The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “love” in English is typically translated in Hakka Chinese as thung-siak / 痛惜 or “pain-love” when it refers to God’s love.

The same term is used for a variety of Hebrew terms that cover a range of English translations that refer to God as the agent, including “love,” “compassion,” and “mercy.”

Paul McLean explains: “[Thung-siak / 痛惜] has been used for many years in a popular Hakka-Christian mountain song based on John 3:16. The translation team decided that for this and other reasons it would be a good rendering here. It helps point to the fact that God’s ‘love’ is a compassionate (cum passio, with suffering) love.”