gave up his spirit

The Greek that is often translated as “he gave up his spirit” in English is translated in a variety of ways:

  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “And then he died”
  • Aguaruna: “His breath went out”
  • Navajo: “He gave back his spirit”
  • Inupiaq: “He breathed his last”
  • Chol: “He caused his spirit to leave him”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “He sent away his life breath” (source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Kankanaey: “He entrusted his spirit to God”
  • Tagbanwa: “released his spirit” (lit. caused it to spring away)
  • Uma: “His spirit/breath broke”
  • Yakan: “His breath snapped”

bread of life

The Greek that is translated in English is translated in Bambam as “food of life” since “bread is considered a light and unnecessary snack.” (Source: Phil Campbell in Kroneman 2004, p. 500) Similarly, Huehuetla Tepehua has “that food that gives eternal life” and Aguaruna has “the food that gives eternal life.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125)

In Chol, it is translated as Joñon Wajo, the “waj (tortilla) of life.” John Beekman (in The Bible Translator 1962, p. 180f.) explains: “The word ‘bread’ in Scripture primarily occurs as either a specific term for bread (including the Lord’s Supper), or as a generic term for food. It is not surprising, however, the some aboriginal groups use something other than bread as the staff of life. The Chols, with their cultural focus in the cultivation of corn, use waj, a type of thin corn flake. Since a meal is not complete without this main item of food, the term has been extended to include any other foods which may be served along with waj. While bread is known to them, its use is limited to a few occasions during the year when it functions as a dessert. In translating this term in the Chol New Testament, consistent use has been made of the word waj whenever the function of bread as a basic food was in focus. John 6:35, “I am the bread of life,” was thus translated with this word. If the word for bread had been used, it was feared that the Chol would compare Christ to the desirable, but not absolutely necessary, dessert.”

complete verse (John 1:10)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:10:

  • Aguaruna: “He made the world. Having done that, he lived here in this world, but the ones from this world didn’t recognize him as Christ.”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “The person who is the Word was present in the world; and even though he made the world, the people in the world didn’t realize who he was.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “He was living in the world but the people of the world never came to know who he was, even though he is the one who made the world.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Uma: “He is the one who was-used-as-a-hand by God to create this world.
    But when he arrived in the world,
    the people in the world did not know him.”

Peace be with you

The Greek that is typically translated as “Peace be with you” in English is translated in Ojitlán Chinantec as “Have peaceful happy hearts,” in Huehuetla Tepehua as “Don’t be sad in your hearts,” in Aguaruna as “Be content,” in Shipibo-Conibo as “Think very good,” in Isthmus Mixe as “Don’t worry,” and in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac as “May it go well with you.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

it is finished

For the Greek that is translated with an equivalent of “It is finished (or: completed)” in most English Bible translations a perfect tense is used that has no direct equivalent in English. It expresses that an event has happened at a specific point in the past but that that event has ongoing results. The English “Expanded Translation” by Kenneth S. Wuest (publ. 1961) attempted to recreate that by translating “It has been finished and stands complete.”

Irish uses yet a different system of tenses, resulting in these translations:

  • Atá sé ar na chríochnughadh (Bedell An Biobla Naomhtha, publ. early 17th century): “It is upon its completion”
  • Tá críoch curtha air (Ó Cuinn Tiomna Nua, publ. 1970): “Completion is put on it”
  • Tá sé curtha i gcrích (An Bíobla Naofa, publ. 1981): “It is put in completion”

Source for the Irish: Kevin Scannell

In Ojitlán Chinantec it is translated as “My work is finished, in Aguaruna as “It is completely accomplished, and in Mezquital Otomi as “Now all is finished which I was commanded to do.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 1:11)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:11:

  • Lalana Chinantec: “He came back to his place, but they didn’t accept the Owner of the place where they were living.”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “He was born among us who are of his nation, and nearly all of us, his fellow countrymen, didn’t believe in him.”
  • Aguaruna: “He arrived at his own place but his relatives did not welcome him.”
  • Ojitlán Chinantec: “He came to the earth, his land, but his countrymen did not receive him.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Yakan: ” He came here to his place/country but he was not received by his tribe.”

Receive the Holy Spirit

The Greek that is translated in English as “Receive the Holy Spirit” is translated as “The Good Spirit, let it be yours” in Aguaruna, “Now receive from me the Holy Spirit” in Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac, “May the Holy Spirit come upon you” in Navajo, “Now you are accompanied by the Holy Spirit” in Tenango Otomi or “May the Holy Spirit enter into your hearts” in Lalana Chinantec.

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 10:30)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 10:30:

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

complete verse (John 1:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:14:

  • Aguaruna: “That word, when he arrived here, was born a human being, and in this way he lived with us. That completely good person was a speaker of the truth. And also we came to know his greatness because his Father, God, had said to his only Son, ‘You are great.'”
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “The Person who is the Word was born human and he was with us. He loved mankind very much and he taught mankind all the true words of God. We saw him and we realized that he is the Person of greatest worth because he is the only Son of our Father God.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “And the One who is called Word, he became a Person, and he lived in our midst. And we saw how he had power. That power is that of the only Son of Father God. He is very kind and merciful and all which he says it is true.”
  • Tenango Otomi: “He who makes known what God is like became a person. He lived here where we live. We saw that he is the greatest. He is the greatest because he is God’s only Son. He spoke only what is true and loves the people without limit.”
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And the one called the Word of God became human and joined himself to us. He is very gracious and his words are very true. We saw his great high rank which is the high rank of the only child of God. And as for that high rank of his, it was given to him by his Father God.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Yakan: “So-then, the Word appeared/was-born here in the world having a human body and living among mankind. All love and truth was there with him. We (excl) were-able to see his power and his brightness, and this his power and brightness were fitting for him for he is the only Son of God.”
  • Uma: “That Word, he became man[kind],
    and he lived among us (incl.).
    We (excl.) saw his power.
    That power of his he received from his Father,
    for He is the Only Child.
    [It is] from him that we know God
    and his grace [lit., white insides; see grace] to us.”
  • Kankanaey: “The Word, he became a person and stayed-with us (ex). He was consistently-compassionate and what he said was all true. We (ex) saw his godhood which was the godhood of the only Child of God who came-from his Father.”

complete verse (John 1:16)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 1:16:

  • Huehuetla Tepehua: “And since he has much love, for that reason we all receive many favors which he does for us.”
  • Ojitlán Chinantec: “His heart is good to the fullest. Therefore he makes his heart good to us day after day.”
  • Aguaruna: “He is truly goodness, and so he does good to us also.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “He has done for us many kindnesses since he is very kind and merciful.”
  • Tojolabal: “He has everything, and he has given us many favors.” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Yakan: “Because there with the Word is all the love, we (incl) all also profit/have a share in his love and help. His love and help is added to us (incl) all the time/increasingly.”
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And since he is very gracious, the good thing which he blesses all of us with never stop.”
  • Uma: “There is no end to his love,
    and from his love he blesses us all,
    there is no end to the blessing we receive from him.”

complete verse (John 3:6)

Following are a number of back-translations of John 3:6:

  • Umiray Dumaget Agta: “That which originates from the body of a person is the body of a person. That which originates from the Spirit of God is spirit.”
  • Aguaruna: “Those born from people are people. Those born by God’s spirit, they have God’s spirit.”
  • Ojitlán Chinantec: “All the children of human beings are human beings by birth. All who are born another time, this being the work of the Holy Spirit, these are new people.”
  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “One who is a child of people, he has his flesh and bones. And one who has his new life by the power of the Holy Spirit, he has the Spirit of God.”
  • Chol: “He who is born of a mother is given a body. He who is born of the spirit is given life in his heart.”
  • Alekano: “One that people give birth to will surely have a person’s soul. One that the Spirit gives birth to, he will surely have the Spirit’s soul.”
  • Tenango Otomi: “A child, when it is born, if his parents are only people, is also only a person. But in order for a person to live anew, only the Holy Spirit can cause it.”
  • Lalana Chinantec: “People’s flesh and blood causes our flesh and blood to be alive when we are born. But the great Spirit of God causes our hearts to be alive.”

(Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)