Logos, Word

Newman / Nida describe some of the difficulties surrounding the translation of the Greek “Logos” which is typically translated as “Word” in English (click or tap here to read more):

“The term ‘the Word’ has a rich heritage, by way of both its Greek and Jewish backgrounds. For the Greeks who held to a theistic view of the universe, it could be understood as the means by which God reveals himself to the world, while among those who were pantheistic in outlook, the Word was the principle that held the world together and at the same time endowed men with the wisdom for living. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint), the Word could be used both of the means by which God had created the world (Ps 33:6) and through which he had revealed himself to the world (Jer 1:4; Ezek 1:3; Amos 3:1). Among certain of the Greek-speaking Jews of New Testament times, there was much speculation about the ‘wisdom’ of God, which God ‘made in the very beginning, at the first, before the world began’ (Prov 8:22-23). (…) By the time that John writes his Gospel, the Word is close to being recognized as a personal being, and it has roles relating to the manner in which God created the world and to the way in which God reveals himself to the world that he brought into being. Moffatt [whose English translation of the New Testament was published in 1913], realizing the difficulty in finding a term equivalent in meaning to the one used by John, transliterates the Greek term: ‘the Logos existed in the very beginning’ [see also Hart’s translation below]; while Phillips [New Testament translation published in 1958] at least makes an effort to give his translation meaning: ‘at the beginning God expressed himself.’

“Though the Greek term logos may be rendered ‘word,’ it would be wrong to think it indicates primarily a grammatical or lexical unit in a sentence. Greek has two other terms which primarily identify individual words, whether they occur in a list (as in a dictionary) or in a sentence. The term logos, though applicable to an individual word, is more accurately understood as an expression with meaning; that is, it is ‘a message,’ ‘a communication,’ and, as indicated, a type of ‘revelation.’ A literal translation, therefore, more or less equivalent to English ‘word,’ is frequently misleading.

“In some languages there are additional complications. For example, in some languages the term ‘word’ is feminine in gender, and therefore any reference to it must also be feminine [or neuter — see German below]. As a result, the possible use of pronouns in reference to Jesus Christ can be confusing. Furthermore, in many languages a term such as ‘word’ must be possessed. One cannot speak about ‘the word’ without indicating who spoke the word, since words do not exist apart from the persons who utter them.

“Because of these and other difficulties, many translators treat the term ‘Word’ or Logos as a title, and that is precisely what it is. The very fact that it is normally capitalized in English translations marks it as a title; but in many languages the fact of its being a title must be more clearly indicated by some explicit expression, for example, ‘the one who was called the Word’ [see Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac below] or ‘the one known as the Word’ [see German below] In this way the reader can understand from the beginning that ‘Word’ is to be understood as a designation for a person.

“Therefore, this first sentence in John 1:1 may be rendered ‘Before the world was created, the one who was known as the Word existed’ or ‘… the person called the Word existed.’ In languages which employ honorific forms it is particularly appropriate to use such an indication with the title ‘Word.’ Such a form immediately marks the designation as the title of deity or of a very important personage, depending, of course, upon the usage in the language in question.”

Translation for “Logos” include:

  • Xicotepec De Juárez Totonac: “the one who is called the Word”
  • Sayula Popoluca: “the Word by which God is known”
  • Miahuatlán Zapotec: “one who revealed God’s thoughts”
  • Alekano: “God’s wise Speech”
  • Tojolabal: “he who told us about God” (Source for this and above: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February, 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “Jesus Christ the person who is the Word, he who gives eternal life”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “the Word that gives new life to our hearts”
  • Garifuna: “the one named Word, the one who gives life” (Source for this and two above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)
  • Tzeltal de Oxchuc y Tenejapa (Highland Tzeltal): te C’opile: “the Word” (in a new, 2001 version of the New Testament to avoid the previous translation “the Word of God,” a term also used for “Bible.” — Source: Robert Bascom)
  • Mairasi: “The Message” (source: Enggavoter 2004)
  • German: Er, der ‘das Wort’ ist: “He who is ‘the Word'” — this solution circumvents the different gender of Jesus (masculine) and “das Wort” (neuter) (in: Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch, 3rd edition: 1997)
  • Anindilyakwa: Originally translated as N-ayakwa-murra or “he having the properties of a word/message/language.” Since this was not understandable, it is now “Jesus Christ, the one who revealed God who was hidden from us” (Source: Julie Waddy in The Bible Translator 2004, p. 452ff.)
  • Tonga: Folofola: “Originally, the term is used in the kingly language and is related to the meaning of unrolling the mat, an indispensable item in Tongan traditions. The mats, especially those with beautiful and elaborate designs, are usually rolled up and kept carefully until the visit of a guest to the house. The term thus evokes to the Tongans the idea of God’s Word being unrolled to reveal his love and salvation for mankind.” (Source: Joseph Hong in The Bible Translator 1994, p. 329ff.)
  • Ajië: (click or tap here to read an explanation by Maurice Leenhardt — in The Bible Translator 1951, p. 154ff.):

    “There are other words that the learned translators of the West have in vain tried to render into rich tongues as French or Latin. They found obscure expressions for the common ‘word’ or ‘speech’ (…) It would seem that these words would present insurmountable difficulties for the translator in primitive languages. Missionaries of the Loyalty Islands could not find the word to translate ‘Word,’ nor have they imagined that there could be a corresponding term in the native language. They simply introduced the Greek word into the vocabulary, pronouncing it in the native fashion, ‘In the beginning the Logos’. These people are intelligent; and do not appreciate pronouncing words which make no sense whatsoever. However, when a Caledonian speaks French, he translates his thoughts as they seem to him the most adequate. He can easily express himself relative to the man who has conceived good things, has said them, or done them. He simply describes such a person as, ‘The word of this man is good’. Thought, speech, and action are all included in the New Caledonian term no. In speaking of an adulterous man one may say, ‘He has done an evil word’. One may speak of a chief who does not think, order, or act correctly as, ‘His word is not good’. The expression ‘the Word of God’ is limited in our speech to meaning of the divine Scriptures, but in New Caledonian it includes the thoughts and acts of God, ‘God said and it was done’. The New Caledonian has no difficulty in seeing the Word becoming action, becoming flesh, the word becoming a physical reality. Our deceased colleague Laffay once said: ‘I prefer to read John in the Ajië rather than in French’.

The recent English New Testament translation by David Bentley Hart (2017), that uses the transliteration Logos for the Greek Λόγος, says this about its translation (p. 549p.): “In certain special instances it is quite impossible for a translator to reduce [Λόγος] to a single word in English, or in any other tongue (though one standard Chinese version of the Bible renders logos in the prologue of John’s Gospel as 道 (tao), which is about as near as any translation could come to capturing the scope and depth of the word’s religious, philosophical, and metaphoric associations in those verses, while also carrying the additional meaning of “speech” or “discourse”).”

Below you can find some background of this remarkable Chinese translation (click or tap here to read more):

Dao 道, which developed into a central concept of classical Chinese philosophy, originally carried the meaning of “path” and “(main) road.” From there it developed into “leading” and “teaching” as well as “say” and “speak.”

As early as the 7th century BC, however, dao appears with the meaning “method.” With this and the derived meaning of “the (right) way” and “moral principle,” dao became one of the central concepts of the Confucian writings.

In Daoist writings (especially in the Daodejing), dao goes far beyond the Confucian meaning to take on creative qualities.

With this new compendium of meaning, the term became suitable for numerous foreign religions to represent central points of their doctrine, including Buddhism (as a translation for bodhi — “enlightenment”), Judaism (similar to the Confucians as the “right [Jewish] way”), and Islam (likewise the “right [Muslim] way”).

The Jesuits, who had intensively dealt with Confucianism from the 16th century on, also took over dao as the “correct (Catholic) way,” and the so-called Figurists, a group of Jesuits in the 18th century who saw the Messianic figure of Jesus Christ outlined in Chinese history, went so far as to point to the existence of John’s Logos in the dao of Daodejing.

In later Catholic Bible translations, dao was rarely used as a translation for Logos; instead, the Latin Verbum (from the Latin Vulgate) was transliterated, or yan 言 — “language”, “meaning” — was used, usually with the prefix sheng 圣 — “holy” (also used by the Russian Orthodox Church).

Protestant translations, however, began to use dao as a translation for Logos in the 1830s and have largely retained this practice to this day.

Some voices went so far as to describe Logos and dao as a point of contact between Christianity and the Chinese religions. By its gradual shaping in Greek and Jewish philosophy, Logos had become an appropriate “word vessel.” Similarly, dao’s final formation in Daodejing had also assumed the necessary capacity to serve as a translation for Logos.

The origins of dao and Logos have some clear differences, not the least being the personal relationship of Logos as the Son of God with God the Father. But it is remarkable that using dao as the translation of Logos emulates John’s likely intention with the use of Logos: the central concept of the philosophical and religious ideas of the target culture was used to translate the central concept of Christian theology.

This was not possible in the case of European cultures, which for the most part have offered only translations such as Word or Verbum, terms without any prior philosophical or religious meaning. Only advanced civilizations like China — or ancient Greece — were able to accomplish that. (Summarized version of: Zetzsche, Jost. Aspekte der chinesischen Bibelübersetzung. R. Malek (ed.) Fallbeispiel China. Beiträge zur Religion, Theologie und Kirche im chinesischen Kontext. Nettetal: Steyler Verlag, 1996.)

Peng Kuo-Wei add this perspective (in Noss / Houser, p. 885): “The Chinese term chosen for logos in the is not hua (“word” or “utterance”) but dao from which the term “Taoism” is derived and which can denote a general principle, a way (concrete or abstract), or reason. Thus, Chinese readers can understand that the dao of God is not just words spoken by God, but it constitutes the guiding salvific principle underlying the whole biblical account, including his action in history and teaching and action of Jesus whom he sent. Jesus is the dao of God because his ministry, death and resurrection comprises the fulfillment and realization of God’s theological and ethical principles for humanity.”

Word of life

The Greek that is translated as “Word of life” in most English versions is translated as “the one named Word, the one who gives life” in Garifuna and “the one called word that is in charge of all life” in Tzotzil.

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation November 1964, p. 1-22.

complete verse (3John 1:1)

Following are a number of back-translation of 3John 1:1:

Yatzachi Zapotec: “I in my old age am writing to you dear Gayo. Truly I love you.”

Eastern Highland Otomi: “I am the Old-Man Leader, I am sending this paper to you, dear Gaius, loved one. And also I love you in regards to the true Word which we (dual) believe.”

Isthmus Zapotec: “I am an old man. I am writing this letter to a friend of mine, (whose) name is Gayo, whom I truly love.”

Garifuna: “I, an elderly person, write to my friend the one named Gayo (necessary to avoid the connotation of writing to a rooster), the one whom I love. I love you with all my heart (genuine love).”

Source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.

Son of God

The Greek that is translated as “Son of God” in English is translated in Shipibo-Conibo as “God’s Child” and in Garifuna as “God’s offspring.” (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

Nida (1984, p. 113) remarks on this “It was a common expression in Hebrew to say that someone was the ‘Son of…’ something to express that they shared characteristics with that thing etc. Eg ‘Son of peace’ ‘son of thunder.’ Therefore ‘Son of God’ meant that Jesus shared characteristics with God. This wasn’t carried over into Greek and was interpreted more biologically.”

See also Son of Man and Sons of Thunder.

complete verse (1 John 5:20)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 John 5:20:

  • Uma: “What we know: God’s Child arrived in the world, and he made-clear [i.e., enlightened] our hearts so that we know God who is true. We are in harmony with that God who is true, for we are in harmony with Yesus Kristus his Child. He is the God who is true. From him we get good life forever.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “We (incl.) know that God’s Son has come and has given us (incl.) understanding therefore we (incl.) know now the true God. And we (incl.) are really now one with the true God because we (dual) are one now with his Son, Isa Almasi. He is the true God and is the one giving everlasting life.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “We (incl.) also know that the Son of God has come here to the world, and He has given to us (incl.) understanding so that we might be the friends of the true God. We (incl.) have become one with the true God, for we have become one with His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God; He is the source of life without end.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Third, we know that God’s Child came to this earth and he has illuminated our minds so that we can know the true God. Therefore we have been joined to the true God for we have been joined to his Child who is Jesu Cristo. He is the true God just the same and the source of life that has no end.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And we really know that the Son of God came down here to us, and he has now given us the ability to understand, so that we will really recognize/know the true God. Today we are now in harmony with God because we are now united/tied-together with his Son Jesu-Cristo. The truth is, as for this Jesu-Cristo, he really is the true God who is the source of life which is without ending.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Now we know that the Son of God has come here and given us understanding so that we know who was the true God. Now we walk with the true God, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This one truly is God and he gives the new life forever.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “And we know that God’s son has come and has caused us to understand in order that we know the person who is truly God. And we are joined together with the person who is truly God in that we are joined together with Jesus Christ.The true God is Jesus Christ’s father and he gives eternal life.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “And we know that God’s Son really arrived in the world. And he caused us to know God, the true (who is really) God. And we live with the real God because we live with Jesus Christ. And he is truly God, He who gives us the new life of our hearts that will never end.”
  • Tzotzil: “We know also that the Son of God came. Because he has given us the wisdom of our hearts therefore we have come to know the true God. We are in the presence of the true God because we are in the presence of his Son, that is Jesus Christ. He is the true God. He gives us our life forever.”
  • Garifuna: “We know that God’s offspring has come in the world. Then he caused us to know the genuine God. We are with (progressive) the genuine God, the one who is Jesus Christ God’s offspring. That God is the genuine one. Also he is the one who gives the life which does not end to us.” (Source for this and three above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (1 John 1:2)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 John 1:2:

  • Uma: “The one who gives life, he appeared in this world, and we (excl.) saw [emphatic] him. That’s why we (excl.) make-clear [i.e., explain] to you who he is, and testify that he is the one who gives good life forever. From the first he already was with God the Father, and he appeared to us (excl.).” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “He was shown/revealed in the shape/form of a human/mankind. We (excl.) really saw him therefore we (excl.) witness telling you about the one who gives life which has no end. In the beginning he was there with his Father God, and he was shown/revealed to us (excl.).” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “When this source of life came down here to the earth, we (excl.) saw Him, and because of that we will tell you what we have seen. We will explain to you about the One titled Life Without End. He was the companion of our Father God before, and then He was revealed to us (excl.) here on the earth.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Yes indeed, he who is the source of life, he was made evident to us (excl.). We(excl.) really saw him. That’s why we (excl.) now testify about him, and we (excl.) are now teaching you concerning him who is alive without ending. From long ago, he was already there in the presence of God the Father, and now/today, he has been made evident to us (excl.).” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “This one who gives the new life caused it to be known who he was. And we saw him and now we give our witness that we saw him. Now we tell you that this one who gives the new life has no beginning and has no ending to his life. He was living there where his Father is, but he came here so that we saw him.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “He revealed himself to us and we saw him and we say that he lives eternally. And we proclaim to you (plural) that he is with our (in) father God and how he revealed himself to us.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “And he the Word who gives the new life showed himself to us in that he became a person. And we saw that he really became a person. So that’s what we are telling you now, that he is the one who was living, and lives now, and will never end. He was living with his Father and later came into the world and showed himself to us.”
  • Tzotzil: “He showed himself that he is the giver of life. We saw him. Therefore we tell you (plural) what he is like the giver of everlasting life, who was there with our (inclusive) Father God. Afterwards he came and showed himself before us.”
  • Garifuna: “The one who gives life has been shown to us…” (Source for this and three above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (1 John 5:21)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 John 5:21:

  • Uma: “My children, be careful that you not worship lords that are not true.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “My children-grandchildren, don’t make-into-God anything other than the true God. Wassalam” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “My children, avoid worshipping anything which is not the true God.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “My children whom I love, be sure to distance-yourselves from false-gods/idols.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “My like children, be careful what you believe-in/obey and serve. Make sure that there is nothing at all with which you will replace this true God.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Listen, my children, do not worship the idols which are merely manufactured.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “My little children, do not worship anything other than only God.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “My dear children, we must not believe the deceiving (untrue) gods. This is what we will think on now.”
  • Tzotzil: “Therefore, my children, idols are not useful to us in any way (means that we should not have anything to do with them). Thus let it be.”
  • Garifuna: “My children/offspring. Don’t you bow down (worship) before whatever thing that is not God.” (Source for this and three above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (1 John 2:15)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 John 2:15:

  • Uma: “Let’s not love this world, or any of its contents. Whoever loves this world, they don’t love God the Father.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Don’t feel-good/like-to-do doing the things most people in this world do and don’t feel-good-about/like the various things in this world. Whoever feels-good-about/likes these things, he does not love his Father God.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “It is necessary that the activities of the people here on the earth who are the enemies of God are not big in our (incl.) breath; it is also necessary that there is nothing here on the earth which is big in our breath. For if there is a person and what is big in his breath are those things, it is not possible that what is dear in his breath is our Father God.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “You shouldn’t love the behavior which is opposed to what God wants and that which is on this earth, because if you love these-things, you also have no love for God our Father.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “I urge you, no longer give preference to the ways of here under the heavens which are opposed to the will of God, or whatever here which is opposed to him. Because whoever still chooses-to-remain-committed-to these, it’s clear that he has no holding dear for this Father of ours.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Do not like the evil there is here in the world. He who likes the evil here in the world is the person who does not know how to love our Father.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “Do not you desire intensely to do like the evil head-hearted people do, and likewise do not you desire intensely the things you will have in this world. We know if we are desiring intensely to do like the evil head-hearted people are doing, we have not yet come to love our father God.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “Don’t like the world, neither the deeds of the world. If someone likes (loves) the world, he doesn’t esteem God.”
  • Tzotzil: “Don’t let it be that your hearts get taken up with what belongs to the world and what is here in the world. Because if our hearts are taken up with what belongs to the world, we don’t love our Father God.”
  • Garifuna: “Don’t you love the world’s character/conduct, nor any of the things which are in the world. If a person loves that which pertains to the world, he does not love (our) Father.” (Source for this and three above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (2 John 1:2)

Following are a number of back-translations of 2 John 1:2:

  • Uma: “We(excl.) love you because we (inc) believe in the true teaching, and that true teaching we hold-on-to forever.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “because the true teaching remains in out (incl.) livers and will remain with us (incl.) forever.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “The reason we (excl.) hold you all dear is because we (incl.) hold tight to the true doctrine, and as for this true doctrine, it will never be removed from us (incl.) forever.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “We love-one-another because the true teaching which remains in our minds forever has been stored in our minds.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “We(excl.) hold you dear because this truth has now been able to take root in our mind/inner-being, and it won’t separate from us till forever.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Because all of us now have the identical belief. And we know certainly that this is true. This we will believe forever.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “We (ex) love you because we know what is true and we will walk with it forever.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “We (ex) love you because you plant in your hearts the true Word, which resides in our hearts, and will never be lost.”
  • Isthmus Zapotec: “We (ex) love you because we are acquainted with that which is true now. And we will never forget it.”
  • Garifuna: “From within the belief which we are within, we have come to love you (the source of our love for you is our belief). This belief will be with us forever.” (Source for this and three above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (1 John 3:10)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 John 3:10:

  • Uma: “This is a sign so that we know who are-children of God and who are-children of the King of Evil-ones. All people who do not do God’s will, they are not God’s children. So also people who do not love their relatives, they are not God’s children.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “This is the difference between the children of God and the children of Satan/demon: the one who does not do the straight or does not love his fellow-men, he is not a child of God.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “If there is a person whose behavior is not righteous, this is a sign that he is not a son of God. Neither is any person a son of God who does not love his companion. By means of this, we can perceive who the sons of God are and who are the subjects of Satan.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Our means-of-distinguishing the children of God and the children of the Diablo is this: the people who are not children of God, they are the ones who are not doing what is good and who are not loving their companions.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Herein we can recognize whoever are now children of God, and who are still children of Satanas. As for the one who doesn’t persevere in doing righteousness in the sight of God and does not value his sibling in believing, it’s certain that he is not a child of God.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Now it will be known who are the ones who are God’s children, and who are the devil’s children. Everyone who does not want to do good nor wants to love his fellowman is not God’s child.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “This shows who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil. Whoever of us if we do not walk straight (are not righteous) we are not the children of God. And whoever of us if we do not love our fellowman we are not the children of God.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “In this way we can know which are children of God and which are children of the devil. He who habitually doesn’t do good isn’t God’s child, neither is one who doesn’t love his sibling.”
  • Tzotzil: “Thus it appears if we are the children of God, or if we are the children of the devil. Because if what we do is evil, if we do not love the brethren, we are not God’s children for sure.”
  • Garifuna: “The one who is not level (righteous) is not God’s offspring, nor the one who does not love his own kind ones (brother). Thus it is that God’s offspring and the devil’s offspring are known.”
  • Sayula Popoluca: “We know God’s sons and the Devil’s man because whoever doesn’t do that which is true, and doesn’t love his brother is not God’s son.” (Source for this and four above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (2 John 1:3)

Following are a number of back-translations of 2 John 1:3:

  • Uma: “God the Father and Yesus Kristus his Child bless us from his white insides [i.e., grace], show us his love, and give us goodness of life [i.e., peace, well-being]. All this is our portion with a heart that is upright and loving.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “May we (incl.) be cared for and be given mercy/pity by our (incl.) Father God and by Isa Almasi, his Son and may they cause peace in our (incl.) livers. All this is for us (incl.) who follow/obey the truth and love each other.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “As for our Father God and Jesus Christ His Son, may They show kindness to us (incl.), may They show us mercy, and give us a peaceful situation. This can be because we (incl.) have held tight to the true doctrine, and we (incl.) love our companions.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “If we continue to follow the true teaching and to love-one-another, we will gain/enjoy the help, mercy/grace/kindness and peace that come-from God our Father and Jesu Cristo his Child.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And the truth is, the grace/mercy, pitying help and peace/protection of mind/inner-being which God the Father and his Son (lit.Child) Jesu-Cristo give can always be ours. As for these things, God will really give them to those who have now recognized/acknowledged the truth and who value one another.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “May God our Father and also his Son Jesus Christ give us a blessing and have mercy on us, and give us peace of heart. They will cause that we will follow the true word and that we will love our fellow-believers.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “I ask before our father God and his son our Lord Jesus Christ that they will help you and pity you and cause you to be well off in your head-hearts (be at peace) because you are acquainted with what is true and you love your fellows each of you the other.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “My siblings, we all believe the same true Word, and also we love one another. And will remain in our hearts God’s blessing, and God’s favor, and continually will rest our hearts God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.”
  • Isthmus Zapotec: “God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to us and will have pity on us and quiet ourhearts. And truly they love us.”
  • Garifuna: “From within the true belief and love, God the one who is (our) Father will give kindness to you, pity/compassion, and tranquility (peace). Also (our) owner (our Lord) Jesus Christ the one who is (our) Father’s offspring will give it.” (Source for this and three above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)

complete verse (1 John 3:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 John 3:14:

  • Uma: “If we love our relatives, we know that we have been freed from death and we have received good life forever. People who don’t love their relatives, they have not yet been freed from death.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “We (incl.) know that now we (incl.) are no longer as if (figuratively) dead but we (incl.) really live. We (incl.) know this because we (incl.) love now our (incl.) fellow-men. The one who does not love, he is still as if figuratively dead.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “We (incl.) know that long ago what we were able to expect was death forever. And we know also that now we have life forever. The reason we know this is because our companions are now very dear in our breath. Anyone whose companions are not dear in his breath can still expect death forever.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Never-mind, because we know that we will not be separated from God as (we were) previously, but rather from now on we have life that has no end. We know that that is true, because we love our companions who believe. For the one who doesn’t love his fellow human-beings, it’s like he is still dead, because he is still separated from God.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “But it’s clear to us that as for us, we are no longer like dead in the sight of God, but rather we are now being given life which is without ending. We know this because we now really value our siblings in believing. As for the one who doesn’t yet value like this, it’s like he is still under the jurisdiction of death.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Before it seemed we lived, but it was like as though we were dead. Now we have met up with new life because we love our brethren. He who does not love his brethren seems to live yet it is like as though he were dead.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Yatzachi Zapotec: “Because we love our fellows therefore we know we are no longer with our head-hearts like a dead person as we were before. We have eternal life now. If we do not love our fellows then we are still like dead people with our head-hearts.”
  • Eastern Highland Otomi: “We know that we have left the road of death, and we have taken the road of life. This we know because we love our siblings. He who has no love resides in the power (dominion) of death.”
  • Tzotzil: “Because we love the brethren, therefore we know that we have left behind that we die. We now belong to it, that we live forever. If we don’t love the brethren, it is because we still belong to it, that we die.”
  • Garifuna: “We are dead. Now we have come to possess life. We know it because we love our own kind ones (brethren). The one who does not love his own kind ones, he is still here (existing) in death.” (Source for this and three above: John Beekman in Notes on Translation 12, November 1964, p. 1ff.)