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Explaining Korean Grammar in Acts 1:6 (사도행전 1 장 6 절)

It is time to start talking about Korean grammar in the Bible again. I like to use the Bible to study foreign languages for a couple of reasons. First, the Bible is in every language, and if you get stumped in the foreign language, all you have to do is look it up in English, and you will understand the foreign language you are trying to read better. On top of that, studying the Bible in a foreign language kills two birds with one stone, meaning that you get to learn two things at once. You get to learn the foreign language, and you get to learn Bible. Studying the Bible in the foreign languages I know is one of the big reasons I can do the foreign languages. When I was in Romania, I translated for all the missionaries’ Bible studies, and I always worried that my vocabulary wasn’t big enough, but as long as I kept that Romanian Bible in front of me as we studied and I translated, then I had the vocabulary word, and I learned it easily because I had to use it to help the Romanians understand what the American preachers were saying. I have an astounding vocabulary in Romanian now. I used to attend Spanish Bible classes in Texas, and I remember my Spanish vocabulary expanding as I sat there, and I now teach Bible classes in Spanish. Korean has been a really hard one, but the more I study the Bible in Korean, the easier it gets. In the beginning it was more like deciphering a puzzle, but Korean is not such a puzzle anymore. I really recommend studying the Bible in foreign languages. You can even end up learning things about the Bible you didn’t even know where there because it wasn’t expressed so well in English. The different translations explain one another.

Jesus had promised them a gift. Photo by Amy Texter on Pexels.com

Today, we are in the book of Acts, chapter one, and verse 6. We have already established that Dr. Luke wrote Acts to Theophilus whose name means “lover of God.” He also wrote the book of Luke to the same person. In the part we are reading, we are still in the introduction of Acts, and Dr. Luke is talking about what Jesus did after rising from the dead before he rose back up into Heaven. In the last verse we talked about, verse 5, Jesus had told his apostles not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for a gift, and then he began talking about baptism and the holy spirit. Now, we are ready for verse 6.

사도행전 1 장 6 절: 그들이 모였들 때에 예수께 여쭈어 이르되 주께서 이스라옐 나라는 회복하심이 이때니 이까하니

사도행전 1장 6절 = “Acts 1:6.” 사도 (sah-doh) means “apostle.” It doesn’t have the 둘 (dul) on the end that makes it plural like the English “s,” but that is okay because Korean is not as specific as English, and it is not considered wrong not to include it even if it should be there, so when they say 사도 here, they don’t mean just one apostle, but they mean “apostles.” 행 (heng) means “act.” 잔 (jeon) means it happened in the past. 장 (Jang) means “chapter.” 절 (jeol) means “verse.)

그들이 = “They.” If you have just 그 (ku), it is the masculine pronoun, but you don’t know because without a post position particle, you don’t know if it is “he,” “him,” or “his,” There is no particle after it that denotes one of those, but there is 들 (dul) which denotes that it is plural. That makes 그들 (kudul) to be the plural pronoun, and there is no difference between masculine or feminine like in English. 들 usually means “s.” The reason we know this pronoun is “they” rather than “them” or “their” is because it has an 이 (ee) after it. 이 is a post position particle than can only mean that 그들 is the subject. The counter part of 이 is 가 (ga). If 가 is used, 가 can also only follow a subject. The reason 이 was used rather than 가 is because 그들 ends with ㄹ (r), a consonant, and you can’t put 가 after a consonant, only a vowel. 이 must come after the consonant.

모임 (a meeting) Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

모였들 = “the gathered.” The basic meaning of this word can be taken from the first syllable. If you have a meeting, “meeting” or “gathering” is said, 모임 (moh-eem), The 모 (mo) part tells you that they are gathered, and the ㅁ (m) on the end tells you that this word is a noun. 모이다 (mo-ee-dah) is the basic verb form for “to meet” or “to gather.” That 모 (mo) tells you again that there is a meeting or a gathering. The 다 (dah) on the end tells you that it is a basic verb. This time, we have 모였들 (mo-yot-dul). It begins with 모 (mo), so we know it has something to do with “meeting” or “gathering.” The 들 (dul) on the end tells you that it is a noun because 들 (dul) is equivalent of the English “s” we use to make plural. However, in the middle of this word, we have 였 (yot). When I see that 였, I know it is a verb, and it is in past tense. That could be confusing if you didn’t realize there is something that is called a past participle of the verb that can be used as a noun. You can do a lot of things with a past participle when you are speaking, and we don’t even think about it. Past participles can be part of the verb, they can make the verb present perfect, past perfect, passive or active voice, and they can be adjectives or even nouns. If we see the word “gathered” randomly in English, we really don’t know what part of speech it is. We have to know where it fits in the sentence to know what it is. However, in Korean, you just have to look at the different parts of the word to know that it is a noun, and it is a past participle.

–Another thing you could wonder about with this word is the double ㅆ (ss). You may wonder why I transliterated it as “t.” If there is a consonant after a double ㅆ (ss), it is no longer pronounced like an “s,” and after ㅆ (ss) here, there is a ㄷ (d), so the ㅆ (ss) is pronounced like a “t.”

때에 = “at the time” or “when.” 때 (ddeh) means “time” or “when.” 에 (eh) is a post position particle that means “to” or “at.”

에수게 말했어요. (They spoke to Jesus.)Photo by Emre Can on Pexels.com

예수께 = “to Jesus.” 예수 (yeh-soo) means “Jesus.” 께 (ggheh) is a post position particle that is also a preposition. 께 (ggheh) means “to,” but only “to a person.” 예수 (yeh-soo) is the object of the preposition 께 (ggheh). The double “g” only means that you pronounce it like a very hard “g.”

여쭈어 = “asked.” When you see that 어 (eo) at the end of a word in the middle of a sentence, it usually means that word is a verb. 여쭈다 (yeo-jjoo-dah) is the basic form of this verb used at the end of a sentence. 여쭤요 (yeo-jjoo-eo-yo) is the “yo” form meaning “ask” or “asks,” the form I recommend using at the end of sentence. 여쭸어요 (yeo-jjoo-eoss-eo-yo) means “asked” at the end of a sentence. However, they don’t conjugate verbs quite as heavily in the middle of a sentence, and that 어 (eo) at the end also tells you this verb is past tense.

이루되 = “was” or “were.” That 되 (doh-ee) on the end of this word is one of the many, many many ways of saying “to be” in Korean. Technically, “되다” (doh-ee-dah) means “to become,” but they use it like “to be.” The 이루 (ee-roo) part comes from 이다 (ee-dah) which also means “to be.)

주께서 = “Lord.” Technically, only 주 (joo) means “Lord.” The have the post position particle 께서 (gghe-so) tacked on here. That post position particle has driven me crazy because it really doesn’t have a good meaning in English. Basically, here, it means they are addressing Jesus and calling him “Lord.” If we want to do that in English, we say the person’s name and then put a comma after it. When we talk to someone out loud, we just pause after the name. This means that what comes next, they are addressing Jesus calling him “Lord.”

그들이 이스라엘 나라를 회보하고 십었어요. (They wanted to restore the kingdom of Israel.)Photo by Kostiantyn Stupak on Pexels.com

이스라엘 나라는 = “the kingdom of Israel.” 이스라엘 (eesurah-el) means “Israel.” 나라 (nah-rah) means “country” or “kingdom.” 는 (nun) is the post position particle that means 이수라앨 나라 is either a subject, not the main subject of the is sentence, or an adjective, and in this case it is an adjective.

회복하심이 = “the restoration.” To begin with, the 이 (ee) at the end of this word tells you it is another subject. The ㅁ (m) before the 이 (ee) tells you this word is a noun. The 시 (shee) tells you that the speaker is being respectful. After all, he is speaking to Jesus, so he should be. The “하” (ha) tells you that this word with something different than 심 (sheem) at the end could have been a verb. 회복 (ho-ee-bok) means “recovery” or “restoration.”

이때 니 = “at this time.” 아 (ee) positioned at the beginning, like this 이 (ee) is, means “this.” 때 (ddeh) means “when” or “time.” 니 (nee) means “at.” This is a prepositional phrase with니, “at” as the preposition, and “time,” 때, as the object of the preposition. 이 (this) is classified as a demonstrative pronoun here because it points to (demonstrates) 때 (time).

이까하니 = “are you going to.” That 니 (nee) at the end of this verb, tells you that this is future tense. However, it is not a future tense I recommend using. If you were using the “yo” form which is the form I recommend, you would say this 이까할거예요 (eeggah-hal-gheo-yeyo). Another way to express this that is appropriate if you want to be respectful is, 이까하깼습니가 (eeggah-hah-kket-subnika). This is the form you use with the people who are over you like Jesus was over his apostles socially. It is in the question form because of the 가 (gah) on the end. Students use this to speak to teachers. The 니 (nee) as an ending is usually used for people you are very close to meaning Jesus and his apostles were close. The 니 also tells you this is a question. This is the last verb of the sentence which means it is the main verb of this sentence.

Let’s put this verb all together: “When they were gathered, the asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to do the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel at this time?”

Israel was occupied by Rome. (로마가 이스아앨을 차지 했어요.) Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

We must remember as we are studying that the Romans were ruling Israel during the life of Jesus. The Jews were speaking Aramaic at home, Hebrew at the temple, and Greek with everyone else. They were an occupied people. Hebrew was the traditional language of the Jews. Aramaic was spoken because the Jews had been interspersed with the people who had been in the land of Canaan. It is similar to Arabic. They were all speaking Greek because that is the language they all used to speak together. Before the Roman empire, which was happening then, the Grecian empire had been great and vast. They had influenced everyone. The Romans, in many ways, had copied the Greek empire because they admired them so much. You might almost say that the Greeks were like the British who had an enormous empire, but then they were replaced by the Americans, the U. S. A. Because of Briton, everyone was speaking English, and it was reinforced because America spoke English and became so powerful after the English had been so powerful. The Greeks had been terrible powerful and it caused everyone to speak Greek, then the Romans came into power, and everyone was still speaking Greek. The first language of the Romans was Latin, but to speak to the people they conquered, they spoke Greek.

한국인들이 대성당에 모였어요 (The Koreans met at a cathedral.)Photo by Louis on Pexels.com

Israel was longing for a time to be free of Rome. There were several political groups of the time like the Zealots who were pushing for Israel’s independence from Rome. I just got back from Korea, and under Japanese occupation, they also had group that were meeting secretly to try to throw the Japanese out. Their biggest meeting of their democracy movement was in the courtyard of a Catholic church called Myeong Dong Cathedral. It is really something to see, and there is a blog among my blogs about it. The Koreans actually had a secret Korean government set up outside of Korea during the Japanese occupation. They really wanted Japan out! The Jews were doing the same kind of thing during the time of Christ. They really wanted the Romans out! The apostles were having a hard time figuring everything out that Jesus was doing. They knew from what they saw that he had the power to throw Rome out because of what they had seen. They wanted to put him on an earthly throne to rule Israel. He had promised a gift and told them to stay in Jerusalem. They wondered if the time had finally come for him to sit on the throne of Israel, but that wasn’t his plan. The kingdom of God is not the kingdom of Israel, but he had continually said that the kingdom of God was coming and was almost there. The apostles didn’t understand the gift they were supposed to wait for yet.

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