comfort from love, consolation of love

The Greek that is translated into English as “comfort from love” or “consolation of love” is translated into Navajo as “if by loving your minds can be put to that place of refuge.” (Source: Nida 1964, p. 228)

In Western Highland Purepecha “consolation” in this verse is translated as “God takes sadness from our hearts” and in Aymara as “preparing the heart.” (Source: Nida 1952, p. 131)

there is no fear in love

The phrase that is translated as “there is no fear in love” in English has been translated in Huautla Mazatec as “he who really loves forgets to be afraid.” “The concepts of love and fear must be expressed by verbs, not nouns, and hence an actor must be expressed. Furthermore, the relationship indicated by the English ‘in’ must be radically altered, for though in can express the relationship of objects to each other in Huautla Mazatec, it does not show the relationship of events, as it does in English.” (Source: Nida 1964, p. 196).

See also complete verse (1 John 4:18) and love (abstract noun).

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Gal. 2:15)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

“In Gal. 2:14 Paul quotes himself as speaking to Peter. If the quotation continues into v. 15, then the ‘We ourselves, who are Jews by birth’ [in English translation] would be translated as inclusive. More likely, however, the quotation ends with v. 14, the focus of attention then shifting to the Galatians, and so it would be exclusive we.”

Source: Velma B. Pickett in The Bible Translator 1964, p. 88f.

Nida (p. 205) also speaks of the problem of this specific verse:

“In Galatians 2:15 there is a troublesome passage for which the selection of an inclusive or exclusive form is highly debatable. The preceding sentence is obviously a part of direct discourse; but what are we to understand by the words “we ourselves, who are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners”? Is Paul here continuing to represent what he said in Antioch in opposition to Peter, or is he merely arguing a general position with the Galatian church audience to whom he is writing? If one assumes that Paul is still addressing the assembly in Antioch, and Peter in particular, then the inclusive form is required; but if the words are directed to the church in Galatia, obviously one should employ the exclusive. Scholars are by no means agreed on this point, for the Greek text itself is obscure. Apparently there is a gradual shift from the specific situation which involved Peter to a general statement of the gospel as it is related to the Galatian church. The translator who is rendering this passage into a language with an inclusive-exclusive distinction cannot, however, retain this obscurity. He must specify clearly by the very forms he uses whether or not this sentence is to be regarded as a part of the direct discourse.”


The Greek that is translated as “pride” in English is translated as “they continually boast” (Amganad Ifugao), “they lift themselves up” (Tzeltal), “they answer haughtily” (Yucateco) (source: Bratcher / Nida), “an unbent neck” (like llamas) (Kaqchikel) (source: Nida 1952, p. 151), or “those that praise themselves, saying: We are better” (Shipibo-Conibo) (source: Nida 1964, p. 237).

confess (sin)

The Greek that is typically translated as “confess” in English in the context of these verses is translated in a variety of ways. Here are some (back-) translations:

  • Highland Puebla Nahuatl, Tzeltal: “to say openly”
  • San Blas Kuna: “to accuse oneself of his own evil”
  • Kankanaey: “telling the truth about their sins”
  • Huastec: “to take aim at one’s sin” (“an idiom which is derived from the action of a hunter taking aim at a bird or animal”) (source for this and all above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Central Pame: “pulling out the heart” (“so that it may be clearly seen — not just by men, but by God”) (source: Nida 1952, p. 155)
  • Shipibo-Conibo: “to say, It is true we have sinned” (source: Nida 1964, p. 228)
  • Obolo: itutumu ijo isibi: “speaking out sin” (source: Enene Enene).