Kingdom (of God / heaven)

(To view the different translations of this term in a simplified graphical form on a new page, click or tap here.)

The German Good News Bible (Die Bibel im heutigen Deutsch) (1st edition: 1968, 2nd edition: 1982, 3rd edition: 1997) says this about the translation of the Greek expressions that in English are often translated as “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven” respectively:

“An example for how a term evolved is the rendering of ‘heavenly kingdom’ or ‘kingdom of God.’ A verbatim translation will be misunderstood by most readers today: as if it talks about a kingdom that is located in heaven, when in reality it refers in the Bible to God being the ruler, to that area in which that rule has been realized and everything that human beings can expect because of that. Dependent on the context, the term is therefore translated differently in this present version: When it focuses on the presence of God’s kingdom it is rendered as ‘God establishes his rule’ (Gott richtet seine Herrschaft auf), when the focus is on the future it is translated as ‘Once God finalizes his creation (or ‘work’) . . . ‘ (Wenn Gott sein Werk vollendet . . .), and when the focus is on that finished creation it is ‘God’s new world’ (Gottes neue Welt).” (p. 299)

The respective translation choice in that German translation:

Likewise in the Gurung translation the term was also, depending on context, rendered in four different ways:

  • God’s power at work in the world,
  • the personal response to God, in obedience and receiving blessing,
  • God’s future open ruling of the world,
  • the ultimate blessings of God’s rule in heaven.

(Source: Warren Glover in The Bible Translator 1978, p. 231ff. — here you can also find a comprehensive list of examples where which translation was applied.)

Following is a list of (back-) translations from other languages:

  • Tzeltal: “persons like these will reach God’s government” (as in Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16: “the Kingdom of God belongs to those”) or “the jurisdiction of God” (in the sense of where God has the authority)
  • Copainalá Zoque: “like God to rule over”
  • San Miguel El Grande Mixtec: “agree to God reigning over”
  • Kekchí: “power (or authority) of God”
  • Laka: “God’s commanding”
  • Javanese: “the rule of God”
  • Huave: “where God rules”
  • Huastec: “God as ruler”
  • San Blas Kuna: “God’s government”
  • Navajo: “what God has charge of”
  • Sayula Popoluca: “to have God rule over”
  • Tzotzil: “to have God as chief”
  • Highland Puebla Nahuatl: “the leadership of God”
  • Wayuu: “where God is chief” (this and examples above in Bratcher / Nida)
  • Fuyug “God’s clan”
  • Mono: “sana lala’aha nang” – “area of chiefly rule”
  • Martu Wangka: “The Father looks after his own relatives” (source for this and the two preceding: Carl Gross)
  • Caribbean Javanese: Kratoné Allah (“God’s seat (of a king)”)
  • Sranan Tongo: Tiri fur Gado (“the Ruling of God”) or Kownukondre fur Gado (“King’s land of God”)
  • Eastern Maroon Creole: A Nyun Tii fu Massa Gadu / Saramaccan: Di Njunjun Tii u Gadu (both: “the New ruling of God”) (source for this and 2 above: Jabini 2015)
  • Umiray Dumaget Agta: “protectorate of God” (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)
  • Lalana Chinantec: “how God is the boss of people’s hearts”
  • Chuj: “everything which is in God’s hand” (source for this and one above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

In Mairasi, a language “where people would rather say something in a new way than in an old way,” there are a number of translations, including “Great Above One’s (=God) rule,” “His power,” “His control,” or “His place of authority/power.” (Source: Enggavoter 2004)

In Q’anjob’al, the translators stumbled on an additional difficulty. Newberry and Kittie Cox (in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 91ff.) explain: “‘The kingdom of God’ may be translated ‘where God supervises’ (or literally ‘guards’). However, in Mark 10:15 and Luke 18:17 it is not possible to speak of ‘receiving the kingdom of God,’ for this would imply that one simply takes over the responsibility for guarding God’s country while He rests. Accordingly, the translation is adapted to meet the cultural and linguistic requirements of the language by the form ‘receive God as king.’

See also your kingdom come.

cornerstone

Bawm build with bamboo and thatch in their mountainous forests. They made the apostles and prophets become the roof ridge pole and Jesus the central uprights which support it. I asked why not the corner uprights since Greek has a term that is translated in English as ‘cornerstone.’ Bawm translators responded that the central uprights are more important than the corner ones, and Greek refers to the most important stone. (“Corner uprights” used in 1Tim 3:15.) (Source: David Clark)

In Mono, translators used “main post,” in Martu Wangka “two forked sticks with another long strong stick laid across” (see also 1 Peter 2:6-7.), and in Arrernte, the translation in 1Pet 2:7 (in English translation: “the stone . . . became the very cornerstone”) was rendered as “the foundation… continues to be the right foundation.” (Source for this and two above: Carl Gross)

Likewise, in Uripiv it also is the “post” (source: Ross McKerras) as well as in Sabaot (source Jim Leonhard in Holzhausen / Riderer 2010, p. 50)

In Ixcatlán Mazatec it is translated with a term denoting the “the principal part of the ‘house’ (or work)” (Source: Robert Bascom), in Enlhet as “like the house-root” (source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 24ff.), in Q’anjob’al it is translated with with the existing idiom “ear of the house.” (Source: Newberry and Kittie Cox in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 91ff.), in Desano as “main support of the house,” and in Tataltepec Chatino as “the best stone” (source for this and one above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.).

See also rock / stone, foundation on rock, and foundation.

fishers of men

The Greek that is translated as “(I will make you) fishers of men (or: people)” in English is rendered in Martu Wangka as “before you used to work getting fish for people, now i think you should do another work getting people and teaching them to be my relatives” (source: Carl Gross).

In Galela it is translated as “. . . you teach people to follow me, which is similar to you netting fish to gather them in” (source: Howard Shelden in Kroneman 2004, p. 501).

perfect

The Greek that is translated as “be perfect” in English is rendered in Martu Wangka as “sit correctly.”

I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners

The Greek that is translated in English as “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners” is translated in Martu Wangka as “I came to the earth to teach bad people who are like those sick ones so that they can hear the Father’s word and become his relatives. I didn’t come for the good people — no.”

woe (to you)

The Greek that is translated as “woe to you” or similar in English is translated in Martu Wangka as “you sit as sorry ones.”

gentiles

The Greek that is often translated as “gentiles” in English is often translated as a “local equivalent of ‘foreigners,'” such “the people of other lands” (Guerrero Amuzgo), “people of other towns” (Tzeltal), “people of other languages” (San Miguel El Grande Mixtec), “strange peoples” (Navajo) (this and above, see Bratcher / Nida), “outsiders” (Ekari), “people of foreign lands” (Kannada), “non-Jews” (North Alaskan Inupiatun), “people being-in-darkness” (a figurative expression for people lacking cultural or religious insight) (Toraja-Sa’dan) (source for this and three above Reiling / Swellengrebel), “from different places all people” (Martu Wangka) (source: Carl Gross).

Tzeltal translates it as “people in all different towns,” Chicahuaxtla Triqui as “the people who live all over the world,” Highland Totonac as “all the outsider people,”Sayula Popoluca “(people) in every land” (source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.), Chichimeca-Jonaz as “foreign people who are not Jews,” and Sierra de Juárez Zapotec as “people of other nations” (source of this and one above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.).

See also nations.

complete verse (Matthew 7:1)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 7:1:

  • Uma: “‘Don’t criticize others, so that God also will not criticize us.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “‘Do not put-down/criticize your companion so that God will not judge you,” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Don’t criticize your companion so that God won’t criticize you.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Jesus continued to teach saying, ‘Don’t turn-yourselves-into (lit. cause-your bodies -to-become) those who judge your companions so that God also will not judge and condemn you.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Jesus continued his teaching, saying, ‘Put far away the habit of always criticizing your (plural) companion, so that you won’t be being criticized too.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Do not want to make judgments on what other people do, so that God will not judge you in what you do.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Martu Wangka: “You should not rubbish another person (to make a decision that what they are doing is wrong and talk against them). You should think carefully so that later, the Father does not scold you and send you off. If you think carefully about another person without rubbishing them, the Father later, will think carefully about you without scolding you and sending you off.” (Source: Carl Gross)

complete verse (1 Peter 3:15)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Peter 3:15:

  • Uma: “Offer our lives to Kristus, and admit/confess that he alone is our Lord. We must make-ready ahead of time our answer to answer people who ask us why we trust in God. But we answer them with smooth/gentle words and with humbleness [lit., a low heart].” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “You should respect Isa Almasi in your liver and you should honor him because he is your Lord. Think beforehand what you will answer if someone asks you why you trust in Isa Almasi.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “You must always consider that your master is Christ. You must always prepare an answer if someone asks you why you trust in God.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “but rather thoroughly esteem/respect and acknowledge Cristo as the holy Lord. Always be prepared so that if someone questions you concerning the basis of your hope/expectation as a Cristoian, you will be able to answer. But see to it that your way of answering is soft/gentle, showing proper respect.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Rather, concentrate your mind/inner-being to acknowledge Cristo with respect, that he really is your Lord/chief. You must always be ready to explain to whoever will ask you concerning this Good News which you are sure of. But be careful to explain slowly/gently to them and to speak with respect.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Respect Christ because he is your Lord. If someone asks you about your beliefs, always know what to answer them. Act respectfully to those who question you, and when you speak, do so softly.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Martu Wangka: “You should sit true to Christ and think like this, ‘Jesus Christ is my big boss and I will sit true to him only.’ If another person asks you, ‘Why is it that you sit true to Jesus?’ You should carefully report to him Jesus’s talk — you should not speak angrily to him.” (Source: Carl Gross)

complete verse (Matthew 7:24)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 7:24:

  • Uma: “‘Whoever hears my words and follows them, that person is like a smart person who builds his house on top of a strong foundation stone.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “‘So-then, whoever hears those my words and follows/obeys them, he is like a man who is a real expert in thinking who built his house on stone/rock.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Whoever hears all of these my advices and he carries them out, he is like a wise person. For this wise person, he built a house on a large stone.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “‘All who hear and believe/obey what I am saying can be compared to a wise/intelligent person who built his house on a rock.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “‘Therefore whoever listens and obeys these things I am teaching, he is like a wise/thinking person who built his house on ground with rocks in it and put-posts-down-deep. (This is what makes a Tagbanwa house sturdy.)” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Concerning the person who hears all that I speak and does what I say, such a one is to be compared with a man who is wise and builds his house on rock.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Martu Wangka: “If a person hears/obeys my talk and sits obedient to me, he who belongs to Jesus will be like another, like this working-bloke. This knowledgeable working-bloke will build correctly a house on a big flat rock.” (Source: Carl Gross)

complete verse (1 Peter 3:16)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Peter 3:16:

  • Uma: “And our behavior must not be able to be faulted. Our behavior must be as is fitting for followers of Kristus, so that if there are people who falsely-accuse us, they will just end up be embarrassed instead.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “But what you say shall be good when you answer and treat those who ask you according-to-custom/respect them. You shouldn’t do any bad so that you are not troubled in your mind in order that if somebody talks-evil-about/insults you about your good conduct, because you follow Isa Almasi, they will finally become ashamed about what they said.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “You must be respectful as you answer, and you must speak softly. There must be no sin in your breath, as disciples of Christ, for if you have no evil behaviour, the one who criticizes you will become ashamed because of what he says.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Your thoughts/minds should always be clean so that if there are those who speak-evil-of you because of your good behavior as a Cristoian, they will be shamed by their evil words.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “And as-has-been-said, make sure that what you are doing always is, only that which you know to be righteous, so that the ones who speak-derogatorily of your serving of Cristo, they will be ashamed of those libels/sarcasms of theirs about you.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “That which you know is good, that is what you must do. Therefore those who speak evil of you because you are believing in Christ will be made ashamed.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Martu Wangka: “And if you continue to sit true to Jesus Christ, maybe another person may scold you for nothing, then that one will become shamed because you sit correctly for Jesus.” (Source: Carl Gross)

complete verse (Matthew 10:34)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 10:34:

  • Uma: “‘Don’t say like this, that I have come to make-in-harmony people. No! I have come to cause-differences among people / make people disagree.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “‘Is it that you mistakenly-think I come to bring peace to the world? I did not come to bring peace but I came to bring a reason for opposition/resistance.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Don’t you think that I came here to the world so that there would be no trouble for mankind. I didn’t come here so that there would be peace, for because of my coming here, people will be against each other.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Jesus also said, ‘Don’t say that I came to bring peace to this earth, because the truth of it is that I came to bring quarreling/fighting and separating of people.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “It’s necessary that you don’t think that I came here to bring peace so that people here in the world will be harmonious. Because some will believe in me, others not. Therefore it’s like a bladed-weapon is what I have brought when I came here, because the outcome will be conflict.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Do not think that I came to earth so that you would not suffer anything at all. That is not right. Rather there will be wars (all kinds of enmity between people).” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Martu Wangka: “I came to the ground to tell you all the Father’s talk. Some people will hear that talk and rejoice and live for the Father, and others will hear that talk and will dislike the Father. Those ones will also dislike the Father’s relatives.” (Source: Carl Gross)