We have come a long way in this chapter. In fact we are on verse 26. The apostle Paul has had a lot to say, and I hope you are learning about Spanish grammar as well as learning about God’s views about language in the church. We have learned that knowing a foreign language is a useful gift, but preaching is even more useful because everything is supposed to be done to edify or built up the church. The apostle Paul didn’t stop there. He encourages us to use translators if someone comes in who doesn’t speak the language the rest of the church speaks. He encourages us not to jabber on with no meaning. He encourages us not to talk all at the same time. He points out that language is like music. Every song sounds good and we know which song it is because there are notes that make the tune, and he compares this to language. He says that when we speak, to make sentences, we must use words. He says that if everyone is jabbering on in different languages, and an unbeliever or unlearned person comes in, he will think we are all crazy, and we won’t be able to help them at all. However, if there is a preacher with a translator, the person who comes in can sit and listen and be convinced that what is being said is true. We even found out that the apostle Paul was a polyglot, a person who speaks many languages, The apostle Paul actually says so much about language that it is hard to recap all of it. Let us continue with the chapter now. You can get the grammar review as we talk about the grammar in each verse, and we can learn what else the apostle Paul wants to tell us about language in 1 Corinthians 14.
Verse 26: “?Que hay, pues, hermanos? Cuando os reunis, cada una de vosotros tiene salmo, tiene doctrina, tiene lengua, tiene revelacion, tiene interpretacion. Hagase todo para edification.”
?Que hay, pues, hermanos? – “Well, brothers, what is there?” or “What is there, then, brothers?” To begin with, that question mark at the beginning is not a mistake. In Spanish, there is an upside down question mark at the beginning of a question, but my computer doesn’t have an upside down question mark, so I just used a regular question mark. Spanish warns you that a question is coming. “Que” means “what” when it begins a sentence. If it is inside of a sentence, it is usually the relative pronoun “that,” and sometimes the comparative “than.” However, we know this is a question. “Hay” is an expression in Spanish that it takes more than one word to say in English. “Hay” means “there is” or “there are.” “Pues” has two meanings in English, either “then” or “well.” “Hermanos” means “brothers.” “Hermanos” is masculine and plural because the “o” makes it masculine and the “s” makes it plural.
Cuando os reunis – “When you guys gather yourselves.” This is a “when” clause. It is a clause because it has both a subject and a verb. Phrases don’t have a subject and a verb. “Cuando” means “when.” “Os” is a plural “yourselves.” It is a reflexive, second person plural pronoun. “Reunis” comes from “reunir” that means “to gather.” “Reunis” is second person plural simple present tense. This means that “you guys” is embedded into the verb. It also means that it happens everyday or all the time. It happens usually. the subject of this clause is “you guys,” and the verb of this clause is “gather.”
Cada una de vosotros tiene salmo – “Every one of you has a hymn.” “Cada” means “every.” “Una” means “one.” “Cada” ends in an “a,” and never changes, so it rules the grammar. The “a” means it is feminine, and that means that we need the feminine form of “one” which is “una” because it also ends in an “a.” “De” means either “from” or “of,” and in this case, it is “of.” “Of” is a preposition, so a prepositional phrase is coming. “Vosotros” means “you guys.” It is the second person plural pronoun that can be used as either a subject or an object. Here, it is an object of the preposition “de.” “Cada una de vosotros” is a subject phrase, the subject of the sentence. “Tiene” comes from “tener” which means “to have.” “Tiene” is third person singular, simple present tense of “tener.” This means that it happens everyday, all the time, or usually. It also means that the pronoun embedded in the verb could be “he, she, or a respectful you,” referring to “cada una” (every one). “Salmo” means “psalm,” so it could have been translated like that, however, that would make it confusing because of the book of Psalms in the Bible. However, the book of Psalms is the hymn book the Jews used in the temple. “Salmo” is the direct object of “tiene.” The way to know the direct object is to ask “what?” “What does every one of them have?” “salmo.” The answer is always the direct object.
tiene doctrina – “he or she has a teaching” or “you have a teaching.” I have already explained “tiene” to you above. the subject of this “tiene” is also “cada una de vosotros.” “Doctrina” means literally means “doctrine,” but for many people, the word doctrine has become slightly colored in today’s world. Some people even think that a “doctrine” may be something other than the Bible that someone pushes because of the shades of meaning of “doctrine” tying to change in English. However, the root meaning of “doctrine” is just “a teaching.” “Doctrina” is another direct object. “What does every one of them have?” “doctrina.”
tiene lengua – “he or she has a language” or “you have a language.” Again, everything I have said about “tiene” up to know above is still true here. This time, the direct object is “lengua.” What does every one of them have” “lengua.” The old word for language is used here because “lengua” actually means “tongue.” In old times, in English, we used to call a language a “tongue,” and they did the same thing in Spanish. The word I have heard more commonly used among Mexicans is “idioma” instead of “lengua,” but I have heard “lengua” used too. “Idiom” in English also means “language,” and “idioma” in Spanish also means “language.”
tiene revelacion – “you have (or he or she has) a revelation, a discovery, or a surprise.” Everything I have said about where “tiene” is used in other places in this sentence is also true about this “tiene.” “Revelacion” can mean several things. In English, we have a tendency to see “revelation” and thing of the book of Revelation and thing perhaps it is a prophecy, but not particularly. If you look at the others means “revelacion” can translate into when we use English, yes, it could mean a prophecy, but maybe not. Have you ever been in a Bible class discussing a scripture, and someone brings a new insight that surprises everyone? Or maybe they discover something about Christianity that no one really realized before? With the way this words translates, I get the feeling that they have figured something out that is new to everyone and have come to share it. Again, this “revelacion” is a direct object. Try the “what” test.
tiene interpretacion – “you have (or he or she has) an interpretation.” Everything I have said about “tiene” in this sentence up until now also applies to this “tiene.” “Interpretacion,” again, is the direct object. Try the “what” test again. It doesn’t say which they are interpreting. Perhaps they have figured out how to interpret a language that someone speaks. Perhaps they are ready to interpret something they have learned about God like the “revelacion.”
There is no doubt that the subject of this sentence is the phrase, “cada una de vosotros,” and the verb is “tiene,” and “tiene” is listed many times. As an English professor, if a student brought a paper to me with “tiene” written so many times, I might look at it and say, “take all those ‘tiene”s out because you really don’t need so many of them, and only use one unless I felt it was for emphasis. The apostle Paul was a very well educated man. He went to the best schools of the time and had the very best professors available, so he probably used all those “tiene”s for emphasis. He was emphasizing that everyone had something to offer.
Let’s put this question and this sentence together: “Well, brothers, what is there? When you come together, every one of you has a hymn, you have a teaching, you have a language, you have a discovery, you have an interpretation,”
Hagase todo para edificacion – “Do everything for edification of one another.” “Haga” comes from “hacer” which means “to do” or “to make.” “Haga” is the request or command form. If we were being polite in English saying “haga,” we would say, “please do it.” “Se” is a reflexive pronoun that means “each other.” “Todo” means “all” or “everything.” “Todo” is in the masculine form because it ends in “o.” This means that everything, things that are masculine and feminine can both be included in this “todo.” If they want to be specific and only talk about feminine things, they would say “toda.” “Para” means “for.” “Para” is a preposition which means there will be a prepositional phrase. To make a prepositional [phrase, you need a preposition an object of the preposition that could be a noun or a pronoun after it. “Edificacion” (edification) is the object of the preposition.
Now, this verse is finished, and this last sentence give us the point of the verse: Do everything for the edification of one another.” Paul is repeating himself again because he has said this before in this chapter. If he repeats himself, it means it is really important, so take note.
Verse 27: Si habla alguno en lengua extrana, sea esto por dos, o a lo mas tres, y por turno; y uno interprete.
Si habla alguno en lengua extrana – “If someone speaks in a foreign language.” “Si” without an accent mark means “if.” If “si” has an accent mark: “si’ ” means “yes.” This is going to be an “if” clause. That means there will be a subject and a verb in the clause, but they are not particularly the subject and verb of the sentence. “Habla” comes form “hablar” which means “to speak.” “Habla” is simple present tense third person singular. Simple present tense means it happens all the time, everyday, or usually. Third person singular means that one of these pronouns is embedded in the verb: he, she, it, or the Spanish respectful you. “Alguno” means “someone,” and is the subject of the clause. Often in Spanish, the subject comes after the verb. The verb in this clause is “habla.” “Alguno” ends with an “o” which means that it is masculine. If something is masculine in Spanish, it could mean only men or men and women. The only time they make a difference is if it talking about just women, and if it were just women, it would be “alguna” instead of “alguno.” “En” means “in,” and is a preposition, so there is a prepositional phrase in this “if” or conditional clause. “Lengua” means “language,” and is the object of the preposition. “Lengua” is a noun, and “extrana” is an adjective that means “foreign.” In Spanish, usually the adjective comes after the noun it describes unless they are putting the emphasis on the adjective, but here, “extana” comes after “lengua.”
sea esto por dos, o a lo mas tres, – “be this for two, or at the most three.” “Sea” is a state of being verb coming from “ser.” “Sea” is a basic form of “ser.” The apostle Paul seems to be be explainingg the person or people who speak a foreign language. “Esto” means “this.” “Esto” is the masculine form because it ends in “o.” “Por” can mean a lot of things, but the means here is “for.” “Dos” is simple “two,” and it is referring to the person or persons who speak foreign languages mentioned in the conditional (if) clause. “O” means “or,” a conjunction that gives you a choice. “A lo mas,” means “at the most.” However, technically, “a” means “to” or “at,” “lo” is a direct object pronoun meaning “it,” masculine, and “mas” means “more.” “Tres” means “three” referring to the people who speak foreing langauges in the conditional clause. “A lo mas tres” is a prepositional phrase because “a” is the preposition, and “tres” becomes the object of the preposition. This means two or three people. They aren’t expecting a lot of people to speak another language, but if you have two, three, or even more people who speak the foreign language, the apostle Paul seems to be obliging you if there are that many people who speak in a foreign langague, or so few people you think they are irrelevant.
y por turno – “and by turn.” Again, the apostle Paul is prefacing what he is going to say next. He is going to tell them to do something taking turns, one by one. As I have said before, “y” means “and.” “Por” can mean “for,” “by,” or even “in” or “at” when it is talking a about the time of day. for example, “por la manana” means “in the morning,” and “por la noche” means “at night.” However, in English, we can also say “by day” and “by night.” Here, “por turno” becomes “by turn” or “taking turns.”
y uno inerprete – “and one interprets.” Okay, it seems that if someone comes in that speaks a foreign language, someone is supposed to interpret. One person should interpret for these, one two, or three people who speak another langauge. “Y,” again, means “and.” “Uno” means “one,” and it is masculine, so the apostle Paul was not specific if it has to be a man or a woman, but could be just a man. “Interprete” comes from “interpreter” which means “to interpret.” The pronouns embedded in “interprete” could be “he, she, it, or respectful you.” Yes, there are translations devices today, so today “it” could be the subject if they used one of those phone apps. The point is that it is not specific about who should interpret, if it be he, she, it, or you. Not everyone can interpret. so someone that can should interpret. The apostle Paul seems to be speaking very generic by saying “uno.” I have actually seen someone letter a young woman interpret who could, and the others got mad saying it should be a man, but this verse is not specific about which gender should interpret, only that someone should interpret. As I was teaching writing in English at the university, the use of “one” instead of an actual pronoun suggests that this is written in a more formal style like an essay for the university. It is not conversational, but written by an educated person for educated people. This is the style of writing the apostle Paul was using. With this style, he seems to be giving respect to his readers, and at the same time showing that he is also a smart, well educated man. The apostle Paul just obliged us to provide a translator in our services even if there are only two or three people who speak a foreign language. He seems to think these people who speak foreign languages will want to speak to the congregation, one at a time, with a translator.
Let’s put verse 27 all together: “If someone speaks in a foreign language, be this for two or three at the most, and taking turns; and one interprets.”
Verse 28: “ Y si no hay interprete, calle en la iglesia, y habla para si mismo y para Dios.”
Y si no hay interprete – “And if there isn’t one who interprets.” Again “y” means “and.” “Si” without the accent mark means “if.” “Hay” means “there is” or “there are.” “Interprete” comes from “interpreter” which means “to interpret.” “Interprete” is simple present tense, third person singular. This means that the verb in English needs an “s” on the end, and there is a choice of pronouns: He, she, it, or the Spanish respectful you. Since “one” was used before referring to the person, since it isn’t specific in the verb, I translated it as “one.” This sentence is also negative because of the “no,” and I added the “no” to “hay.” I added “who” and made “interprete” into a relative clause that functions as an adjective clause because there was no way I could keep “interprete” as a verb in English without doing it. If I didn’t keep “inteprete” as a verb, I could say, “if there is no interpreter” or “if there is no interpretation.”
calle en la iglesia – “go in the church.” “Calle” actually means “street” or “way.” However, it doesn’t make sense here to translate it like that. You go on a street or go a way, so I translated it as “go.” “En” means “in.” “Iglesia” means “church,” the people. Remember, there weren’t any church buildings when this was being written. “Iglesia” is a feminine noun because it ends in an “a.” “La” is a singular, feminine “the.” It must be feminine and singular because “iglesia” is feminine and singular. If a foreigner comes in and doesn’t speak the language, it make sense to tell him to just sit down with the others in the church if there is no translator because if he spoke, no one could understand him. The apostle Paul says everything is to be done to edify the others in the church. If he can’t speak to them, he can’t edify them, so let him sit down instead of standing in front of the church.
y habla para si mismo y para Dios – “for himself and for God.” What good is someone who stand in front of the church jabbering on in another language that no one can understand. He can’t to talk to anyone. He can’t preach for the church. He can’t lead the church in prayers. He can’t teach them. He can’t lead them in songs. –“Y,” again means “and,” and there are two of them here. “Habla” comes from “hablar” which means “to speak.” “Habla” has “he, she, it or the spanish respectful ‘you’ ” embedded in it and is simple present tense meaning it happens everyday, all the time, or usually. “Para” means “for.” “Si mismo” means “himself.” “Para si mismo” is a prepositional phrase with “para” as the prepositional and “si mismo” as the object of the preposition. “Para Dios” is another prepositional phrase with “para” (for) as the preposition and “Dios” (God) as the object of the preposition. “Habla” has the subject and the verb in it.
Let’s put verse 26 together: “And if there is no one who interprets, he should go into the congregation and speak to himself and to God.”
The rule seems to be all through this chapter, if it doesn’t build the church up, don’t do it. Even in these verses, it comes down to edifying the church. It seems the apostle Paul understands that they are all wanting to take part in the worship in Corinth. Everyone wants to be a leader in worship. They all have songs, teachings, insights, etc. that they want to share, but he wants them to take turns. No one is going to get anything out of it if they talk all at once. There will only be confusion. The apostle Paul also acknowledges that foreigners may come in wanting to speak, but letting them speak without an interpreter seems fruitless because no one is built up by it. He encourages them to use an interpreter. However, if there is no interpreter, that person should just sit down and not try to lead in worship, but to worship quietly alone. When the church comes together, everything should be done to edify the church.