proclaim (in 1 Corinthians 11:26)

The Greek that is translated in 1 Corinthians 11:26 as “proclaim” in English is traditionally translated in Vietnamese with rao: “spread (the word)” (in the Cadman translation of 1934, see here ). The Greek term katangellete is ambiguous since it could either be the second-person plural form of the present active indicative (“show, proclaim [by doing]”) or the second-person plural form of the present active imperative (“[actively] spread”). More recent Vietnamese translations either confirm the meaning of the 1934 translation or leave the meaning ambiguous.

In most other languages, katangellete in 1 Cor 11:26 is interpreted as a present indicative rather than as a present imperative because “it makes much more sense that the Apostle Paul would have been expressing to the Corinthian Christians the idea that the act of celebrating the Lord’s Supper was itself an act that proclaims the Lord’s death rather than commanding them to remember to go out and evangelize as a response every time that they might have had the privilege of participating in the Lord’s Supper. This is due to the fact that the communion elements graphically bring to mind the body and blood of our Lord to those participating in the meal.”

As a result of this, according to the author (see source below), “some Vietnamese believers say that when they celebrate the Lord’s Supper, they often feel pressure or feel guilty that they have not been evangelizing their family, friends, and associates as much as they should have been. The remarkable thing about this distinctive theological emphasis is that it is actually based on the traditional translation of 1 Cor 11:26 into Vietnamese, which is most likely a mistranslation of that particular verse.”

Source: Steven R. Coxhead in The Bible Translator 2023, p. 42ff.