1 Corinthians 14 is the chapter I always go to if I want to understand what God wants from us with respect to language. However, in the last blog I did from this chapter, it didn’t talk about language at all, but about preaching. We must remember that at the beginning of the chapter, it said preaching is more important than speaking in a foreign language. Also, we are nearing the end of the chapter, but not there yet. And, with Aristotle’s logic that is used in writing the Bible and in our schools in the west, you have to end where you began like tying it up with a bow to finish the package. Any good writer knows you have to end at the beginning. It makes sense that the apostle Paul would go back to talking about preachers and preaching at the end of the chapter since that is where he began. The next few blogs about this chapter will be like the concluding paragraph of an essay. They are the concluding remarks of this chapter. For me to review the grammar here, I will just explain all the grammar, and you will get new things and old things. Let’s go to verse 32 of 1 Corinthians 14.
Verse 32: “Y los espiritus de los profetas estan sujetos a los profetas.”
Y los espiritus de los profetas – “And the spirits of the preachers or prophets.” “Y,” as most know, is “and.” It is pronounced, “ee.” “Los” is a plural, masculine “the” because the “o” means masculine, and the “s” means plural, more than one. It must be masculine and plural to match “espiritus” because “espiritus” is a plural, masculine word that means “spirits.” It is important to point out that if something is masculine in Spanish, it could be only masculine, and it could also be masculine and feminine in the same group. “De” means either “from” or “of,” and here it means “of.” I have already explained “los.” It belongs with a masculine, plural noun. The noun the second “los” in this sentence belongs to “profetas.” We think, “What? Did someone make a mistake?” because “profetas” has an “a,” and not an “o” at the end. No, no one made a mistake. There are exceptions in Spanish, and “profestas” has an “a,” but it is still a masculine word, so it uses that masculine “the.” Another exception many don’t realize because the memorize greetings before they know very much about Spanish is “Buenos dias” is an exception. “Dias” is a masculine noun. “Buenos” shows the “o” to denote that it is a masculine adjective, and it modifies “dias.” “El dia” is also not wrong, but an exception. It is important to say here that “los” is a definite article which means these are particular preachers or prophets, not just any preacher or prophet.
estan sujetos a los profetas. – “Are subject to the prophets.” “Estan” is third person plural simple present tense of “estar.” “Estar” means “to be located” or refers to a transient condition like how you feel. The pronoun for third person plural is “they,” so “they” is embedded in “estan.” Simple present tense means that it happens everyday or all the time. “Sujetos” means “subject,” and the “s” is on the end because it is an adjective that refers to “profetas.” The “o” is also there because it is also a masculine adjective, and must match “profetas” also in gender. “A” means “to,” and is a preposition which means there must be a noun or pronoun to be the object of the preposition, and that word is “profetas,” a noun. “Los,” again, is a definite article that means particular preachers or prophets. This means those preachers are also subject to do what they say. They can’t just preach at us and not do it themselves.
Verse 33: “Pues Dios no es Dios de confusion, sino de pas. Como en todas las Iglesias de los santos..“
Pues Dios no es Dios de confusion – “For God is not the God of confusion.” “Pues” can mean several things. “Pues” can mean “then,” “well,” or “for.” We choose “for” because it seems that the apostle Paul has explained to them how to conduct themselves with respect to language when they are together and now he is explaining that even the preachers have to follow the rules. One sentence or thought builds on another. There is also a semi colon (;) between this sentence and the one before it, so they are very connected in meaning. “Dios,” as many already know, means “God.” “Dios” is the subject of this clause. “No” means either “no” or “not” in Spanish, and here, it is “not” because of where it is located in the sentence, before the verb. “Es” comes from “ser.” “Ser” the state of being verb that identifies and describes things, and it is permanent, not transient like “estar,” so God is always how he is describing in this verse. “Es” is third person singular present tense. This means one the pronouns “he, she, it, or respectful ‘you’ ” is embedded in “es,” and we usually choose “he” for God because he is our father in Heaven. Simple present tense tells us that this happens everyday, all the time.
Again, “Dios” means “God” and “de” means “of.” “Confusion” is easy because it is the same word we use in English, but it is pronounced slightly different in Spanish. It is pronounced “confoosee-on” in Spanish.
sino de paz – “but of peace.” “Sino” means “but.” “De” means “of” and is a preposition. “Paz” means “peace.” “Paz” is the noun that is the object of the preposition “de.”
Como en todas la iglesias de los santos- “As in all the churches of the saints.” “Como” can mean “how” as a questin word, but this is not a question. It means “like” or “as” if it isn’t a question. “En” means “in.” “Todas” means “all,” and is feminine and plural because of the “as.” “En” is a preposition, and “iglesias” Is the object noun of the preposition. “Todas” tells about “las iglesias.” All three words, “todas las iglesias,” are feminine and plural. “Las” is the definite article meaning he is talking about specific “iglesias,” and “iglesias” means “churches.” Again, “de” means “of,” and is another preposition that begins a prepositional phrase. The object of this preposition is “los santos.” “Los santos” means “the saints.” Both “los” and “santos” are masculine and plural. Remember that in Spanish, a masculine noun can also include women, and not just men. “Santo” (saint) does not have any of the modern meanings we have given it here.
Some people think “saint” (santo) means someone is perfect, but that is not the meaning here. When I was in Romania teaching at the Orthodox seminary, I learned what the Orthodox think is a saint, and is probably pretty close to what the Catholics think too. They think a saint (santo) is someone who meets certain conditions. 1) You have to have been really in this life. 2) Your body does not decay after you die. 3) You have to have performed a miracle. They think they can pray to people like that as if they are with God like God’s assistant.
There was a dead girl declared a saint when I was teaching at the Orthodox seminary. They were digging down by the ocean in the sand and found a dead body. The body was not decayed at all. They didn’t realize it was the salt in the sand that stopped her body from decaying. Salt has a healing quality. Have you ever gargled with salt water when your throat is sore? When we lived in Romania, there were salt lakes close to us where there used to be a salt mine. The doctors used to send patients with arthritis there because some of the salt lakes were small and were just big mud holes full of salty mud. The people sat in the mud as a treatment from their doctors. When we swam in the salt lakes, when we got home, every mosquito bite, blister, small cut, etc. was healed because of that salt. Once, we went to the beach, and I had a baby with a diaper rash. The baby was asleep. I put the baby in a cloth diaper and laid her in the sand. I put an umbrella over her so the sun couldn’t hit her and let her sleep. When she woke up, the salt from the sand had healed her diaper rash! It felt like a miracle, but it was that salt in the sand. Salt really has a healing quality.
When they looked into the background of the girl they found in the sand, they discovered that she was a very good girl. They decided she was a saint because her body had not decayed. They took the body to a church building up north and put it on display. One of the girls studying to be a nun went up there to visit the body. She had a cold, and she wanted to touch the body to make her cold go away. She told me she touched the body. I asked her, “Did your cold go away?” She confirmed that it did. I asked her, “Was it immediately or did it take time. ” She said it took time. Again I asked, “How long did it take?” She said, “Seven days.” Do you know how long it takes for a cold to go through the whole cycle of catching it, and then getting better so that it goes away? It takes seven days.
What does the Bible say a saint (santo) is? Does the Bible confirm the beliefs these future Orthodox nuns told me? Many of the letters of the New Testament are addressed to “the saints” in whatever town they were going to. Look in the first verse of books like Ephesians and Philippians. They are addressed to saints (santos). These saints weren’t dead because they received these letters. Everyone knows Paul and other apostles were writing to churches, and the name of these churches are the names of the books. It seems clear that the “saints” were the Christians in these churches.
There is a meaning of “holy” or “sinless” that does along with the word “saint” (santo). You see, if you are a Christian, God has washed away your sins. It doesn’t mean that you have never sinned. It means your sins are forgiven. If you have sins, you are separated from God. Acts 2:38 tells us how to get rid of our sins, and if we continue reading to the end of the chapter, we realize those who got rid of their sins are the ones who make up the people of the church. In the Bible, Christians are saints, not some dead person you can pray to, and not someone who is extremely perfect on their own accord, but someone whose sins have been erased by “repentance and baptism” (Acts 2:38). The very last verse of Acts 2, verse 47 says in Spanish, “alabando a Dios, y teniendo favor con todo el pueblo, y el Senor anadia cada dia a la iglesia los que habian de ser salvos.” This, translated into English is: “Praising God, and having favor with all the people, and the Lord added every day to the church those that were being saved.” As you can see, “the saved” are “the church,” and God adds them. In Acts 2:37, the people were upset because they realized they had killed Jesus, and that he was the son of God. They were scared, so they asked, “What shall we do?” Peter’s response in verse 38 was, “Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins...” “Repent” means to change, so go the other way and stop doing the bad things you have been doing. “Baptism” is the “washing away” of sins. In Acts 22:16, Paul is telling about his baptism, and he says the Ananaias said to him, “Arise and be baptised washing away your sins.” People who have repented and been baptized have allowed their sins to be “washed away.” They become without sins, so in that essence, they can be called “saints,” but it doesn’t mean they have never done anything wrong. It means that God has washed their sins away. Without their sins, they are no longer separated from God. If they repent, it means they are committed to no longer sinning. If they have had their sins washed away and are committed to trying to do the right thing, they are added to the church by God (Acts 2:47). The word “Christian” means that someone is following Christ, so people in the church can be called saints or Christians.
Let’s put this verse all together: “for God is not the God of confusion, but of peace.” As in all the churches of the saints…”
Two verses are enough for one day. I hope you got some good out of these verses. We have to take it a step at a time to really understand what is written here, and studying the grammar really helps a lot. As I look at the next verses in this chapter, Paul continues winding the chapter down. He is ending where he began. He began by trying to deal with people arguing about who had the best spiritual gift, and they didn’t know if it was preaching or speaking foreign languages. He had to put this church in order. In the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, you can read that the whole purpose of the book was trying to solve the disagreements in the church. Every chapter is trying to put them in order.
They had to understand that someone telling the message was more important than the translator. They had to understand that they should actually be translating and not just jabbering on so that no one can understand. He told them they needed to have a translator or just not bother speaking another language in the church services or in their prayers. He said they must understand the preacher and understand when they pray, or it does not good. He explains how they must sit down and listen, and how each can preach in turn, and if no one can understand that person, that person should sit down unless they can find a translator. He says that if someone listening has something to add, the person speaking needs to let him speak. He said we can all learn, and we can all teach. God has blessed us all with a good brain.
At one point, we found out that the apostle Paul is a polyglot which means he spoke several languages. It makes sense because he was a missionary.
I go to this chapter when I want to learn about language in the church, and there is a lot about language, but there is more here. This chapter is still about trying to put the church in order, and the language is a large part of it, but there is more. He is ending about talking about preaching like he did at the first of the chapter. The concluding remarks of the chapter aren’t over yet. Wait for the concluding Spanish grammar blogs on these chapters. They will come.