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Explaining Spanish Grammar in 1 Corinthians 1: 9

We have been working on the first chapter, the introduction to 1 Corinthians. 1 Corinthians is a letter written from the apostle Paul and Sosthenes, the leader of the Jewish temple in Corinth. Many people don’t realize that in the beginning, Christianity was considered part of Judaism, not a separate religion. However, Christianity seemed to outgrow Judaism because not all the Jews accepted Christ, but many did. Many of the first churches were first planted among Jews who lived in pagan cultures like the church in Corinth.

The book of 1 Corinthians was a letter received by the church in Corinth from the apostle Paul and Sosthenes. After they read it, they sent it to all the other churches too. However, their letters were in the form of a roll of paper called a scroll, not like we have today. Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

This particular letter was sent to the church at Corinth, but we can tell it was intended for all Christians of all times to read from reading the introduction. In the early days of the church, if a church got a letter like this one, they would read it out loud in the congregation so everyone could hear. After that, they made copies and sent the copies to all the other churches too so everyone could take advantage of the teaching. We are lucky today because all those writings that were being circulated are together in one book, the Bible. The verse we are studying today is the last verse of the introduction before we get to a thesis statement, the main purpose of the book.

Christians like being together, we are in communion with one another.

1 Corintios 1:9: “Fiel es Dios, por lo cual fuisteis llamados a la comunion con su Hijo Jesucristo nuestro senor.”

Fiel es Dios = “God is faithful.” “Fiel” is pronounced “fee-el,” and means “faithful.” “Es” comes from. “ser” the state of being verb that is used for things that are permanent. “Es” is third person singular simple present tense. Simple present tense means it happens all the time, everyday, and third person singular means that the pronoun embedded in “es’ is “he, she, it, or a respectful ‘you.’ ” Since the subject is “God” (Dios), then we know that “he” is imbedded into “es.” The word order is different in Spanish than in English because in English, the subject must come first and the verb next, but in Spanish, it doesn’t have to be that way. When I studied Romanian, which is like Spanish, my Romanian teacher told me that you put the word first that you think is most important in a sentence in Romanian, and since both languages are Latin languages, I would think that is the explanation here too. The translator decided that “faithfulness” was more important than the one who is faithful, God. After all, who wants a God who is not faithful. That would take us back to those crazy Greek gods and goddesses with crazy personalities doing foolish things, but God is not like that at all.

por lo cual = “therefore.”

fuisteis = “you guys were.” “Fuisteis” is second person plural, past tense of “ser,” the state of being verb for things that are permanent. It is used to describe people and things to give the permanent type adjectives, and to identify them. The pronoun embedded in this verb is “vosotros” which can only be translated at “you guys” or “you all.” “Fuisteis” is pronounced, “foo-eestay-ees.”

llamados = “called.” The is the adjective coming after “fuisteis,” the permanent state of being verb. It is never going to change that these guys from the church of Corinth were called. “Called” or “llamados” is the past participle of the verb. Past participles are often used as adjectives as it is here. “llamados” is pronounced “yamados” because that “ll” is pronounced like a “y” unless you come from Panama, and I know they pronounced the “ll” like a “j” because I had a friend in school from Panama.

a la comunion = “to the communion.” What exactly is he talking about? He could be talking about the “Lord’s Supper,” the fruit of the vine and the bread that Christians observe to remember the death of Christ, or he could be talking about the friendship, the oneness that happens when we become Christians.

Su Hijo Jesucisto nuestro Senor (His son Jesus Christ our Lord) Photo by Emre Can on Pexels.com

con su Hijo Jesucristo = “with his son Jesus Christ.” This is a prepositional phrase. I have a tendency to think that the “comunion” or “communion” that we just talked about is the friendship, the oneness, because it is with the son of God, Jesus. When we become Christians, we become close to Jesus. We are his close friends if we choose, and that is communing with him. Yes, the Lord’s Supper can be part of that because it is a memorial of his death, but praying, reading the Bible, singing, and being friends with other Christians can also be part of it. “Con” means “with.” This is the preposition. “Hijo Jesucristo” means “son Jesus Christ,” and it is all used as an object of the preposition together. “Su” is a possessive pronoun that can mean “his” or “her,” and we know it is talking about God, so it is “his.” “Hijo” means “son,” and “Jesucristo” is split into two words in English, “Jesus Christ.”

nuestro Senor = “our Lord.” The apostle Paul keeps renaming “his Son,” (su Hijo). First he renamed him when he said “Jesucristo” (Jesus Christ), and this is another renaming. “Senor” means “Lord.” Many people think of it as “Mr.” in Spanish, but that is not really all they are saying when they say “Senor.” “Nuestro” is the third person plural possessive pronoun which means “our.”

Dios nos llama. (God calls us.) Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Let’s put this verse all together: “God is faithful, therefore you guys were called to the communion with his son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Now, the introduction to the book is finished. We understand many things about who Christians are from the introduction of the book of 1 Corinthians. If you aren’t sure what all of those things are, you can look back at the Spanish grammar blogs about the verses that come before this in 1 Corinthians. We talked about a lot of things because Paul mentioned a lot of things. We know that we are saints, not meaning we are perfect or that anyone should pray to us, but that we have been sanctified (cleaned) by the blood of Christ. We know that we have been baptized or washed. We know that we have been enriched through Christ. We have been made innocent through his blood. The apostle Paul and Sosthenes are very grateful for our existence. We know that we have been called by God. They mention so many things. It is a really nice greeting. In the next verbs, Paul and Sosthenes get down to the nitty gritty of why they are actually writing.

The western cultures got their ideas about logic and how things should be organized from the Greeks, and that organization is used in the Bible. Photo by Denis Zagorodniuc on Pexels.com

All the books of the New Testament have a good advantage. They were written in Greek. The Greeks are the ones who came up with the idea of a thesis sentence, topic sentences, and the explanations, proofs, and details like we study in school. Those are used in the New Testament. The thesis sentence is one sentence in a nutshell that explains why something was written. It is always found in writing from the west close to the beginning, usually after the introduction like it is in this letter. That means the next time I blog about the Spanish grammar in 1 Corinthians, I will be blogging about the thesis sentence, so it will be a very important verse to understand if we want to understand the rest of the book.

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