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Explaining Spanish Grammar in 1 Corinthians 1: 22 – 24

Everyone in this world approaches things a bit differently. If you ask one man why he believes in God, he may say, “My mother believed in God, and I trust everything my mother says.” Another may say, “I believe in God because when I read the Bible, I can feel God speaking to me.” Still another may say, “I have proven there is a God through Science. I did all the tests, and there must be a God.” There are more points of view: “There is no getting around the way of life in Christianity. It is psychologically, spiritually, physically, and logically sound.” I could just continue, but each has their own point of view. Paul recognizes that everyone has their point of view and way of reasoning in these verses.

The Jews were looking for signs. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

1 Corintios 1:22-24 : Porque los judios piden señales, y los griegos buscan sabidura; pero nosotros predicamos a Cristo crucificado, para los judios ciertamente tropezadero, y para los gentiles, locura; mas para los llamados, asi’ judios como greigos, Cristo poder de Dios, y sabidura de Dios.

Porque los judios piden señales =”Because the Jews ask for signs.” This sentence begins with “porque” (because) which is a conjunction that means it is explaining what was before. In the verse before, Paul said that God chose preaching to try to help people understand salvation. “Los” is a plural, masculine definite article that mans “the.” “Judios” (Jews), is a plural masculine noun that matches “los,” and “los” tells you there is only one group of Jews. “Judios” is the subject of this clause. “Piden” is the verb, and it comes from “pedir” which means “to ask for.” “Piden” is in third person plural simple present tense. This means that the subject is “they” referring to “los judios.” The last word here, “senales” actually has a mark over the “n.” I successfully copied and pasted a mark over the earlier ones. That “n” is not actually an “n,” but what they call an “enye” because of that mark. The question is “What do they ask for?” (Para que ellos piden?) The answer is “senales” (signals) or signs. The answer to “what” is always the direct object.

The Greeks were looking for wisdom. Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez on Pexels.com

y los griegos buscan sabidura = “and the Greeks look for wisdom.” “Y” is pronounced “ee” and means “and,” the conjunction. This conjunction hooks together two clauses in this sentence, the one about the Jews we just talked about and this one. “Los,” again, is a masculine, plural, definite article that means “the.” A definite article means that there is only one of the thing it is pointing to. “Griegos” (Greeks) is the plural, masculine noun “los” is pointing to. This is the subject of the clause. “Buscan” is the verb that comes from “buscar” which means “to look for.” “Buscan” is in person plural simple present tense. It means that it happens all the time and that the subject of this verb is “they” which refers to “los griegos.” “What do they look for?” (Que buscan ellos?) They look for “sabidura” (wisdom). This means that “sabidura” (wisdom) is the direct object of this clause.

We preach Christ crucified. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pero nosotros predicamos a Cristo crucificado = “but we preach Christ crucified.” “Pero” is another conjunction hooking this clause to the last two. However, it means that the sentence is taking a different direction than it was going. “Nosotros” is a masculine, plural, first person, subject pronoun, “we.” “Predicamos” is the verb of this clause, and it comes from “predicar” which means “to preach.” “Predicamos” is in first person plural simple present tense. This means that it is done all the time and the subject is “nosotros” (we). “Cristo” means “Christ,” and there is an “a” before “Cristo.” The “a” is always used before a person that is the direct object in Spanish. “Crucificado” is the past participle of the verb “crucificar” which means “to crucify.” The past participle of the verb can be used as an adjective, and it is here. “Crucificado” (crucified) tells us about “Cristo” (Christ).

Jesus was a rock in the path the Jews could easily fall on. Photo by Nina Uhlíková on Pexels.com

para los judios ciertamente tropezadero = “for the Jews it is certainly a stumbling or slippery place.” “Para” is a preposition that means “for.” “Los,” again, is a masculine, plural definite article that means “the.” “Los” comes along with “judios” (Jews) again. “Judios” is the object plural noun of the preposition “para.” “Ciertamente” means “certainly.” Any time a word ends with “mente” in Spanish, in English it will end in “ly.” Usually, any word ending with an “ly” is an adverb. “Tropezadero” means a place that people stumble or slip. It is a noun. This part of the sentence seems to be drawing on the others clauses. As in English, when we write a sentence, if the second or third clause has the continuing thought with similar grammar, often words are not repeated to make for good style and less redundancy. This part of the sentence seems to have that quality. We feel like inserting “it is” before “ciertamente” to help the grammar make more sense, but to shorten the sentence a bit, it seems to be left out. The “it is” would help you identify “tropezadero” as a predicate nominative renaming the subject “it.”

There are those who just can’t comprehend, and they think it is all craziness. Photo by meo on Pexels.com

y para los gentiles, lucura= “and for Gentiles, craziness.” Again “y” (and) is a conjunction that connects, and it is conencting anothere clause here. “Para,” again, is the preposition “for.” “Gentiles” is the object noun of the preposition that makes “para los gentiles” a prepositional phrase. “Los,” again, is a plural, masculine definite article meaning “the.” Again, for lack of redundancy sake, the verb was left out, and they just inserted a comma. Where the comma is, could again be thought of as “it is,” and “locura” (craziness) becomes the predicate nominative again.

The called are Jews, Greeks, and everyone else too. They understand the significance of Jesus. Photo by Xiaoyu Chen on Pexels.com

mas, para los llamados = “moreover, for the called.” “Mas” is used as a type of conjunction here leading us into another clause in this long entence, so “mas” becomes in English “moreover” because more is being added. Again, “para” (for) is a prepostion. The object of this preposition is “llamados” (called.) “llamados” comes from “llamar” which means “to call.” “To call” is a verb, but “llamados” isn’t. You can see that “llamados” has “los” before it, a masculine, plural definite article meaning “the.” You can only put an article before a noun, so “llamados” is the past participle of “llamar” used as a noun and the object of the preposition “para.” “Para los llamados” is a prepositional phrase.

The Jews, the Greeks, and everyone else are alike if they are Christians. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

asi’ judios como griegos = “so for Jews and Greeks alike.” “Asi’ ” means “so,” another conjunction that means the sentence is coming to a conclusion. He then goes on saying, he is referring to both “judios” (Jews) and “griegos” (Greeks), and they are alike because “como” used in a sentence like this means “like.” I inserted “for” to help it make a bit more sense in English. In Spanish, this is actually a figure of speech, a simile, because of “como.” He is comparing “Jews” and “Greeks.” A simile is a comparison using “like” or “as” in English and “como” in Spanish.

Jesus is the power of God. Photo by Emre Can on Pexels.com

Cristo poder de Dios = “Christ, power of God.” Again, the style of trying not to make the sentence long and redundant is being used. “For the Jews and the Greeks alike, Christ is the power of God.” is how this section of the sentence would read if nothing was left out. That makes “for the Jews and the Greeks alike” becomes a prepositional phrase with a simile. “Christ”(Cristo) is the proper noun subject. “Is” is the state of being verb that identifies, and “power” (poder) is the predicate nominative that renames the subject “Christ” (Cristo). “Of God” (de Dios) is the prepositional phrase that explains “Christ” with “of” as the preposition and “God” as the object proper noun of the preposition.

Jesus is the wisdom of God. Photo by Franck Denis on Pexels.com

y sabidura de Dios = “and the wisdom of God.” “Y” is the conjunction that is connecting this to the previous predicate nomnative, “poder” (power). This means that there is a compound predicate nominative here: “power and wisdom,” (poder y sabidura). “De Dios” (of God), again, is a prepositional phrase with “de” (of) as the preposition and “Dios” as the object proper noun of the preposition.

Jesus loved us enough to die for us to show us the way. That is the power and wisdom of God. Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Let’s put this sentence all together: “Because the Jews ask for signs, and the Jews look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, for the Jews it is certainly a stumbling place, and for the Gentiles, craziness; moreover for the called, for Jews and Greeks alike, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

Some thinl the story of Jonah and the big fish actually happened. Others think it was just a parable used for teaching. Regardless, it was the sign for the Jews that Jesus is the son of God. He died, was in the grave for three days, and then rose again on the third day. . Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

The apostle Paul was preaching to all kinds of different people. He knew that each group required something different to understand. He has them pretty well pegged. He says Jews looked for a sign. Jesus told the Jews the only sign they would get was the sign of Jonah which means that he was going to die and rise again on the third day like Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days. The wisdom of the Greeks is famous. There are many famous Greeks who sought for wisdom: Sophocles, Aristotle, Plato, etc. Greeks were looking for wisdom in what was being said by Paul when he preached, and he knew it.

The apostle Paul was an extremely well educated man. His list of educational credential ran a mile long. He studied with Gamaliel who was well known and respected as the greatest Jewish teacher of the time. Paul could talk with the Greek philosophers and they listened. Paul stood up in the Areopagus in Athens and taught the Epicurian and Stoic philosophers about God, and they listened. (Acts 17). The name of a philosopher who became a Christian is in the last verse: Dionysus. Photo by Nishant Aneja on Pexels.com

He had an answer for all of them: Jesus Christ. No one in history had ever done the things that Jesus did, and no one has done anything like the things he did since he left this earth. He stilled storms at sea, he walked on water, he healed the sick, he created enough fish and bread for 5,000 people out of just a hand full of fish and bread. When he died, he rose again on the third day. These things are not just written about in the Bible, but also in history books. The apostles witnessed all this first hand. One hundred and twenty people saw him after he resurrected, and they saw him rise up into the Heavens from the mountain of Olives. The apostles were so convicted in what they were saying that they went out and turned the world upside down with their teaching. People don’t die for a lie. These guys wouldn’t stop teaching, so people killed them, all except the apostle John, and he was constantly saying, “Love one another.” This is the key to everything.

The conclusion of the mater is still: love one another. Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

The apostle Paul is trying to let the people know that each of them have different opinions here. However, in the end, there is only one thing that matters. Jesus showed us how to live by loving us so much me was willing to die for us. Do we sacrifice for others? Do we love others? If each person is doing his part, what a wonderful wordl this would be.


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