Explaining Spanish Grammar in 1 Corinthians 1:21

With this coronavirus looming over the world, we understand more than ever that we are not in control. We know we people are not as wise and inteligent as they often let on to be. We know there is one who is over us and knows and understands so much more than we do that we can’t even touch the hem of his garment. This covid-19 has made the world feel mortal. We know we aren’t gods. We know that our fate is not in our hands, but in God’s hands. That is what the verse we have today is all about.

As we search the scritures, we realize there is more wisdom there than any man has. Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

1 Corintios 1:21: Pues ya que en la sabidura de Dios, el mundo no conocio’ a Dios mediante la sabiduria, agrado’ a Dios salvar a los creyantes por la locura de la predicacion.

Pues ya que en la sabidura de Dios = “For in the wisdom of God.” This phrase begins with a phrase that if it is translated word by word, straight through, it would make no sense: pues = well, ya= already, and que=that. As you can see, it would be strange in English, so we put “for,” usually a preposition, but here, a conjunction meaning something will be explained. “En” means “in” that is another preposition that begins a prepositional phrase. “Sabidura” means “wisdom.” “Sabidura” is the object noun of “en,” so “en sabidura” (in wisdom) is a prepositional phrase. “De” (of) is another preposition with “Dios” (God) as the object proper noun of the preposition making “de Dios” (of God) another prepositional phrase. “Sabidura” is a feminine noun, and it has a feminine direct article in front of it that means “the.” This means this “wisdom” is a particular wisdom, the wisdom of God.

The world didn’t know God. Photo by Kaique Rocha on Pexels.com

el mundo no conocio’ a Dios = “the world didn’t know God.” “Mundo” is the word in Spanish for “world,” but not the earth. It means the people of the world. “Mundo” is a masculine noun and is the subject. “El” is the masculine definite article, “the,” attached to “mundo” which means it is a specific world, our world. “No” means “not,” and negates the verb. “Conocio’ ” comes from “conocer” which is a special kind of “know.” This know means that you know, or in this case didn’t know, a person, place, or thing. “Conocio’ ” is third person singular simple past tense of “conocer.” “El mundo” (it) is the suject of “conocio’.” “Dios,” by now, we should all know means “God.” “Dios” is the direct object: “What did the world not know?” (Que el mundo no conocio’ ?) The world didn’t know God (Dios). Any time you ask “what,” you get the direct object. In Spanish, if the direct object is a person, before that direct object, you must put “a,” and we have “a” here.

Mediante la sabidura = “through wisdom.” “Mediante” is one of those words you can basically look at and guess. We know the word “media” in English. It means ” communication through television, newspapers, magazines, etc.” It is the means; it is “through.” Jesus is our “mediator” between God and man. This means he is how we go to God, the “means.” We already have seen that “sabidura” means “wisdom,” so this is talking about “through wisdom.” “Sabidura” (wisdom) is a feminine noun with “la,” a feminine definite article before it meaning “the.” The “the” means that this is referring to a particular wisdom. This wisdom is the wisdom of man.

It is God’s plan for us to share the word of God with others. Photo by Abel Tan Jun Yang on Pexels.com

agrado’ a Dios = “it pleased God.” “Agrado’ ” comes from “agradar” which means ” to be pleased.” “Agrado’ ” is in third person singular simple past tense. The subject could be “he, she, it, or a formal ‘you.’ ” The right choice is “it” because none of the other pronouns refer back to anything before them. “Dios,” again, is the direct object, and an “a” is placed before it again letting us us know “Dios” is the direct object.

salvar a los creyantes = “to save the believers.” “Salvar” is in the infinitive form, and it means “to save.” “Los creyantes” is the direct object and a person or people because it has “a” before it. “Los” is a plural, masculine definitive article meaning “the.” “Creyantes”, a plural masculine noun, means “believers.”

Sitting for 30-40 minutes listening to someone talk, looking arounddn to see half the audience sleepy or asleep does seem like craziness, but it is what we have, and we want it back. Photo by Georgia Maciel on Pexels.com

por la locura = “by the craziness.” “Por” is a preposition. It can mean several things. It can mean “for,” “by,” and it is also part of a phrase like this one “por la noche” which means “at night” or “in the night.” As you can see, we just have to choose the best preposition that fits in English. In my studies of foreign languages, I have learned that often, it is the prepositions that don’t translated well from language to language, and we have seen that a couple of times in this verse. Every high school student in America who studies Spanish loves to learn the word “loco.” It was fun to study expressions like “loco en la cabeza” which means “crazy in the head.” It was all a big joke that made us laugh, but also helped us learn the word “loco.” It opened us up to understanding “locura” which means “craziness,” a noun this time instead of an adjective like “loco.” “Locura” is a feminine noun, and “la,” its definite article that means “the,” is also feminine. This means a specific craziness.

We need to be going home and reading it for ourselves. Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

de la predicacion = “of preaching.” This is a prepositional phrase. “De” (of) is the preposition. “Predicacion” (preaching) is the object noun of the preposition “de.” “La” is, again, the feminine definite article meaning “the” that refers to “predication” (preaching). I wonder how preacher like “preaching” to be called “craziness.” 🙂

Let’s put this verse all together: “For in the wisdom of God, the world didn’t’ know God through wisdom, so it pleased God to save the believers by the craziness of preaching.”

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God” (1 John 1:1). Jesus has been around since the beginning of time. Jesus is the message of God, the word. Photo by Juhasz Imre on Pexels.com

In the beginning, everyone know who God was. The Jewish people wrote about him forever. The Koreans knew who God was centuries later when the Bible was taken to them because one of their founders came from the Tower of Babel. The American Indians had “the Great Spirit.” Even the people in Europe knew there was a father God who lived up high somewhere who created us all and they couldn’t reach. Many cultures had forgotten him by the time Christ came. The world had become pagan, and the apostles were sent out into a pagan world to teach people about God. It had to seem like craziness to them because they apostles were all killed for their faith except the apostle John.

There are beautiful church buildins all over Europe that have become museums. Photo by Immortal Shots on Pexels.com

In many ways, we have had the same thing happen in the modern world. Europe has been full of church buildings, but the people were ignoring them. They weren’t teaching their children about God. Part of America has remembered, but the large part were trying to turn their back on the truth of God. Japan has a history of persecuting Christians and really don’t want Christianity. The Muslims have been causing so much trouble in Africa, the Christians at times get kidnapped and killed. There have been just too many leaving God.

Many are claiming the cross of Christ again. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

Now, the coronavirus comes. People are reminded they are not immortal. There are pictures all over the world of the Spanish praying. There are people in many countries who ignored God before who are turning back to God. I have relatives who lived their lives never acknowledging God, but they are on Facebook now declaring to the world that they are Christians. And guess what, the language in their posts have cleaned up. They are no longer bragging about getting drunk. God is making an impact. There has been good come out of the craziness of this coronavirus.

The coronavirus could be a message from God. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hebrews says that angels are “fire and winds” (Hebrews 1:7). Angels are bring messages from God for the believers (Hebrews 1:14). Angels are natural occurring events like fire and winds. Could this coronavirus be a message from God? There are people who are listening to the craziness of this coronavirus.

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