complete verse (1 Corinthians 11:31)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Corinthians 11:31:

  • Uma: “So, if we examine our own behavior first, the Lord will not punish us.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “If we (incl.) think about ourselves first, and we (dual) are wholehearted, God will not drop judgment on us (incl.).” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “If we check up on our own breath, God will not punish us.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “If we had-been-examining ourselves, we wouldn’t be punished.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “However if we pay good attention to our companions, of course the Lord will not pass judgment upon us.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “But if we consider well in our thoughts about the meaning of the Holy Supper, then we will not be punished.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (1Cor. 11:31)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

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”).

For this verse, translators typically select the inclusive form (including the addressee).

Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.

Translation commentary on 1 Corinthians 11:31

The passive we should not be judged probably refers to the judgment of Christ (as in verse 32) rather than the judgment of God (as in Good News Bible). Paul means “If we first examine ourselves, there will be nothing for Christ to condemn in our behavior as we share in his Supper.”

Quoted with permission from Ellingworth, Paul and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, 2nd edition. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1985/1994. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .