My wife and I were discussing what we could do after we both retire. She suggested visiting her family in Brazil for several months. “I better brush up on my Portuguese,” I said. I remember reading that one of the American founding fathers learned several languages using translations of the Bible. I can’t remember who that was, but I have kept the idea in the back of my mind.
I ordered a Biblia Sacrada in Portuguese and English. The verses are arranged side by side for easy comparison. I study a couple of chapters a day. I don’t have much trouble with the Portuguese, but usually find one or two unfamiliar words in each chapter. The context and the parallel verses makes it easy to decipher. Sometimes I’ll look the word or phrase online as confirmation.
For example, Mateus 1:21 says, “Ela dará à luz um filho, . . .” literally, “She gave a light to a son, . . . ” This is an expression found in both the Portuguese and Spanish bibles that means “She gave birth to a son”. It’s an interesting and rewarding discovery.
One of my favorite verses is Mateus 5:9 “Bem-aventurados os pacificadores, pois serão chamados filhos de Deus.” Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (NIV) This is kind of a cornerstone verse for me, that grounds my faith with the core value of peacemaking.
Another cornerstone is Mateus 5:43-48 O Amor aos Inimigos (Love Your Enemies)
43 “Vocês ouviram o que foi dito: ‘Ame o seu próximo[a] e odeie o seu inimigo’. 44 Mas eu lhes digo: Amem os seus inimigos[b] e orem por aqueles que os perseguem, 45 para que vocês venham a ser filhos de seu Pai que está nos céus.
In English it reads, ““You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.
By loving our enemies we are promoted from being called sons of God, to actually becoming Sons of our Father, who is in heaven. I like it.
Being peacemakers and loving our enemies may not be easy, but the rewards are great.
Mateus 5:46-48 goes on to say,
“Porque ele faz raiar o seu sol sobre maus e bons e derrama chuva sobre justos e injustos. 46 Se vocês amarem aqueles que os amam, que recompensa vocês receberão? Até os publicanos[c] fazem isso! 47 E se saudarem apenas os seus irmãos, o que estarão fazendo de mais? Até os pagãos fazem isso! 48 Portanto, sejam perfeitos como perfeito é o Pai celestial de vocês.”
Matthew 5:46-48 “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[a] what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”