An Unexpected Benefit of Spanish Bible Study!

February 4, 2013

I just finished reading and translating through Matthew in the Spanish RVR60. In this translation, Matthew 16:23 reads,

Pero él, volviéndose, dijo a Pedro: ¡Quítate de delante de mí, Satanás!; me eres tropiezo, porque no pones la mira en las cosas de Dios, sino en las de los hombres.

While translating this verse, I looked up poner in my Spanish dictionary to see if there might be some idiomatic expression used here that I did not know about. Not finding any such idiom, I then looked up mira and found the help that I was looking for:

“poner la mira en : to aim at, to aspire to”

Using this basic idea, I translated the latter part of the verse as follows: “because you are not aiming at or aspiring to the things of God, but the things of men.” Immediately, Colossians 3:2 came to my mind, so I checked the Spanish rendering of the verse to see if the Spanish might use the same idiom there:

R60 Col 3:2 Poned la mira en las cosas de arriba, no en las de la tierra.

To my great delight, I discovered that both verses used the same idiom! By reading Matthew 16 in Spanish, the Spirit thus quickened my mind to connect two passages that I do not remember ever connecting previously.

I had read the KJV of both passages numerous times before but not connected (as far as I can remember) the verses, perhaps because they use different expressions (in bold):

Matt. 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

The relevant parts of the Greek text of both passages, however, do read similarly, so I could have made the connection in the previous times that I have read the Greek NT:

SCR Mat 16:23 ὁ δὲ στραφεὶς εἶπε τῷ Πέτρῳ, Ὕπαγε ὀπίσω μου, Σατανᾶ, σκάνδαλόν μου εἶ· ὅτι οὐ φρονεῖς τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

SCR Col 3:2 τὰ ἄνω φρονεῖτε, μὴ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

At least on this occasion, the Spirit thus used my studying the Spanish RVR60 to illumine my mind to see parallel ideas that are in the Greek text and also are in the KJV through the use of conceptually similar wording (savour . . . the things vs. set your affection on things).

From my studying these passages in Spanish and English, God challenged me that I need to set my mind on the things of God, especially on the things that are above. I also learned that studying the Spanish Bible can help me see things that I have not previously seen in Scripture through my study of it in English and Greek!

Rajesh

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