeting where everyone was talking at the same time, but no one was speaking the same language? When I was in Korea, during chapel, they Koreans were beginning something they called, “the noisy prayer.” Everyone spoke at once, and many weren’t even speaking a language, but just jabbering. I was shocked to even hear one professor howl! I knew what they were doing wasn’t taught in the Bible because I studied this chapter a long time ago, but someone had duped them into thinking it was holy for everyone to jabber out loud at the same time. The first time I was in a room where they were doing this, I had visited a Pentecostal church in Romania, and everyone was crying and talking out loud, and I couldn’t tell if they were actually speaking languages or just jabbering. I thank God that I had relative I didn’t understand who were Pentecostal, so when I first became a Christian, I studied the Holy Spirit, and I learned that jabbering was not the Holy Spirit. Signs of the Holy Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22 & 23. It says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things, there is no law.”

Those professors were in competition to see who could be the smartest and the most spiritual. I think they missed the point. Jabbering and howling made them neither.//Photo by Davis Sanchez on Pexels.com

It seems that the professors at my university who were trying to become more holy and the Pentecostal church I entered in Romania didn’t understand what the Holy Spirit was. They just wanted to be more holy. However, as the apostle Paul points out, it doesn’t make them more holy, but makes people think they are crazy, his exact words.

If they think you are crazy because everyone is jabbering on in a different language, or having a “noisy prayer,” there are people who will run away from god as fast as they can because they will think it is a religion of crazy people. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The apostle Paul wants them to learn foreign languages to teach people that don’t speak their language, not for everyone to speak at once in a different language and make the people they want to teach think they are crazy. My dad ran from Christianity for years because he had been to one of those Pentecostal churches in America where people were “speaking” in tongues.” He thought anyone who had anything to do with Christianity was crazy, and when I became a Christian, I studied hard to make sure that I wasn’t believing something crazy. The apostle Paul doesn’t want everyone speaking a different language at once.

I still study my Bible a lot, but in the beginning, I chased this topic of what the Holy Spirit was because I had to know that my dad wasn’t right that Christians were crazy. Christians are not crazy, but there are those who don’t think and need to study. God doesn’t endorse “speaking in tongues,” or “noisy prayers.” He wants us to have our heads on our shoulders and know what we are doing. He does endorse, learning foreign languages, but not for everyone to speak a different one at once. He wants us to use the foreign languages to translate Bible lessons and to teach people who aren’t Christians who speak another language like the apostle Paul did. // Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

If we continue, he has more information for us, but this blog is getting too long. The rest of his explanations about language will have to wait for another day.

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