Can you learn a language by studying the Bible translation in that language?
Has there been anyone that strictly learned a language by studying the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible in that language translation?
United StatesI'm glad to see others on here share in interest in such a great book or in my humble opinion the greatest book ever! I'm quite aware of youversion.com which is excellent. I have the app on my phone too! I read the Bible in multiple languages especially English, Spanish, and of course the original languages of the Bible, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I also wanted to know if there were any language learners that learned languages by using the Bible along with other material or if the Bible alone. Thanks for your input, Mike.December 2012
United States> I'm glad to see others on here share interest in such a great book . . .
Well, so far there has been only one other.
Anyone who learns the ancient Gothic language would have to learn it by reading the Bible, as that is almost the only work that has survived in the language. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_language For many modern languages the only work available in written form is the Bible, and translations of the Bible are available in more languages than translations of any other book (if I remember correctly).
However, for many languages the usual translation of the Bible is in _quite_ old fashioned language that would not be really suitable for modern writing or speaking. Think of communicating in the English of the King James translation! There is of course also the problem that the vocabulary in the Bible is not modern, and so limited, no matter when the translation may have been done.December 2012
United StatesIf I am not mistaken, which I very well could be, I think Old Church Slavonic is another language that is found only in translation of the Bible. There might be other psuedopigraphal works as well, but I think Old Church Slavonic is another language like Gothic, that people learn simply by only reading that language from a Biblical translation.April 2016
ArubaI'd like to propose far more interesting alternatives for general public in my opinion:
La Bible amusante pour les grands et les enfants (The Amusing Bible) by Leo Taxil
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
By the way, the last one has very modern language and is translated in more than 30 languages.December 2012
AdministratorCanadaThe key is to learn from content that interests us.December 2012
BrazilThe Brazilian Portuguese translations are quite archaic, and it wouldn't be ideal if you wanted to learn modern Portuguese. However, reading the same text in multiple languages is a great way to gain ground quickly in a language, especially if the material interests you.December 2012
ArubaI begun reading the Vulgate a few years ago. I was picking up the Latin rather quickly, to be honest. Not nearly as difficult as I imagined; though knowing the text fairly well in English probably helped a lot with that. I'm sure if I had continued, I would've developed a decent grasp of Latin in general. Yes, I think one could learn a lot about a language from a contemporary, sense-for-sense Bible translation; the more literal translations are probably not good representations of any given language. However, there's certainly a lot of modern, everyday vocabulary that's missing from the Bible, as well as many, many terms that a non-Christian will have no use for.December 2012
ArubaMore than a handful. Plus I can't conceive of a single situation in which a disinterested party will need to know terms such as "unction" and "firmament" (from the KJV, anyway), or of a small phonebook-amount of archaic personal names and religious items (eg: 1 Chronicles).
Then again, I'd still prefer to read the Bible any day over Harry Potter.December 2012
United KingdomI have used some audio/ text in Russian from the eastern orthodox bible and found them very helpful and I'll even say very relaxing to listen to. If you already have some intermediate knowledge of the modern/secular language use, then any archaic forms and esoteric words are usually easy to spot, so there's not too much danger of accidentally choosing these forms in conversation.
Pretty much any text you ever read is going to contain some words, figures of speak, grammatical constructions which you yourself are unlikely to use in conversation, that's no reason to avoid them. Also, in the case of an older text (depending on the style of the translation), it can be very interesting to see a different register of the language, and see a prior stage of the contemporary language. Thumbs up for the bible in this regard : )December 2012
AustraliaI'd say the answer is, most likely, no.
As a minimum, it would be a very inefficient approach to only use one source for language learning.
Second a5m's recommendation for Richard Dawkins.December 2012
ItalyYou can do that!On condition that you make lighter your work if you find a given learning activity very hard.December 2012
United StatesThank you all for your lively comments and advice.December 2012
United StatesA lot depends on which translation is used. As Imyirtseshem says, there are modern translations of the Bible. It, especially the New Testament, is available in many languages; it could be useful, especially for someone who is enthusiatic about it, but it wouldn't be sufficient all by itself.
However, take a look at three widely used / recommended versions of the Bible, and you won't find modern colloquial language: the King James version in English, which is realy archaic, the Segond Bible in French with its use of the passé simple, and the Synodal Russian Bible; which can hardly be called modern. Would anyone really recommend them for learning their respective languages, unless there was no other choice? (Sorry, Maths.) The original questions was "strictly learning a language by studying the Old and New Testament."
And if you look at the "Living Bible" translations (I've only seen them in English and French), they often drift widely from the original. Many people would not even call them translations but paraphrases, nor call reading them, "reading the Bible."
The Dawkins book sounds worthwhile, a5m. I definitely agree w/ the Léo Taxil suggestion, although as you say it is not the very latest French (or Russian, which is the copy I have).December 2012
United States> Since being religious doesn't demand a thorough knowledge of holy books . . .
Imyirtseshem, that depends on which variety of Christianity you are considering. And since the question was specifically about the "Holy Bible," whether paraphrases are actualy the "Holly Bible" or rather "the modern, revised perversion" as some call the "Living" translations (i.e, NOT actually the Bible) could be vital.December 2012
ArubaI have found that reading the Bible in a language I am learning has helped my progress in the language enormously. I attribute this in part to two particular factors. 1. I have quite a good knowledge of the Bible in English (my first language). This means that I recognise many passages and actual words so I do not need to use a dictionary much, even quite early in my aquisition of the new language. 2. I try to find a fairly simple translation at first, such as, in English, the Good News Bible. A version very similar to this is the Spanish version, Dios Habla Hoy. Similar versions are available in other languages also. If you are learning a language without much printed material available, the Bible is very likely available to you. I believe that the Bible is available in more languages than any other book ever. Another site for Bible translations is Bible Gateway. Passages can easily be imported into LingQ using the bookmarklet. Some versions are also available in spoken form.
I agree with others who have said that it is probably easier to start in the New Testament than the Old Testament.
I do not believe that using only the Bible would 'work' because the vocabulary is limited to the specific vocabulary of the Bible. The Bible, however, can go a long way in helping you learn.
Imy, I choose to disagree with you about the Bible. The Bible is in one sense, not in itself 'holy'. The Bible has been used as a way to frighten people into behaving in certain ways and to justify all sorts of evil acts. The Bible itself claims that its main purpose is to reveal God to us through Jesus, whose birth many around the world are going to celebrate in 11 days' time. The Bible tells us that Jesus came to demonstrate God's love to us through his own life on earth, and to open the way to a relationship with God through his death and resurrection.
If it is decided that what I have written is not suitable material for LingQ, I simply point out that others have been free to put their own opinions here on the forum.December 2012
ItalyI'm amazed by your skill of learning a language by translating a long book,such as The Bible.It's true that it's about of part of this,but I think it's an enormous ability.This could be an unconventional way to learn a new language rather different from classic methods,i.e. courses.If one has plenty of time,I think he/she can learning a language by translating an entire book or part of this one.I have no much spare time and I tried first to translate into my language a whole book,but this action can take a lot of time and can be improper for who learns a language an hour a day.I prefer to use little texts,translating them and to pratice my pronunciation,that I judge an important factor in language learning.December 2012
United StatesAs a general rule I keep my religious opinions to myself, esp. online.
I remember seeing a Canadian guy try to teach Afrikaans using the NT. I thought it was an interesting idea, although he didn't get very far.
I've tried to read the Bible in Spanish (the RV 1909) but got about as far as I do when I try to read it in English :)
If you want to read old public domain Bibles in other languages (although you might see outdated vocab) try sacred-texts.com and visit world Bible.January 2013
Ernie wrote - " (Sorry, Maths.) "
Ha, no problem. I didn't really 'recommend' learning via this method : )
But yes, now considering the original question was "strictly learning. ..by studying the Old /New Testament " then |'m in total agreement with you.January 2013
United StatesWow, Maths, what brought you back to this discussion?
It's nice MCKure gave a link to sites with translations of the Bible in various languages. Here are a few more: http://www.biblegateway.com/ , http://www.lexilogos.com/bible_multilingue.htm , http://unbound.biola.edu/index.cfm , http://www.academic-bible.com/en/online-bibles/ . Some parts of the New Testament translated into regional languages of the former Soviet Union are online as well (for instance, http://www.biblia.ru/translation/ .
It seems no one has taken up a5m's suggestion about reading Leo Taxil.January 2013
United KingdomHi to everyone!
This is a bit old discussion, but one of the few over internet about a matter of learning languages thru the Bible. So there's my few (euro)cents.
Some time ago I devoted myself to learning Dutch language. After a period of time, I decided to switch to Afrikaans. Most beatiful and logical language in the whole world. I can watch Charlize Throne speaking Afrikaans on Youtube over and over :) After few visits in Amsterdam my goal is to be able to talk in understadable - for Dutch people - Afrikaans and be able to understand spoken Dutch. Dit is my gek plan :) Of course I still keep learning pure Dutch, but let's say in 10% of time.
Anyway, I've been struggling with finding a literature. And suprisingly it came out that the only book virtually available in ANY language is THE BIBLE. Even Shakespear is not translated in every language. I believe there is a lot of benefits for using the Bible for learning purposes. First at all - most of people is familiar with some quotes. I doubt is there anyone on the forum that had never heard Genesis 1:1 in his/her own language. I think that whatever language you're learning, you should be able to say similar sentence (that sometime in the past some person created this or that). I would say that the Bible is full of great grammar patterns, and having any knowledge of them in your own language is a great benefit too.
There is a lot of websites having a full text of the Bible. Some of them let you see two different translations at the same time (in parallel). This is so great, isn't it? But I think the very important thing is to find a good, modern translation. I was surprised how many versions of the Bible exists in English, German, Dutch. Shocking!
As for Afrikaans, there are three only. Two of them (1953 and 1983) are in old fashioned language. But the last one - DIE BYBEL VIR ALMAL - is very modern, and very clear. It follows all regular grammar rules in Afrikaans. I am under impression that it has been translated for the audience that they may not know Afrikaans as theirs mother language (for example Zulus or any other background). And they might be listening to the Bible for the very first time in their live. I've noticed that most of the text has been re-edited and do not literally follow the original. But in a good way. Also contains a lot of explanations for words and idioms.
I'm not saying that everyone should read the whole Bible, but to read the whole chapter or two - along with intense dictionary checking for all worlds - would benefits a lot for you studying.May 2014
United StatesI have heard alot of urban legends of people learning how to read by reading the Bible as their first book: Prisoners, and natives of a country learning English or another language through missionary schools, or even that this is supposedly how most Westerners traditionally learned how to read. I believe it that it does happen, and you can do it, learn a foreign language through the Bible, especially if you are already very familiar with it in your own language and are enthusiastic about it.
I tried it with my Chinese wife. She knew enough English to get by, but was far from fluent. So I decided to test this Fundamentalist urban legend that the King James Bible is easy to read and learn English from if you read it from beginning (Genesis) to end (Revelation). She could do it but with alot of difficulty. She read the first 11 chapters of Genesis before switching to Chinese.May 2014
United KingdomOne thing is for sure: if one wants to learn New Testament Greek or Old Testament Hebrew, then doing it by reading the Bible is a pretty good idea! :-)
(But of course, one wouldn't be using translations...)May 2014
ArubaWhy read a version that uses English that is no longer used in popular speech? There are many versions of the Bible in modern colloquial English. One example is the Good News Bible.May 2014
United KingdomHamilcar: urban legend, you say? No, it's not an urban legend. It's just a very same issue you (or your wife, or any other person) would face by reading any other book too. For example I know all Grisham's books, I enjoy them reading in my native language. But still - to read any of them in English is a big challenge. I usually give up after page or two and go back to translated one. On the other side I can spent hours on reading news, articles, tutorials, or comic books in English. Any book that contains less pictures than words is a challenge. The Bible is not an exception. Also some might be not interested in actual content at all which makes things worst. So if your like Tolkien, try to read Hobbit. But as I stated before - for some languages, like Afrikaans - the Bible is the only available book to read for free on internet. Maybe the best is to start with kids stuff, like illustrated biblical stories for kids or so. The days I'm not in the mood for any Bible stuff, I just go to Wikipedia starting page in selected language.May 2014
United StatesYes, it can be done and it is a very good idea.
My wife and I made significant progress studying Pennsylvania German (Pennsylfannie Deitsch) by reading ES NEI TESHTAMENT: Pennsylvania Deitsh un English Mitt di Psaltah un Shpricha.
We spent a winter reading a chapter each evening. One of us would read the english and the other would read the deitsh. The reading helped tune our ears and our tongues, It was extremely helpful when we read passages that we were already familiar with such at Matthew chapter one with all that begetting (!) That chapter has become the gold standard
when surveying a new language to get a feel for what is going on because the text is simple and repititious
We have also played with the German Luther Bible. We would listen to the audio german reading and read along with our german/english translation to get pronounciation right, then read it out loud ourselves.
I believe you cannot go wrong with this method to build a solid foundation before venturing into more contemporary bodies of work. Indeed, for obscure languages like Mennonite Plaut Deitsch it might be your only option for the written word.May 2014
United States@obscure languages like Mennonite Plaut Deitsch it might be your only option for the written word.
Actually there are other books available as well!June 2014
United StatesThe original question was:
"Has there been anyone that strictly learned a language by studying the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible in that language translation?"
My answer is: probably yes. Someone has probably learned a language by strictly(!) (important word there) reading a translation of the Bible in the target language. It would most certainly have to have been someone who either was not aware of, or was not interested in, or otherwise did not have access to any other available literature in the target language. It would also most likely have to have been someone who was already familiar with and/or had a version of the Bible in their own language.
There is a website http://www.biblegateway.com/ which has versions of the Bible in at least 60 different languages, with numerous versions in some languages. (There are 46 English language versions alone.)
I would assume the difficulty and how outdated the language is would depend on what translation you are trying to read. For the most modern of modern language, I would not recommend, for example, the King James version to someone who is trying to learn English.
The first three lines of the Dutch (Nederlands) version (simply called Het Boek) reads:
1 In het begin heeft God de hemelen en de aarde gemaakt.
2 De aarde was woest en leeg en de Geest van God zweefde boven de watermassa. Over de watermassa lag een diepe duisternis.
3 Toen zei God: "Laat er licht zijn." En toen was er licht.
I could not determine how old this translation is, but I have been learning Dutch for about 4 years now, and this is very easy for me to read. The language is not only modern Dutch but, just glancing through the first 30 verses or so, it also does not appear to be too outdated (but even the most famous piece of Dutch literature, Anne Frank's diary, which was written between 1942 and 1944, contains outdated language.)June 2014
Germany@Bruce: The only word that is not used in modern Dutch is "hemelen". A strange plural, since normally Christians do assume, imo, that there is only one "hemel". The world can also be translated as sky, and Englied "skies" is not abnormal. Am I wright?June 2014
United States@kwibus: You're right, "fly the friendly skies" is the slogan for United Airlines, but in everyday speech, we generally refer to the sky in the singular. But one can "look to the skies." I think of "the sky" as what is immediately above us here on earth: part of the atmosphere; whereas "the heavens" refers to everything beyond: the universe from our perspective here on earth; whereas the singular 'heaven' refers to an imaginary place where supernatural entities: gods, angels, spirits, what-have-you are believed to reside.
In the Bible, however, the way 'heaven,' 'the heaven' and 'the heavens' is described, it is all essentially the same thing: everything that is above and beyond us (the great beyond), including the sky. There is something called the firmament, and of course clouds, but then water and dew, even stars, drop from "the heavens." Heaven even has windows, like a house, through which water can fall, and from which water can be stopped, and then the Bible also refers to "the heaven of heavens," apparently meaning the place in the heavens where God lives. That's why I'm not a big fan of mythology. None of these concepts have a distinct meaning, they all just kind of meld together in a vague jumble.
When you say 'modern Dutch,' I assume you mean today's Dutch. In Dutch 'de hemel' can refer both to the abstract 'heaven' or the very real 'sky.' Am I right?
Without giving it much thought, I assumed then that 'de hemelen' in Het Boek has the same meaning as 'the heavens,' meaning basically 'the great beyond.'June 2014
Germany@bruce: I only ment to say that "de hemelen" is not used in everyday speech, outside of the bible. "de hemel" can mean heaven, or just the sky above us. And when people say to be in heaven, it does not have to have a religious connotation.June 2014
IndiaNo, I don't think it would be a great idea to learn any language, it would be better for other books from where you can strengthen your vocabulary.June 2014
United StatesAccording to my classicist roommate, this is how everyone learns Ancient Greek. Makes sense to me.
I'd do it to learn rare languages, maybe. I was not raised Christian, so I don't really have the familiarity with it that would make it worthwhile. I'll stick to reading all 7 books of Harry Potter in every language I learn.June 2014
FranceI am actively learning both Ancient Greek and Latin by reading the New Testament in the original and in the Vulgate (and portions of the Old Testament in the LXX). For the moment I'm much further along in Greek, I can read more or less fluently with the help of a glossary. The Latin Vulgate is newer to me, but also somewhat easier from a vocabulary and grammatical perspective from my previous experience with Romance languages.
I suppose I'm the opposite of Davidjvl, I'd rather read one of the most important works in human history in various languages than novels written for adolescents. But to each his own. ;)June 2014
AustraliaYou might be interested to know that Professor Alexander Arguelles sings the praises of “Faith Comes By Hearing” (Hosana Ministries) on his webpage http://foreignlanguageexpertise.com/museum1.html - since this not-for-profit organisation have Bible audio available in hundreds of languages. It’s easy to see why he’s excited – they currently have audio recordings in *835* languages now - and many rare or ‘exotic’ ones have been documented & preserved, especially. No doubt for someone like Arguelles, having access to previously scarce/non-existent audio of any kind must be heaven.
I have the advantage of being familiar with Bible text (like several other LingQ members), so it’s great to have foreign language audio to download.
Many are available at: http://www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/ , and their companion website: http://www.bible.is has text and/or audio, including Apps – I have one on my iPad. You may have to search online elsewhere for matching text and vice-versa, as not all versions on the site even come with both text and audio, and even then they don’t necessarily match. Languages are generally listed alphabetically, but you will have to scroll to the bottom to find Japanese & Mandarin etc.
I find it really fun to listen to foreign language NT gospels with dramatized audio, as opposed to non-drama, if available. Last year I imported dramatized Mandarin Bible audio into LingQ with matching text for personal use, & it was fantastic – before my laptop died)~
I am currently supplementing Japanese with Bible.is App audio (non-drama unfortunately) that matches my paperback New Testament.
Arguelles recommends (as do I) to start with the gospel of John in the New Testament, as other gospels can sound dry when reading all those Zerubbabel begat Jeconiah or whatever.
You definitely need your own native translation to refer to for making your lingQs: the LingQ dictionary can’t handle every Bible name & place name as you can expect – especially in Chinese – as it naturally attempts to split to known word meanings rather than recognising phonetic spelling of archaic names. You need your native language translation also as Google Translate does some strange things~July 2014
United Kingdom"Awake"... Isn't that published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society?July 2014
many thanks for that information. Very interesting for languages learners.July 2014
United States@kimojima: I like this resource very much! All the languages I’m studying are there with text and audio. One can read and listen to the same article in multiple languages. Well, you’ve already explained this… In any case, very cool! Thank you for the info and link.
~~with the exception of Spanish audio. Oh well, I’m certainly not complaining.July 2014
United StatesI work with a group of teachers and we help anyone with English using Bible subjects from the jw.org website, it's free. You can contact me at*****if you want to know more about it.July 2014
AustraliaIt’s very interesting Kimo that you include a link to a Watchtower publication generally viewed by mainstream Christianity as a cult - and for good reasons which I won't be debating on LingQ.
I hasten to say I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations with JWs at my door over the years which I’ve welcomed - I love having a chin-wag with them frankly, except when terribly inconvenient. I do strike up friendly conversation in the streets, too, when the opportunity arises, though I can't get out much these days. I do know some local JWs, including one mum with a disabled child like my own.
But I can only read Watchtower publications purely as a language learning source (which you intended), and not for spiritual purposes:) So thanks for the language learning link :)~July 2014
Australia@kimo – I’ve said that I don’t want to get into any debate, but I had a look at your “peace with neighbours” link which makes many references to the “Bible”. I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but one of the problems I have with JW literature is they often make such reference to a “Bible”, but the average Tom Dick & Harry have no idea that they’re *not* referring to the Bible of mainstream Christianity, but in fact to their *New World Translation*
Now, one would think that it’s just another translation, akin to Good News or King James and other translations/paraphrases etc, so it’s harmless, right? Unfortunately, Watchtower organisation have carefully edited & re-written their “Bible” to remove any teachings of the Divinity and Resurrection of Christ and so on.
I take issue with the fact that they often point out they respect the King James Bible, say, in their evangelistic efforts at the door and in literature, but they *don’t* tell the unsuspecting person they do not actually teach or practice from the KJB or any other Bible as we know it.
I have politely pointed out to them that this is misleading and deceptive conduct. They allow the little old lady down the road who reads the Bible, so to speak, to think the Watchtower “Jesus” is the same as believed by most of Christendom, and invite her to “Bible studies”.
I’ve kept my eye on their doctrine with interest since the early 80s, and remember reading in fact a Watchtower warning for people *not* to read the Bible without Watchtower interpretation since if one strays from continuing to do so, “you will be in darkness within 2 years”! And if you get down to it, they believe the churches are "evil", noted from my conversations with them (this is a separate issue from paedophiles in the church etc).
We have different Christian denominations differing on the non-essentials as I call it on several matters of doctrine/ritual etc - and we have freedom to choose where we worship accordingly. But on important matters of faith such as the Divinity and Resurrection of Christ, mainstream Christianity stands united.July 2014
My findings: Earlier I changed the site’s language into Korean so that I could download the Korean audio for a particular article that I read in both French and Korean. Just moments ago, I did the same for Spanish, and now see that there is indeed matching audio and text.
As you’ve previously stated, there is a pull-down menu for languages, which is great for comparative reading/study, but to download the corresponding mp3, the language interface has to be changed.
I really like this site for multiple language input. Thanks again :))July 2014
United Statesi thought i would share my experience with the bible too. I quite enjoy reading the swedish bible because I know the stories of the bible to an extent BUT i also find that studying the first part of Genesis has helped me a lot because it is quite simple. The only "character" is God and it just describes how he created the earth. Its very rich in good swedish vocab and it is not a complicated subject so i would definitely recommend it.
REMEMBER it does not matter how you feel about the bible, whether you are religious or not, it just matters that you are using something you like and are learning from it :)July 2014
Canada"REMEMBER it does not matter how you feel about the bible, whether you are religious or not, it just matters that you are using something you like and are learning from it"
I read the Bible from cover to cover (in German and English), went to "bible circles", went to church, read articles by apologists and sceptics and I gotta say...I just don´t think it´s good literature. There are like...hundreds of contradictions. I don´t like the main character ("I command you to kill this guy for picking up sticks on the wrong day. By the way, I prefer blue clothes" or "Let´s create humans and animals. Oh, the humans are sinful. Let´s kill almost all of them, including babies and animals" and many other weird and/or atrocious things....), there´s a lot stuff in there that doesn´t seem relevant at all...et cetera, et cetera...
The only reason why I think "it was worth it" is because reading the Bible gives you an insight into Western culture, idioms and whatnot. I guess reading the Bible makes more sense for a christian who studies an exotic language than for an atheist who studies English.July 2014
BrazilI think the Bible is a very rich source for language learning. It helped me a lot to learn languages and acquire a solid vocabulary.July 2014
Austria(...) ....It helped me a lot to learn languages and acquire a solid vocabulary. (....)
Reading the Bible in German would give you a solid vocabulary of extremely outdated words and expressions. Maybe this is different in the languages you have studied.
I'm not even referring to the content which I find rather off-putting anyway. Personally, I think there are many sources which are much better suited to provide you with vocabulary you can actually use in your daily life. But at the end of the day, it all depends on what you are interested in.
If people are interested in these stories, they should read them and learning the vocabulary they need to talk about the Bible in a foreign language will certainly be of great benefit to them.
If you were to write - let alone speak - the way the Bible is written, you'd probably get a lot of perplexed looks.
I don't think the Bible is useful to learn a language, but it is certainly a good idea to learn a language first if you want to read the Bible in that specific language ;-)July 2014
United KingdomRobert is right: Bible language tends to be an older and/or a more formal (or even vaguely poetic) type of language. It might be beautiful, but it's not the way the language would normally be used today. An arguable exception to this rule of thumb might (I guess?) be Bibles in Modern Standard Arabic, because this is - by its very nature - a more formal type of language.
However, if any folks out there are Christians who want to learn a modern foreign language, there is rarely any shortage of evangelistic material published by various churches or missionary societies, which would generally be produced in modern idiomatic language. Typically, any one of these resources will have hundreds of hours of material.
Now obviously, those persons who have a strong antipathy for the Christian message aren't going to want to use this material (in much the same way that I wouldn't have any wish to spend hours listening Atheist lectures!)
But if one is a Christian (or is at least interested in Biblical Christianity) then this probably wouldn't be a bad approach.
If anyone wants a dose of conservative Protestant Christianity in German this would be a good place to look:
(This certainly wont be for everyone - but there's a lot of audio and video material there, some of it with pdf transcripts...)July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom"...(in much the same way that I wouldn't have any wish to spend hours listening Atheist lectures!)"
I would sooner shoot myself than listen to hours of atheist lectures. Similarly, I would sooner shoot the speaker than listen to hours of religious lectures.July 2014
ModeratorUnited KingdomSwedish friends once gave me some Watchtower material in English which I unfortunately left in an hotel in Stockholm. From what I remember the language used in the stories was fairly normal, ie not antiquated. Swedish would have been useful!July 2014
BrazilI do agree with you. The New Version of the Bible in Spanish helped me a lot.July 2014
Canada@LoveLanguagesIII "If you were to write - let alone speak - the way the Bible is written, you'd probably get a lot of perplexed looks."
I used to hang out in a christian community where 70% of the members were university students from Africa and Asia who mostly learned German by going to church, reading the bible and talking to each other. They basically had their own dialect.
@Colin "I would sooner shoot myself than listen to hours of Atheist lectures. Similarly, I would sooner shoot the speaker than listen to hours of religious lectures."
Yeah, it gets boring after a while. ^^July 2014
United StatesIt is _very_ true that many Bible translations are written in what is nowadays quite outdated language. For instance, the "Synodal" translation of the Bible into Russian, which is widely in use, was translated almost 200 years ago, and I bet the translators were trying for a sort of archaic majesty even way back then. Deliberately learning to write or speak from it would result in some very strange Russian; in English it would be like trying to speak/write like, say, Washington Irving.
But there are some newer translations that are deliberately simple, such as New Testament translations titled "Good News for Modern Man" (or "Today's English Version" and a couple other re-namings) and "Bonne Nouvelles Aujourd'hui," and probably similar translations in other languages. The language is simple and not old fashioned. These probably would give better results. But, I must admit, I bought the latter book when learning to read French, and it was so incredibly boring that after a try or two I never picked it up again. However, given a predilection for the subject, it might be just the thing.
There are several sites online that offer translations of the Bible in different languages. For instance: https://www.biblegateway.com/ or http://www.lexilogos.com/bible_multilingue.htm (this site is French, but the languages are probably obvious enough, nevertheless). You can compare versions and see if any will suit you.July 2014
Canada@different translations of the Bible
I read the King James Bible and referred to a simplified version ("New Standard Bible", I think) whenever I didn´t understand what´s going on.July 2014
AdministratorCanadaI can't imagine language learners reading the Bible if they are not interested in the Bible. If they are interested in the Bible, then the Bible would be a great source of language content. If there was audio it would be even better.
As to outdated language, I don't think that is a big problem. I doubt that for most people the Bible would be their only source of content. I love outdated content, or at least the classics of literature. Of course I am talking about the 19th century, Balzac, Maupassant, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Manzoni ( I Promessi Sposi), even Pinocchio and many many more. They are great for language learning since the texts are freely available, and with a good audio book, they have been a core of my language learning.July 2014
United Kingdom@Paule: "...Yeah, it gets boring after a while..."
Well, I guess it depends whether there is a 'thirst'? If there were no natural thirst, then water (or, even Beer!?) might get to be boring after a while...
Respect for reading the King James Bible - I know some native speakers of English who would find that linguistically heavy!July 2014
Canada"If there were no natural thirst, then water (or, even Beer!?) might get to be boring after a while..."
What I meant is that you keep hearing the same things over and over again. Hearing the watchmaker-argument for the 1395th time is not exciting. Hearing another atheist say that the watchmaker-argument is stupid isn´t exciting either.July 2014
ModeratorUnited KingdomThe watchmaker-argument? How exciting! Pray, tell!July 2014
ModeratorUnited KingdomOops. I just deleted my last comment accidently. *sigh*
Anyway, I said I thought that the out of date language issue was not such a big problem so long as the language is not so out of date. In 19th century literature, for English at least, I don't think it is so out of date. Even the King James Version seems ok to me, so long as the spelling has been updated.
(this is with updated spelling)
But having read Paule's example, I guess this is only true if people are not exposed only to old material, which is probably pretty tough. I have never met any non-native speaker of English who speaks out-dated English.July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom"What I meant is that you keep hearing the same things over and over again. Hearing the watchmaker-argument for the 1395th time is not exciting. Hearing another atheist say that the watchmaker-argument is stupid isn´t exciting either. "
Yep. I was at a talk recently by British Astronomer Royal Martin Rees. The talk was part of a conference I was at, but was specifically for the Diplomatic Club of Geneva. At the end of the talk, one of the audience members asked him something like this
"So you discussed the stars and the universe and the multiverse, but the question is, who made it all?"
Upon hearing this question, I fell asleep so quickly that I banged my head on the desk in front of me and passed out cold. I was asleep and unconcious at the same time! It was like Inception.July 2014
Yeah, it´s amazing!
A watch can´t exist without a watchmaker. Therefore, humans can´t exist without a creator. Therefore, whatever religion I believe in is true.July 2014
Canada@Colin ""So you discussed the stars and the universe and the multiverse, but the question is, who made it all?""
"Who"... The other day I watched a few videos by a muslim apologist.
In one video he said "Well, atheists keep asking 'who' created God, but that´s an invalid question, because the question itself implies that God was created!". In another video he talked to some atheists on the street and kept asking "...but WHO created you?"
It´s not that bad actually. It gets easy once you´ve learned key things like "Ass", "cover one´s feet", "thee", "thou", "hast", "gentile" and whatnot.July 2014
United States> . Even the King James Version seems ok to me, so long as the spelling has been updated.
Probably you should take a closer look, then. Every single page has locutions that would be ridiculous to use in everyday speech and that would be of no use to a language learner:
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?¨¨ (Genesis 3:11)
Take an online version of the KJV and look up "thou" or "wast" or "maketh" or "abideth" and you will find hundreds of such passages. Or take a printed version and open it just anywhere. You and I can understand this archaic speech because we know English well, but someone who doesn't yet know English will have no way at all of telling what would be useful and what would not be.July 2014
Canada"And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?¨¨
That´s almost like modern German by the way.July 2014
ModeratorUnited KingdomWell of course it's not for beginners. Intermediate learners would be best to stick to the more natural stuff, but I am sure advanced learners can get something out of the King James Version.
"That´s almost like modern German by the way."
Yeah, English speakers have always been hundreds of years ahead of German speakers...July 2014
United Kingdom@Paule: "...In one video he said "Well, atheists keep asking 'who' created God, but that´s an invalid question, because the question itself implies that God was created!"..."
The question "who created God" would be fair enough - provided that one has a concept of 'god' which supposes that he exists within time and space in the same way that we do. However, the Judeo-Christian concept of God is that he is infinite and eternal - from everlasting to everlasting. I can only try to understand this as the whole of past-present-future all tied up together in a kind of continual "now"...
Humans, by contrast, do exist within a finite system of time - we have a time to be born and a time to die.
(But let's be honest: there isn't much point in atheists and religious believers arguing about these things, is there? We have a fundamentally different belief-system and world-view. We are not ever going to agree, probably...)July 2014
Canada""...but I am sure advanced learners can get something out of the King James Version. "
Definately. As a bonus, understanding old-schoolish English feels pretty bad donkey.
"Yeah, English speakers have always been hundreds of years ahead of German speakers..."
I guess no one will complain when German loses gendered articles and whatnot.July 2014
You´re assuming that...
1- God exists
2- God is eternal
3- Eternity exists
...and you´re making these assumptions based on what exactly?
"But let's be honest: there isn't much point in atheists and religious believers arguing about these things, is there?"
I think people should talk to each other even if they disagree. I simply leave discussions as soon as my "Schmerzgrenze" is reached.^^July 2014
United Kingdom@Paule: "...You´re assuming that... 1- God exists 2- God is eternal 3- Eternity exists..."
@Paule: "...and you´re making these assumptions based on what exactly?..."
The Bible :-P
(You gotta either believe the Bible or not, I guess. This is the point where people divide into two camps - those who do and those who don't!)
@Paule: "...I think people should talk to each other even if they disagree...."
Actually you're right - they should.July 2014
United States> Well of course it's not for beginners. Intermediate learners would be best to stick to the more natural stuff, but I am sure advanced learners can get something out of the King James Version.
_Well of course_ you can try to backpedal as you get backed into a corner, too. We weren't discussing grad students who already know English really well--at least not until your last post. .July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom@ Ernie
That time of the month eh?July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom...I'm sorry, that wasn't very polite of me. To be honest, I didn't read the first page of this thread. I was responding to the last bunch of posts before I posted.July 2014
United Kingdom@Colin: "...@ Ernie...That time of the month eh?..."
Gulp! This remark would actually seem to call Ernie's virility into question!
That's....well...word's fail me...:-0July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom"This remark would actually seem to call Ernie's virility into question!"
Quatsch! I may be pretty foolish, but I would never be foolish enough to do that!July 2014
United KingdomA beard is usually strong prima face-ia evidence in these matters! :-)
(Okay, it's probably not even remotely funny - but it's late, I'm well oiled and listening to old Police records from the 80s!)July 2014
ModeratorUnited KingdomWell I am watching 24 dubbed into German. It is good, but they have cut out Jack Bauer's best line 'dammit!' which in the English he says every 10 minutes. I guess it's for the best. All the Germans would be asking 'womit???'July 2014
United States@Julz, peteylover - I, too, enjoy reading the Bible, particularly the Gospels, in the languages I am studying.I have especially enjoyed reading the German Bible because that was the one my grandparents used when they were young, and the language that was used in their church services...that motivates me to continue learning German, modern as well as "ancient"!July 2014
United StatesI think the main problem is that some people on this thread are using the thread as an excuse to rant about what they like/don't like about the bible....when that wasn't the question in the first place....
The bible is just as good of a tool as any other book for those who are interested. For those of you saying the stories aren't true/you don't like them, they contradict, etc. who cares? It's a story as much as any other book. By your standards, the standards of those who see the bible as fiction, then nobody should use fiction to learn, period, because it's not true...Doesn't make much sense, does it?
I am non religious, but I started using the bible to learn my language because i'm familiar with the content already (who isn't?) and it is simple for the most part to understand.
Stop using people's genuine questions to rant about your own personal beliefs, that was not the question in the first place. There are plenty of forums and sites for you to discuss the bible in detail, this is not one of them.July 2014
United Kingdom"...There are plenty of forums and sites for you to discuss the bible in detail, this is not one of them..."
Who says so? ;-)
Of course, I do understand what you're saying - the original poster was just interested in using the Bible as a device for language study. Well okay - some people have responded narrowly to that.
(But it has always been a feature of LingQ that threads are allowed to meander and go off-topic, etc...)July 2014
United StatesI see, I'm relatively new here and was not aware that these kinds of "off topic" discussions were "accepted" here. Most forums I've used for various things are usually very strict with their topics, so I myself am never sure when it's ok to expand on ideas (I've been BANNED from a specific site for "not using the forums correctly", which is a bit of BS if you ask me...).
That being said, it is a bit like beating a dead horse in my opinion, with all of this back and forth. But that's neither here nor there.July 2014
FranceI think that the more languages in the world do not have their own book like this, but these books have a difficult language in the meanings and it is difficult to learn. But the solution is to learn from content that interests us.July 2014
AustraliaWho says we get off topic?? :)~~
@Colin - Ooooh! I *luuuuv* 24! What was the missing German Bauer line? Was it "Verdammt noch mal!"??~July 2014
Canada@Dobie42 "I think the main problem is that some people on this thread are using the thread as an excuse to rant about what they like/don't like about the bible....when that wasn't the question in the first place...."
I think I´m the only one who did that and I only wrote one post about it.
"By your standards, the standards of those who see the bible as fiction, then nobody should use fiction to learn, period, because it's not true...Doesn't make much sense, does it? "
Did anyone on this thread make that argument?
"There are plenty of forums and sites for you to discuss the bible in detail, this is not one of them."
No one discussed the bible in detail...July 2014
Austriaad SanneT: (...) Swedish friends once gave me some Watchtower material in English which I unfortunately left in an hotel in Stockholm. From what I remember the language used in the stories was fairly normal, ie not antiquated. (...)
Well, the Watchtower is a "religious comic" showing green meadows, happy housewives and fathers dressed in suits coming home to a room full of pious children. It reads like a report from "God's suburbia".
Of course, you also get the occasional horror story about how terrible mankind is and that we are all doomed......"fortunately", the last paragraph or so of every story reveals that there is hope and that we will all (or at least a few hundred thousand) be saved if we follow Jehova's rules.
So much for the content of the Watchtower. This does not have much to do with the Bible, however. They only cite a few passages from the Bible in each issue, the rest is written in modern language.
I know the Watchtower pretty well because one of my aunts has been providing us with tons of these religious mangas for years and years.
The original question was, I quote "Can you learn a language by studying the Bible translation in that language?".
I guess the answer depends on what kind of language you would like to be able to use.
Sure, you will learn the tenses, adjectives, adverbs etc. It might get tricky when it comes to the word order and the spelling (especially in German), because we simply don't speak and write like this anymore.
You will still be comprehensible, but you'll sound a bit strange, to say the least. Try talking to a native speaker of German the way the Bible is written and wait for their reaction.
You will certainly learn some aspects about the language, but irrespective of whether you consider the Bible and its stories "interesting" or "intelligible" content or not, I wonder how anybody would be able to learn how to speak comprehensible English based on phrases like these:
(...) And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?¨¨ (Genesis 3:11) (....)
Some of the German versions sound similarly outdated. There are newer ones, even so-called "Jugendbibeln" (Bibles for the youngsters) which are written in modern style. But I don't think the OP was referring to that kind of bibles.
If you use many other sources, I guess the outdated language of the Bible will probably not cause too much harm, but I doubt it would be of any linguistic help to someone beginning to learn a language.
It is one thing to enjoy reading older texts and yet another to assume that you can actually learn a language from scratch (and I think that was the OP's question) by using outdated material (outdated linguistically speaking, if you are a devout Christian the Bible will, of course, never be outdated for you).
I sometimes find it interesting to read texts on religions but the days where I enjoyed reading a religious text itself are long gone. I have read the Bible, the Thora, the Qu'ran and quite a few other religious texts in various languages. I cannot think of a single incident where what I had read came in handy for me at a later point of time (linguistically speaking).
I'm not referring to the content here. It is always good to know why people think you are going to hell ;-)July 2014
AustraliaOne might think from reading this forum that Bibles are all written in antiquated language. There's nothing especially holy for me as a Christian to read antiquated language - and personally, I can't stand reading all the "thee's, thou's, shouldest, wouldest, etc".
Funny enough, I do know that both my mother and her mother initially learned to read at public school from the Bible. Thank goodness I had "Run, Dick, run!" instead. And I did hear of a Korean man back in the 80s who learned to speak Japanese within 6 months of using only a Japanese Bible.
I'd much prefer to read: (Genesis 3:11) God said, "Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?", from the contemporary 'The Message' version I use everyday. I have no interest in foreign language Bibles that aren't written in contemporary language, either. I find linguistically-outdated Bibles, er, *outdated *, for me too!
I think the real key is to combine your passion and interests with your language learning - be that from manga, the Bible, cooking books, soap operas (No! Not "Neighbours"!!), or whatever - especially in contemporary language.
Having said that, I still own useful language materials that have vocabulary such as PABX switchboard, telegram, tape recorder, LP record, Ronald Reagan...ah, the bad 'ol days...:)~July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom"soap operas (No! Not "Neighbours"!!)"
Australia@Colin - hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!July 2014
Canada@Julz "And I did hear of a Korean man back in the 80s who learned to speak Japanese within 6 months of using only a Japanese Bible."
He would already know many of the Chinese characters that are used in Japanese but how did he learn the pronounciation of them? And what about the two syllabaries? What about listening comprehension? At which point can you´ve that you learned "learned Japanese? I think there are several possibilities...
1. He learned to read some Japanese by reading the bible and using at least a dictionary.
2. He was a genius. The Einstein of learning Japanese.
3. It didn´t happen.
4. It was a miracle.^^July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom5. It was like "Chinese whispers", a certain amount of distortion in the telling and re-telling of the event. But miracles do happen!July 2014
Australia1. It did happen.
2. It was no miracle ^^
3. According to You Tube/internet ^^, Koreans can pick up fluent Japanese within a year, generally speaking.
4. I never said he was fluent after 6 months ^^
4. I didn't ask about the pronunciation. Who knows, maybe someone taught him how to pronounce the kana (doesn't take long). My Bible from the 80s has furigana.
5. He was able to travel and speak to groups of Japanese people without an interpreter. Just sayin' :)
6. I like using ^^ from my French keyboard:)~
7. His English, on the other hand, was terrible. "Brushes an shishters!" (brothers and sisters)July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom@ Julz - Your weird Australian numbering system is something I didn't learn from Neighbours.
Anyway, if the story is true, which apparently it is, my guess as to what happened is that he learned how to read basic Japanese in 6 months from a Japanese bible. If he had an audio version too, he might have learned some basic spoken Japanese too. At the end of the 6 months, he was probably approximately Benny fluent.July 2014
ArubaI wondered, "What strange Australian numbering system?"
I see, two sentences are numbered 4! We all write these posts quite quickly. Julz will not be offended, that's for sure. What a great sense of humour you both have!July 2014
Canada@Julz "According to You Tube/internet ^^, Koreans can pick up fluent Japanese within a year, generally speaking. "
I just googled "similarities between Japanese and Korean" and it seems like they´re more similar than I thought.
The "let´s learn a language with nothing more than a Bible"-method is much more effective when you already know a similar language...
Let´s say someone locks me up in a cell and the only things in it are a bed, a toilet and a Bible. My kidnappers tell me "We´ll open the door as soon as you can understand the gist of what´s written in that Bible over there!".
I´d be able to figure out a Dutch Bible within a few months, but I´d probably commit suicide if they gave me a Bible in Chinese.July 2014
Australia@Paul - (I've only just seen your last post). I'm assuming you meant it was a parallel text, then.
Problem with your scenario.... It would all unravel anyway, as....what on earth would you use for loo paper?!! Huh, huh?!
Even I would have to succumb to the obvious solution. God would understand:)July 2014
United KingdomOn a serious note, I reckon Paule would learn to read Chinese much more quickly than he thinks - if his life and liberty depended on it.
(One of the few things life has taught me, is that we always tend to underestimate ourselves. The human mind and spirit are actually capable of some pretty extraordinary feats if the chips are really down...)July 2014
Canada"I'm assuming you meant it was a parallel text, then."
Nope. Only a Chinese or Dutch Bible, nothing more.^^
I was assuming that the kidnappers don´t really care about the sanity or hygiene of their hostage.July 2014
I see. Well that's certainly a tough hypothetical learning environment!
Personally, if I were in that situation (and if my life depended on it) I would be looking for a pentecostal tongue of fire, I guess! (The flip side of that is, after leaving the prison, I'd probably have to spend the rest of my life as a China missionary...)
(Aber wer weiß? Vielleicht würde ich eine nette junge Chinesin als Ehefrau kriegen? Dann könnte das Wort "Missionar" noch viel interessanter werden - wenn du verstehst, was ich meine! :-D)July 2014
ModeratorUnited KingdomThere are children reading this forum, a bit of judicial editing required here, methinks, although it is not a bad play of words.July 2014
Gemacht. Ist es in Ordnung so, Mutti? ;-)
Übrigens: ihr musst mir verzeihen - ich kann einfach nicht anders...irgendwie...
(Bin wohl einsam in letzter Zeit...)July 2014
ModeratorUnited KingdomDu bist ein Musterknabe! Taschengelderhöhung fällig!July 2014
United States> @ Ernie
> That time of the month eh?
Whoa! What have I missed? Name calling--the last, desperate resort of a weak defense. Well, since you have apologized, I'll accept your apology and let it go. What I was objecting to, as maybe you now see--and you really should consider whether you do it often in discussions--was the back-pedaling instead of just saying, as you finally did, that you were wrong.
. . . As to the question of discussing religion here. Just about always, discussion of such a topic leads to proselytizing or irrelevant (to this forum) attacks on or defenses of religion, or we are treated, for instance, to explanations of why some "cult" errs in its beliefs--as if those beliefs were any less rational than any other religious beliefs, and as if it mattered at all to a linguistic discussion.
To skip such "religious wars" was why I stopped watching this thread. But since I'm again "here," I _must_ figure out the context of "I assume you meant it was a parallel text, then." Oh, and "prima facie"--good one, Prince_Jogi. It made me groan, which is the purpose of puns.
, , , Now i see the "parallel text" context. Sanne_T, a rose from me for "Chinese whispers," your point #5. No two ways about it!
This discussion has avoided "religious wars" better than just about any online discussion I can remember.July 2014
"...Or we are treated, for instance, to explanations of why some "cult" errs in its beliefs--as if those beliefs were any less rational than any other religious beliefs..."
We haven't been treated to anything of the kind, have we? At least not on this thread.
But I don't agree with the point, Ernie. Doesn't it ultimately all have to do with how people *behave* as a result of what they believe?
At one end of the scale you might have folks who are motivated by their faith to open a soup kitchen to help the poor in their city. At the other end of the scale you have people who knowingly cause harm others as a result of what they have been taught by some extreme or bizarre cult.
It doesn't seem reasonable to me to say that the two positions are equally the same.July 2014
Canada"It doesn't seem reasonable to me to say that the two positions are equally the same."
He didn´t talk about helping in soup kitchens for religious reasons and causing harm to others for religious reaons being the same thing. He said that cults and mainstream religion are equally irrational. (Correct ne if I´m wrong, Ernie)July 2014
CanadaPS: I don´t know how often I was told "Paule, you´re thinking too much" or "You gotta have faith". In other words: "Be less rational and you´ll be able to believe in our religion!".July 2014
United KingdomPaule, my point is that it is precisely all about how people behave as a result of what they believe.
If that were not the case, then people who believe that they will go to heaven if they kill a thousand Jewish children (just for example) would be no more "irrational" (in your terms) than someone who believes he will have his reward in heaven if he helps the poor on Tuesday afternoons down at the local soup kitchen.
By their fruits shall ye know them (as somebody once said.)July 2014
CanadaBoth beliefs are irrational because they´re based on the same amount of evidence. "Kind" and "evil" are better words to describe your example.July 2014
United KingdomSo the guy down at the soup kitchen is equally as irrational as the suicide bomber?
And you really think that, Paule?
Wow. Just wow.July 2014
CanadaIt´s impressive how not editing out the word "equally" completely changes the meaning of what I wrote.^^
What I meant is "Both beliefs are irrational because they´re based on the same amount of evidence" (none, IMHO)
Both beliefs are irrational, it´s just that helping in a soup kitchen is kind and killing a thousand children is evil.July 2014
United KingdomHold on, let's look at Ernie's point, Paule - the one to which I was originally responding. His contention was (if I have understood him correctly?) that one set of beliefs can't be seen as any more irrational than another.
Now, I am arguing that belief can't meaningfully exist in a vacuum - rather it translates into acts - or "fruit" if you will. It is these acts which count in the here and now. On that basis I don't see how all religious convictions can be "zusammen in einen Topf geworfen", so to say.
Peace :-)July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom@ Ernie
Well I almost killed myself in Hamburg when I was younger trying to backpedal. I just borrowed somebodies bike and didn't realise that it was one of those bikes that you can actually move backwards on when you pedal backwards. On such bikes, it is a bad idea to try to reposition the pedals while going full speed forwards. I almost flipped over the handlebars going down a hill with several cars around me!
(But seriously, I have no idea what you are talking about with all this backpedalling stuff.)
[Edit: just backpedalled on a couple of typos]July 2014
"Any beliefs are equally irrational. [...] Have I missed anything?"
I think it´s rational to believe in the existence of milk. You can see it, you can taste it, you can digest it, you know where it comes from and everyone agrees that milk exists. I also believe that it´s rational to drink milk (or any other liquid) in order to...uh...not die.
Let´s compare this with Christianity: "The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree."
This makes much more sense than any of these "weird cults", of course.July 2014
Germany@Paule: Not sure if you made this up yourself, but it sure is funny! LMAO ;-))July 2014
Very droll, of course - but not necessarily the most elegant (or indeed accurate) explanation of the faith which has been the foundation of Western civilisation for the last 2000 years :-)
"...tell him you accept him as your master..."
Or is it the master who chooses the servant??
"...This makes much more sense than any of these "weird cults", of course..."
Down through the years quite a few people have thought so. And generally they have been motivated to do good and advance society (ya know, help disadvantaged people, found hospitals, schools, universities, that kind of stuff) by their beliefs.
But how much good is done by people who believe in (to use your phrase) "weird cults"? And how much actual harm?
By their fruits, etc..July 2014
United StatesIf the language you are studying is Koine Greek, Hebrew, or Latin, it would be fine.July 2014
AustraliaI really enjoy the light-hearted banter between Paul, Jay, Colin & others (when it’s not mockery against my faith). I also want to remind people that there are several LingQ members here whom are persons of faith, and not just those belonging to my particular brand.
@Ernie - I want to respond to the innuendo that I may have used this forum to vent my intolerance of another religion. Far from it. I don’t believe it was wrong to mention that Christendom views the JW organisation as a cult, to put it into perspective in the discussion. And if one had read properly what I wrote, one would see that I’ve always been very friendly and courteous to JW individuals.I have acquaintances in the community who are JWs. We would be friends I’m sure, if it were not for the tight control that organisation has on its members. They can only truly tell me what they think/feel when they’re lucky enough not to have the usual second person with them when they knock on my door, or I catch them elsewhere alone.
I have privately grieved and wept for some that are trapped in the organisation – the price they pay for leaving is permanent shunning from their own spouses and children. What about the youth who was able to break free, sobbing and sobbing on his 16th birthday – for the first time in his life being allowed to celebrate and have a birthday cake. Some Watchtower doctrine can have literal life and death consequences, for example, their teaching against blood-transfusions. Perhaps people could have some genuine care and compassion for those in that situation, before they presume to know what my motives are.
I believed it was important to point out their “Bible” is vastly different to that accepted by mainstream Christianity (especially when I saw their slick website and umpteen references to the “Bible” on forum-supplied link), and I said I’ve pointed out their misleading and deceptive conduct on that score to them. I have since been contacted privately by some LingQ members who thanked me for speaking up, by the way.July 2014
Canada@Jogi "Down through the years quite a few people have thought so. And generally they have been motivated to do good and advance society (ya know, help disadvantaged people, found hospitals, schools, universities, that kind of stuff) by their beliefs."
Just like people who believe in other religions and atheists.
"Very droll, of course - but not necessarily the most elegant (or indeed accurate) explanation of the faith which has been the foundation of Western civilisation for the last 2000 years :-)"
Still good enough to make you play the "it´s the foundation of our civilisation"-card. This is getting boring.July 2014
AustriaI am not a religious person myself (anymore) and I have made that clear repeatedly on this forum. My personal record of alleged divine interference or the complete absence thereof is way too negative for me to be able to hold on to any of the promises spread by various religious groups.
Both in my private life and in my profession I have experienced so much harm caused by religions that I consider it best for my own spiritual health to simply stay away from them. This is not to say that non-religious people, organisations etc. cannot cause harm. They sure can and if I am able to identify them as a source of acts I consider to be unacceptable or "evil" in my mind, I make sure I don't cross their path either.
I'm not on a crusade against believers.
Actually, I have quite a few religious people amongst my friends, even in my family and I am thankful for having them in my life. Despite the fact that we have a different view of life and of all the things that may or may not come afterwards, they are respectful of people who don't share their way of thinking and that is what counts in my eyes.
I enjoy talking to open-minded, friendly people who understand that whatever our ideas may be, if we start imposing our own way of life upon others, we are terribly wrong.
Sometimes the greatest gift is the greatest source of despair. Man's ability to reason has probably contributed to a very large extent to our survival on this planet, and yet it is this same ability that can wreak havoc on your mind if you start questioning the very reason of your existence.
For many people, religions seem to offer an answer to this burning question. The only problem I have with this is that religions are used so often as an excuse to mistreat others.
I don't believe in a creator, saviour, "fatherly" figure or a supreme being that will take care of me and bring me "home" after my life has ended.
I believe in the exceptional power of giving and receiving love and caring for others as long as I am here on this small planet. I believe in the ability to fail and try to do better next time.
Coming back to the original question of the OP, I also enjoy reading good, entertaining or instructive stories. Except for some individual verses or phrases which I indeed consider to be beautiful (regardless of their historical or religious context), there isn't much - if anything at all - that would have made me read the Bible in the first place, had it not been a prerequisite in school.
And as for language learning, I think there is nothing in it you can't learn much better from other material. But again, it all comes down to what you are interested in. If you believe in these stories and if reading them makes you feel comfortable, helps you find your peace of mind and, who knows, even turns you into a "better person", then it probably is not such a bad idea to keep reading those scriptures. Just don't impose them on others (just for the record, nobody in this forum has done this).
P.S. People like Jay, July and others on this forum are good examples of believers who are respectful of the way others try to live their life. And I very much appreciate the fact that their contributions on this forum make me ponder on whatever opinion I may hold.
United Kingdom@Paule: "...Still good enough to make you play the "it´s the foundation of our civilisation"-card. This is getting boring..."
I thought the Zombie-strawman was pretty boring too ;-) In fairness, though, it is an interesting variation on the usual theme of 'Christians-believe in magic', etc..
@Robert: "...yet it is this same ability that can wreak havoc on your mind if you start questioning the very reason of your existence..."
That's all too true. If I didn't believe, it's well and truly possible that I would have killed myself already before the age of twenty.
I certainly *don't* hate atheists - i.e. people. But I do hate Atheism with all of my heart - because it is something which would destroy me.July 2014
Austriaad Jay: (...) That's all too true. If I didn't believe, it's well and truly possible that I would have killed myself already before the age of twenty.
I certainly *don't* hate atheists - i.e. people. But I do hate Atheism with all of my heart - because it is something which would destroy me. (...)
I love my life and I am grateful for so many things, even more so for the people in my life (especially my family). There are times, however, when I do ask myself if it is really worth it. No matter whether you are happy, sad, rich, healthy, sick, powerful, weak, the oppressed or the oppressor, at one point of time it is all over - you are gone and if you did not manage to leave an impression on some people you met during your life, you'll be gone for ever, erased from this earth and from the minds of people.
This can be a frightening thought if you think that there ought to be some "purpose" behind your existence, a "plan" or some sort of providence. Something that gives your life a meaning.
I guess that is why many people believe in a supreme being and reading your post, I have a feeling this is also why you believe in God. I may be wrong and I am certainly not judging you, but that's the impression I got from what I read.
Even when I believed in God I still had to convince myself that he knows best what is good for me and thus I wouldn't have to reflect upon the reasons why I was born etc. After all, it was all part of his divine master plan.
The thing is that as time went by I felt that this plan was full of flaws and probably just as much an illusion as the quest for the supposedly true meaning of life itself.
The crux of the matter, as I see it, is that we first proceed from the assumption that our life has to have a meaning and then we try to find reasons why this must be so.
Religious people may argue that our life has a meaning because, after all, we were created by a supreme being and he/she/it must know what this is all good for.
And if people run out of explanations, they resort to the "inexplicable ways" of their God. I'm not saying this to disparage anybody's beliefs, this is simply the impression I have got from many discussions and it is something that is also very much based on my personal experience.
I have a family member who is terminally ill and while I enjoy every moment I can spend with her, I fear the time she will be gone. I don't believe in God, but I'm actually grateful she does because it gives her great comfort. When she doubts, I try to encourage her to listen to her "heart" and not to what I might say or think. She knows I don't believe in the "Holy Father".
Whatever the reason for our existence may be, wherever we come from and wherever we may go to, there is one thing that helps me through times of despair and that is the love you feel for others. As hackneyed as this may sound, but look in the eyes of a person that is just happy to see you, feel the warmth of the hug of a child that has waited for you to come by and you'll have every reason to be glad you are alive.
That's also why I believe in the importance of living in the present.
There are so many good reasons to enjoy life. The best probably being that it is the only one we have. As I see it, there won't be any "refills" and no "second rounds". You'd better get it right the first time.
Not everybody is given the kind of choice we have in industrialized countries. Many human beings who are just as "worthy" of living a good life as we are, lead a miserable life for reasons beyond their control.
One more reason for me not to believe in any divine plan. And one more reason to believe in the importance of assuming responsibility for others.
Well, I'll go to bed now before this completely turns into a sermon ;-)July 2014
Canada"That's all too true. If I didn't believe, it's well and truly possible that I would have killed myself already before the age of twenty."
I've never really understood the "atheists have no reason to live" sort of belief. As far as I see it, we have LESS reason to kill ourselves, because this life right here is all we get. If we kill ourselves, that's it. We get nothing. But believers have the promise of a (presumably pleasant) afterlife... under this premise, maybe it would even be a good thing for a believer to die, because they would end up in a better place than they are here. (I'm *not* saying I think believers should kill themselves. I don't think believers should kill themselves. Please don't kill yourselves.) I guess it's a good thing suicide is considered a sin...
I guess you were getting at the "meaning of life" thing, which Robert already touched on. I think you have to give your life its meaning yourself. I don't believe that there's any sort of 'divine plan' for my life and I'm totally comfortable with that. All I want to do is be happy, do good, do the things I love and be with the people I love. I also think that everyone, regardless of their beliefs, has at least something in their life worth living for.
"I certainly *don't* hate atheists - i.e. people. But I do hate Atheism with all of my heart - because it is something which would destroy me."
That's pretty much exactly how I feel about most religions ;)
Well, my hatred of religion comes more from the violence it's caused, the intolerance it's spread and the ideas of sin and shame it's introduced than the thought that it would destroy me, but I do think I'll live a much happier life as an atheist.
I guess you'll live a happier life as a Christian, though. It all comes down to the individual.^^
I completely agree with almost everything you've said!July 2014
Australia@Robert - I’m always envious of your gift for communication. If only I could express the things I profoundly believe as well as you do!
“I have a family member who is terminally ill and while I enjoy every moment I can spend with her, I fear the time she will be gone. I don't believe in God, but I'm actually grateful she does because it gives her great comfort. When she doubts, I try to encourage her to listen to her “heart" and not to what I might say or think.”
I’m so glad you mentioned your mum. I’ve had some LingQ absence, and wasn’t sure if she were still with you – she’s been on my mind the past couple of weeks, and I wasn’t sure how to ask without causing offence. You may remember previously some months back I said I was praying for your mother (like some others on here). Please believe me when I say my heart goes out to her.
Oh Robert, reading your comment above brought tears to my eyes. I’m so proud of you that you tell her to listen to her *own* heart. That you have the sense not to try to destroy the things she profoundly believes in. What would be the point of that, anyhow?
If I had a terminal condition, I couldn’t think of anything crueller than if my own family members mocked to my face what has brought me great strength and joy in my life. (I don’t have cancer, but my world has been turned upside down permanently because of a health condition). Though some cannot accept my spirituality (if I just use myself as an example) which frustratingly goes beyond the limits of what I can articulate, moot, put under a microscope, quantify etc - I know they value my intelligence and behind-the-scenes life contribution.
Isn’t that what really counts, for believers and non-believers alike: having compassion and integrity, and doing what is in your power to do for the good of others to alleviate suffering etc, if at all possible? I see you understand this.
From what you’d previously shared about your mother, it seems she is a woman of great character. And I’m certain she is enormously proud of you, even as she prays for you with a mother’s heart.July 2014
United Kingdom@lykusu: "...I've never really understood the "atheists have no reason to live" sort of belief..."
That is emphatically not what I think - and I'm genuinely sorry if I gave that impression. For me all human life is precious (and, indeed sacred.) I wish all people, regardless of their beliefs, a happy peaceful and fulfilling life.
@Robert: "...I guess that is why many people believe in a supreme being and reading your post, I have a feeling this is also why you believe in God. I may be wrong and I am certainly not judging you, but that's the impression I got from what I read..."
Weißt du Robert, ich frage mich, ob ich meinen letzten Beitrag hätte besser nicht schreiben sollen? Die Sache ist eigentlich kompliziert. Als Teenager hatte ich schon manche gravierende Probleme (wie viele andere junge Leute auch.) Auch heute geht es mir in vielerlei Hinsicht nicht sehr gut - aber ich möchte nicht genauer darüber reden. Ich hoffe, du kannst das verstehen.
Natürlich brauche ich Dinge wie Sinn und Bedeutung im Leben - das Gefühl, dass alles nicht umsonst ist. Insofern hast du Recht. Aber was ich wirklich brauche, ist ein Gott, der auch ganz konkret hilft - einer der tatsächlich auf Gebet hört.
Manchmal erstaunt es mich, wenn ich im Buch der Psalmen lese. Sie waren vor Tausenden von Jahren geschrieben, und dennoch drücken sie oft genau das aus, was ich fühle. Ein Leben ohne diese Hoffnung? Ich kann es mir einfach nicht vorstellen.
@Julz: "...@Robert - I’m always envious of your gift for communication. If only I could express the things I profoundly believe as well as you do!..."
I agree. There are a number of non-native speakers here who write excellent English. But I don't believe I have ever come across a non-native who writes English as well as Robert.
(Übrigens: das sollte jetzt nicht schmeichelhaft sein - ich meine es wirklich so!)July 2014
Australia@Jay - “...im Buch der Psalmen...drücken sie oft genau das aus, was ich fühle.”
Also, it’s safe to say Robert knows the difference between sucking up, and genuine praise, thank goodness.July 2014
ModeratorUnited Kingdom"There are a number of non-native speakers here who write excellent English. But I don't believe I have ever come across a non-native who writes English as well as Robert."
Ich kenne einen Typ, der so gut wie Robert Englisch schreibt und spricht, aber solche Sprachgötter trifft man selten.July 2014
Iran, Islamic Republic ofl don't know about bible but l learnt Arabic by reading Quran with the translation first. And now I'm trying to learn simpler everyday conversation. Conversation is more difficult than Quran.August 2014
Iran, Islamic Republic ofWhat is the original language of Bible?
I aim to read the Bible in my own language.August 2014
AustraliaHi, try this link:
Is this helpful for you, or is it in the wrong dialect? If it's fine, I recommend you start with John, the 4th book of the New Testament.
PS this link explains about the languages of the Old Testament and New Testament.
ModeratorJapanIf you are a missionary, it is important to study the Bible translation in the language spoken in the area where you are going.August 2014
Hello, for reviving this subject about reading the Bible, I purchased a book: The New Testament Greek-French. It is a funny material and a good complement to Assimil method for ancient Greek. Is is not matter that the book is very old. The only important thing is for me that this book is interesting. I love history.
I study some grammar, it is important. But it is impossible to keep studying if I do not find any interesting material for me.
SwedenI, too, use The Bible to study English. I use French version, Swedish version and English version. I listen to the English version too while reading.
Here is the link, folks! www.biblegateway.com/resources/audio/?recording...
Viet Nami am studying english by creat my own blog : http://voa4you.com , it's easy to learnApril 2016
United StatesBy coincidence, in the Russian novel I'm reading now one of the character is taught to read from the Bible (though not as a foreign language):
"Многие псалмы я знаю наизусть. Со слуха."
При изучении грамоты ей это очень пригодилось. Прочтя несколько букв, Устина вспоминала всю фразу, что помогало ей мгновенно узнавать следующие буквы.
"I know many of the Psalms by heart. From listening."
This was very useful to her in learning to read. After reading a few letters Ustina recalled the entire phrase, which helped her to immediately know the following letters.April 2016
RomaniaI used "All in One" for the Bible: http://www.learningenglish.ro/bible
(English version + your native vocabulary).
For Romanian I added the Romanian version: http://www.learningenglish.ro/Bible/Tmp/Bible_R...October 2016