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. 8:4)

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.

complete verse (Romans 8:4)

Following are a number of back-translations of Romans 8:4:

  • Uma: “God’s purpose in doing like that is so that we become truly straight in his sight, like is demanded in the Lord’s Law. For we here, we no longer follow the evil desires of our heart. Now we follow the desire of the Holy Spirit.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “This was done by God so that we (dual) could really obey the commands in his law and our (dual) deeds would be straight. Because if we (dual) already trust Isa we (dual) no longer follow what our (dual) greedy desires want. But what we (dual) obey is the will/wish of the Holy Spirit. Therefore if we (dual) obey/follow the teaching of the Holy Spirit we (dual) are really able to obey/follow the commands in God’s law.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “The reason God did this was so that we might be able to obey what is right according to that commanded by the Law. And this is possible because it’s no longer necessary that we obey the evil desires of our bodies, but rather we can obey what is right because we are helped by the Holy Spirit.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “God did that so that we who follow the Holy Spirit, not our human minds, we have the power to thoroughly obey the correct commands of the law.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “Thus he did because he wanted that the Holy Spirit would show us the road to how we should live so that we could do the good spoken of in the law. But no longer now should we do the evil which was in our hearts before.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)


The Greek that is translated in English as “Law” or “law” is translated in Mairasi as oro nasinggiei or “prohibited things.” (Source: Enggavoter 2004)

In Yucateco the phrase that is used for “law” is “ordered-word” (for “commandment,” it is “spoken-word”) (source: Nida 1947, p. 198) and in Central Tarahumara it is “writing-command.” (wsource: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.)