flesh (human nature)

The Greek that is often translated as “flesh” in English (when referring to the lower human nature) can, according to Nidq (1947, p. 153) “very rarely be literally translated into another language. ‘My meat’ or ‘my muscle’ does not make sense in most languages.” He then gives a catalog of almost 30 questions to determine a correct translation for that term.

Accordingly, the translations are very varied:

See also spirit / flesh.

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Rom. 8:12)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). 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 writer of the letter and the readers).

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

brother (fellow Christian)

The Greek that is translated in English as “brother” (in the sense of a fellow Christian) is translated with a specifically coined word in Kachin: “There are two terms for brother in Kachin. One is used to refer to a Christian brother. This term combines ‘older and younger brother.’ The other term is used specifically for addressing siblings. When one uses this term, one must specify if the older or younger person is involved. A parallel system exists for ‘sister’ as well. In [these verses], the term for ‘a Christian brother’ is used.” (Source: Gam Seng Shae)

In Martu Wangka it is translated as “relative” (this is also the term that is used for “follower”.) (Source: Carl Gross)

See also brothers.

complete verse (Romans 8:12)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 8:12:

  • Uma: “So, relatives, we have a debt. Our debt is, we must follow God now. Don’t follow the evil desires of our hearts.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Therefore my brothers who trust in Isa Almasi, there is something that we (dual) really ought to/must do and this is not to follow the will/wish of our (dual) greedy-desires.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “Therefore, brothers, it is very necessary that we obey what God wants, and we no longer are subject to the evil desires of our bodies.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Therefore, my brothers, there is that which we have a duty to obey, but it is not what our human minds desire.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Listen my brothers, it is very important that we do the word which is taught us by the Holy Spirit. Now we will not be conquered by the evil which comes to our hearts.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)
  • Isthmus Zapotec : “Therefore brethren we don’t owe anything to the body that we should do what it wants.” (Source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)