crown of life

The Greek that is translated in English as “crown of life” is translated in Navajo as “the life-way prize” (source: Nida 1964, p. 238) and in Owa as “the wage of your souls” (source: Carl Gross).

In Chichewa (interconfessional translation) translated as mphotho or “prize (of life)”. Ernst Wendland (1987, p. 120) explains: “A Chewa Chief might wear a special sea shell or bracelet as a sort of badge of office, but these would be magically endowed to give him super-natural protection against his enemies. Because of these underlying associations, such terms would not be appropriate here. Instead the word mphotho ‘prize,’ ‘reward’ (for achievement) has been used.”

See also complete verse (James 1:12) and crown of thorns.

confess (sin)

The Hebrew and 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: “say openly”
  • San Blas Kuna: “accuse oneself of one’s own evil”
  • Kankanaey: “tell the truth about one’s 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)
  • Tabasco Chontal: “say, It is true, I’ve done evil” (source: Larson 1998, p. 204)
  • Central Pame: “pull out the heart” (“so that it may be clearly seen — not just by men, but by God”) (source: Nida 1952, p. 155)
  • Shipibo-Conibo: “say, It is true I have sinned” (source: Nida 1964, p. 228)
  • Obolo: itutumu ijo isibi: “speak out sin” (source: Enene Enene).
  • Tagbanwa: “testify that one would now drop/give-up sin” (source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Kutu: “speak sin” (source: Pioneer Bible Translators, project-specific translation notes in Paratext)


The Hebrew, Greek, and Latin that is translated as “pride” in English is translated as “continually boasting” (Amganad Ifugao), “lifting oneself up” (Tzeltal), “answering haughtily” (Yucateco) (source: Bratcher / Nida), “unbent neck” (like llamas) (Kaqchikel) (source: Nida 1952, p. 151), or “praising oneself, saying: I am better” (Shipibo-Conibo) (source: Nida 1964, p. 237).

In the Hausa Common Language Ajami Bible it is idiomatically translated as girman kai or “bigness of head.” (Source: Andy Warren-Rothlin)

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).

my God

In certain languages some types of possession simply cannot be used. For example in Hopi one cannot speak of [what is translated in English as] “(Yahweh) my God,” for God cannot be possessed. One must say, “the God in whom I believe.” (p. 206)

See also LORD your God / Lord your God.


The Greek terms that are translated into English as “preach” or “proclaim” are regularly rendered into Aari as “speaking the word of salvation.” (Source: Loren Bliese)

Other languages (back-) translate it in the following manner:

  • Mandarin Chinese: chuándào/傳道 or “hand down the Way [or: the Logos]”)
  • Kekchí: “declare the word”
  • Kpelle: “speak God’s word”
  • Tzeltal: “he explains, they hear” (“the goal of all preachers”)
  • Copainalá Zoque: “a preacher is ‘one who speaks-scatters'” (a figure based on the scattering of seed in the process of sowing) (source for this and above: Bratcher / Nida)
  • Shilluk: “declare the word of of God” (source: Nida 1964, p. 237)

In Luang it is translated with different shades of meaning:

  • For Acts 9:20, 10:42: nakotnohora: “talk about” (“The generic term for preaching.”)
  • For Acts 8:4, 8:5, 8:25: rodkiota-ralde’etnohora — “bring words, give news about.” (“This term is used when the preacher is moving from place to place to preach.”)

Source: Kathy Taber in Notes on Translation 1/1999, p. 9-16.

hungry and thirsty for righteousness

The Greek that is translated as “hungry and thirsty for righteousness” in English is translated as “like hungering and thirsting, they desire righteousness” in Navajo, turning a metaphor into a simile. (Source: Nida 1964, p. 220)