first commandment

The Greek that is translated as “first commandment” in English is translated in Guhu-Samane as “the head of the rest of the commandments… .” This solves a potential confusion for Guhu-Samane speakers whether the commandment is “the first in point of time, or of importance. [This way] it speaks obviously of the primacy of the commandment.”

Source: Ernest L. Richert in Notes on Translation December 1963: p. 4-7; reprinted in The Bible Translator 1965, p. 198ff..


The Greek that is translated as “scribe” in English “were more than mere writers of the law. They were the trained interpreters of the law and expounders of tradition.”

Here are a number of its (back-) translations:

complete verse (Mark 12:28)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 12:28:

  • Uma: “At that time, a religion teacher came to Yesus. He heard the previous argument of the Saduki people with Yesus, and he said in him heart: ‘That reply of Yesus’ was indeed good!’ That’s why he also asked something of Yesus, he said: ‘Which command is the main one of all the commands?'” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So-then there was a teacher of the religious law standing there and he heard their arguing/discussion. When he observed that Isa’s answer to them was good, he went closer to ask Isa. ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘which is the commandment greater than all?'” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And there was there a teacher of the law who heard their arguing with Jesus. When he realized that Jesus was very wise in answering them, he asked him, ‘Teacher, which one of all the laws is the first?'” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “There was a teacher of the law who was listening to the conversation of the Sadducees and Jesus and he asked Jesus, ‘What is the most-important command?'” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “One person who was an explainer of law heard their arguing/conflict. He comprehended that the answers Jesus gave were wholly correct. That’s why he approached and questioned Jesus. He said, ‘Teacher, which law is the most important?'” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)