This department is provided for the free and courteous discussion of biblical and spiritual problems which may be considered edifying to the people of God. Letters concerning such matters are requested.
Dear Mr. Editor:
By way of humbly submitting the following to you, may I take this opportunity of saying how we do enjoy the contents of your monthly publication. Further to the comments made in the “Forum” as contained in the last few issues and referring firstly to April’s issue, I would like to state how fully one agrees with Mr. F. W. Schwartz’s excellent contribution. Secondly, in regard to the statements made by R. W., in a previous issue, while it is quite right to regard the 2nd person singular in the Spanish as being the familiar tense, namely “tu,” may I point out that when used in reference to God, it is almost invariably preceded or followed by one of our Lord’s titles; admittedly, we can also do that in our English language, but we must remember that while we use “you” in a familiar sense, the Spanish “tu” carries with it a deeper degree of courtesy and respect, familiar, yes, but at the same time, most respectful, equivalent to our “Thou.” The term “you” has been changed from olden times as regards man to man of equal standing in life, but was never intended for use when addressing dignitaries, much less the Person of God. Up-to-date Bilingual Dictionaries all give for “tu” — Thou, Thee, Thine and Thy, “you” is not even shown. We simply cannot reconcile one language with another, there are shades and degrees of meaning both proper and correct for every phase and rank of our conversation and each must stand alone in its own light and beauty. True, as mentioned by R. W., in Spanish we use “tu” for God, which would be out of place when speaking to a person whom we had just met for the first time, which in such a case would then be “usted,” but one must bear in mind that in Spanish we have several different words for “you,” depending on the occasion to hand, whilst in English it is used at all times when addressing one another, but if such shows a lack of respect when addressing a high dignitary on earth, what reason can we give to justify ourselves before God? The familiar Spanish short singular form of “vos” is another term we can add, for man to man. They also have an upside down question mark in Spanish, which in English does not exist, so we can see that languages do not necessarily follow a certain “pattern.”
Finally, by way of illustration, at my place of employment as Translator, my helper, younger in age and length of service, never uses the very familiar phrase “te llamaron,” but rather “le llamaron,” as in “you were called,” only a slight variation and both standard, but usage depends on “standing.” If such is our marked distinction to one another here on earth, how much more should we, creatures of His Creation, bestow the place of honour due only to Him, who is a Holy, yea, Thrice Holy God. Modern tendencies are to lower the standards in everything, but shall we as Christians join hands with the world? Surely we can know and realize His Presence in us and with us daily, without using none other but the highest seal of reverence to Him who saved us by His Grace alone, thereby honouring that worthy One.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
D. S. M.
This letter from an Argentinian is worthy of serious consideration. It forms a good complement to earlier discussions. — Ed.