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The Gospel In Spanish
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Just as in English, the language of the scriptures in Spanish presents a number of difficulties, even for native speakers. The basic reason for these difficulties is, of course, that the first translations of the Bible were made into 16th-Century Spanish and 17th-Century English, which have changed a great deal over the centuries. Language is constantly evolving and changing; discarding old terms, adding new ones, and modifying others. Take, for example, the old meaning of the word “suffer.” In the language of 17th Century England it meant to “allow” or “let,” as in the words of Jesus: “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” In modern English, “suffer” no longer has that meaning and it could confuse someone who might think that the Lord wants the little children to suffer. There are many words in the scriptures such as “yea” and “behold” that we don’t use in every-day speech.

This same situation exists in Spanish. At first the LDS Church used versions of the Reina-Valera Bible. That translation was completed by Casiodoro de Reina in 1569 and revised by Cipriano de Valera in 1602. That was in the days of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote de la Mancha! Although there have been revisions and modernizations, the language of the Reina-Valera Bible was still very much “old Spanish.” In 2009 the LDS Church published a new translation of the 1909 Reina-Valera Bible, with even more modernization, but it deliberately kept a “scripture” feel.

When Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he chose to translate it into “scriptural English,” that is, a format with words and expressions similar to those of the King James Version of the Bible. The translation of the Book of Mormon from English into Spanish has followed that same course, so the Spanish of the Libro de Mormón is also “scriptural language.” The Pearl of Great Price books of Moses and Abraham are also in that same style. The Doctrine and Covenants, while in a more modern format, uses many scriptural words and expressions. Recent additions to the Pearl of Great Price are in an even more modern style. Your reading of the scriptures in Spanish can be much easier if you understand the following concepts.

1. The Use of the vosotros Forms

Students of Spanish are used to the familiar , but its plural form, vosotros, is usually quite unfamiliar, just as the forms of its equivalent ye, are in modern English. The vosotros forms are still used in Spain in everyday speech, but not in Latin America. A shortened form vos is sometimes used.

For review we have included some of the forms here:

Subject and Object of Preposition:

vosotros/as = ye, you (pl.)

Direct and Indirect Object Pronoun:

os = you, to/for you (pl.)


vuestro/a(os/as) = your (pl.)

Examples of Verb Forms:


habláis = ye speak

coméis = ye eat

vivís = ye live

sois = ye are

vais = ye go


hablasteis = ye spoke 

comisteis = ye ate

vivisteis = ye lived


hablabais = ye used to speak

comíais = ye used to eat

vivíais = ye used to live


hablaréis = ye will speak

comeréis = ye will eat

viviréis = ye will live


hablaríais= ye would speak

comeríais = ye would eat

viviríais = ye would live

present subjunctive

habléis = that ye speak

comáis = that ye eat

viváis = that ye live

past subjunctive

hablarais (hablaseis) = that ye spoke

comierais (comieses)

vivierais (vivieses)

compound tenses

habéis hablado = ye have spoken, 

habíais comido = ye had eaten,etc.

hayáis hablado = that ye have spoken, etc.


hablad = speak

id = go

comed = eat

idos = go away

vivid = live

sed = be

gozaos = be joyful

alegraos = be happy

2. The Use of Archaic Expressions

Many expressions, no longer common in modern Spanish, are used to introduce a shift in theme, give admonishment, etc. Some of the most common are:

De cierto os digo =Verily I say unto you

Y aconteció que /Y sucedió que = And it came 

to pass

He aquí = Behold

3. The Use of Archaic Words

Examples of less-frequently-used words that have been kept in the LDS Spanish Bible



Modern Spanish



cesta, canasta






sin embargo


tread upon





The future is often used to indicate a strong command:

No matarás = No mates

Amarás a tu prójimo = Ama a tu prójimo

4. The Use of the Future Subjunctive

The future subjunctive existed in old Spanish to refer to some future, indefinite event or person. In modern Spanish the present or past subjunctive is used. In the LDS Bible the future subjunctive is sometimes kept in well-known verses to preserve a “scripture” feel.

Oísteis que fue dicho a los antiguos: No matarás; y cualquiera que matare será culpable de juicio.

It was also used with si as an indefinite future. In modern Spanish the past subjunctive is used.

Vosotros sois la sal de la tierra; pero si la sal perdiere su sabor, ¿con qué será salada? 

5. Word changes

Where the Bible in English uses the word “elder”, Spanish usually uses “anciano”. An explanation is sometimes necessary to indicate that the priesthood office we refer to in Spanish as “élder” has the meaning of “anciano”. In the first version of the Spanish Hymnbook, the hymn Ye Elders of Israel was translated as Ancianos de Israel. In the new hymnbook, it has been changed to Oh élderes de Israel. 

The priesthood offices of “bishop” and “patriarch” are sometimes “pastor” and “evangelista” in the Spanish bible.

Efesios 4:11 Y él mismo constituyó a unos apóstoles; y a otros, profetas; y a otros, evangelistas; y a otros, pastores y maestros;