Learning Spanish in America: A Biblical Perspective and Some Helpful Thoughts

Below is the outline of some thoughts I shared with a Spanish class I taught.  It was taught in the United States, so some of this has to do with the situation in America.  Also, not all of these thoughts are completely original with me.  Tim Carte taught me some of these things and I then passed them on to the class.

Biblical View for Learning Languages

  1. As Christians, we must view everything through the lens of Scripture.  Before we are anything else (moms, dads, brothers, sisters, Americans, musicians, athletes, etc.), we are Christians.
  2. We know that God confused the languages at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11).
  3. We also know that God is behind the migrations of people (Amos 9:7).  Israel’s whole existence is basically the story of God’s moving them from one place to another.
  4. When we begin to look at things through a biblical perspective, we see that God is allowing the migration of Spanish-speaking people to America in large numbers.  What we know about God should guide us in how we view this situation.  We know that God has a heart for the whole world.  He died for each of them and wants them to be with Him forever.
  5. In a time where many Spanish speakers may feel unwanted, it really means something to them when an American goes out of his or her way to talk to them and to befriend them.

The Difficulties and Realities of Language Learning

  1. Language learning is difficult and can be frustrating and discouraging at times.
  2. You get out of language learning what you put into it.
  3. There will come times of disappointment and times that you feel you aren’t advancing at all.  You must press through these.
  4. Language learning requires hours of practice and dedication, as well as consistent study.
  5. Putting fifteen to thirty minutes a day into language learning is better than a lengthy amount of time once a week.
  6. Not everything can be literally translated and make sense.
  7. Language learning requires getting out of your bubble and deliberately putting yourself into uncomfortable situations.

The Rewards of Learning a New Language

  1. It enables you to reach somebody with the gospel you might not otherwise have reached.
  2. It completely opens up a new world to you.  Ludwig Wittgenstein said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”  He was right.
  3. It gives you new friends you might never have had.  Some of my best friends are those whose first language isn’t English.
  4. It can open up new job opportunities to you.

I hope to share more in the days to come about learning another language, my own experience with it, and some things that have helped me along the way.

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