I have long been struck by the beauty of Paul’s prose in chapter 13 expressing Christianity in terms of Platonism centuries before Augustine. Of course I have the advantage of speaking English fluently and so being able to understand and be moved by this gem from the King James:
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
But what about people who do not speak English? Over the last two hundred years the Scriptures have been translated into hundreds of tongues and indeed missionaries and evangelists are often at the forefront of linguistics so that the inspired word of God may be brought even to remote communities of a few hundred speakers. And yet a linguistic community numbering in the tens of millions right here amongst us cannot read, or more accurately, watch, the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 13, translated into Terrible Powerpoint
I speak of course of speakers of Terrible Powerpoint (or as linguists usually abbreviate it, “TP”). This dialect is notable for its use of bullet points, objet trouve clip art, and gratuitously intrusive animation. Speakers are commonly found in business, academia, government, and the officer corps of the military. While some TP speakers are bilingual in English, many of them see complete paragraphs as only so much babble. It is so that these TP speakers might be saved that I have translated Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians into their native tongue.
Fortunately, Paul’s use of lists, metaphors, and multi-faceted contrasts renders well into TP. Indeed, Paul’s rhetorical style adapts so well to TP that I think it’s fair to say that if the Roman empire had laptops and LCD projectors, the purple might have taken up the cross a good hundred years before Constantine. As Matthew Schmitz rejoiced on seeing the presentation, “Finally the Scripture can be heard in the meeting rooms of the world in the language of their native people. Every tongue shall confess, and now he is confessed in a new tongue.”
Watch all of 1 Corinthians translated into Terrible Powerpoint: