The Greek that is translated as “elder” in most English versions (“presbyter” in The Orthodox New Testament, 2000) is translated as “Old-Man Leader” in Eastern Highland Otomi (source: John Beekman in Notes on Translation November 1964, p. 1-22) and in Bacama as mi kpan-kpani vɨnə hiutə: “big/old person of house of prayer” (source: David Frank in this blog post).

Other translations include “the people who command among the people of Jesus” in Lalana Chinantec, “the old men who watched over the believers” in Morelos Nahuatl, or the ones guarding the brethren” in Isthmus Mixe. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

See also elders of the church.


The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “witness” in English is translated as “truly have seen” in Highland Popoluca, as “telling the truth regarding something” (Eastern Highland Otomi), as “know something” in Lalana Chinantec, as “verily know something to be the truth” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, as “we ourselves saw this,” in Desano, as “tell the truth about something” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “know something is true because of seeing it” in Teutila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

complete verse (1 Timothy 5:19)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Timothy 5:19:

  • Uma: “If there is a religion leader that is accused-of-wrong, don’t immediately accept that accusation. Only if it is witnessed to by two or three people should you accept it [lit., and then you accept it].” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “If for example someone accuses one of your (pl.) elders, don’t heed/pay attention to his accusation if there are not two or three who can witness to his sin.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Do not listen to a person who accuses the elders of the believers if there are not two or three who can testify to the accusation.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “If there is something of which they accuse a leader of the believers, don’t (sing.) listen-to-it unless there are two or three people who testify.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Don’t too-readily believe what others bring an accusation about against one of the overseers, but on the contrary only if there are two or three witnesses who testify.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “If there is accused a person who leads at the church and if there are not two or three witnesses to testify concerning the accusation, then do not pay attention to the accuser.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)