How To Learn Spanish by Reading the Bible
Learning Spanish by reading is a motivational and powerful tool. And there’s no better book to read than the Bible in Spanish—a book you already know. Why not practice your second language while reading the gospel?
Read this article to learn how to use the Bible to learn Spanish!
You’ll find out how to say “Holy Bible” and other basic Christian words, access a pool of resources, memorization tips, and learning techniques.
Plus, discover the best Spanish bible for you—as some translations are more difficult than others.
¡Leamos la biblia en español!
Let’s read the Bible in Spanish!
Table of Contents
- Bible Study in Spanish
- Get Motivated First
- How to Choose a Spanish Bible
- Pick Your Favorite Verses, Passages, and Stories
- Choose Your Resources
- Enjoy the Benefits of Studying the Bible in Spanish
Bible Study in Spanish
Is studying the Bible in Spanish a solid idea? Yes, and here’s why.
1. You’re familiar with the text. This is a game changer because you aren’t adding the effort of understanding a new subject.
2. If you choose the appropriate Bible in Spanish according to your learning level, you will find that the texts aren’t too easy or too difficult. Start with a simple Bible and as you grow, switch to more complex ones.
3. Many English words come from Latin, which is the main root of Spanish. This means that they look alike—like intelligent and inteligente—or identical—such as “familiar” or “fundamental.”
4. Devotional texts are written in short verses. So, studying the bible in Spanish means you can design short, medium, and long-term goals.
Recommended reading: 200 Christian Spanish Words
Get Motivated First
As a fellow language learner let me recommend something really powerful: get motivated first!
Let your brain know that you are good at this, that your pronunciation is good, and that your retention is great.
How do you do this? Watch the video Learn Spanish Through Bible and start by saying basic words and phrases such as:
- Holy Bible – la Santa Biblia
- Old Testament – antiguo testamento
- New Testament – nuevo testamento
Listen carefully and try to imitate the phonetics. Increase the speed gradually but consistently until it sounds natural.
How to Choose a Spanish Bible
Some translations of the Bible are more suitable to Spanish students than Bible students and are easier to read and learn from. Check out the following key Spanish versions of the Bible. I ordered them from simplest to most complex.
1. The Bilingual Toddler’s Bible
Beginning Spanish learners should consider starting off their language journeys here. Of all of the books of the Bible in Spanish, this is one of the easiest.
This book covers the main characters and events of the Bible. It serves as a bite-sized introduction to the Bible in Spanish for you and your kids.
The Bilingual Toddler’s Bible has over 100 simple stories in Spanish and English and it’s great for those who want to become bilingual as a family.
Hand-picked for you: 40+ Bilingual Homeschooling Resources for Your Family
2. New Life Bilingual Bible
Some learners prefer bilingual books so they can see what they are reading both in Spanish and English at the same time. If you are in that pool, the Nueva Vida Biblia Bilingüe – New Life Bilingual Bible is for you.
This holy book has 850 vocabulary words so that you can learn the language. It’s ideal for beginners looking to learn basic vocabulary words and grammar structure.
I like this version because it is not complex but has a descriptive language. If you like literature that transports you to another place by describing the atmosphere and settings, you will enjoy this Bible in Spanish. It is best for an intermediate learner.
3. Reina Valera
Reina Valera is the classic Spanish translation of the holy book. It was first printed in 1569 and was formerly known as the Biblia del Oso (the Bear Bible) because the title page had an image of a bear tasting honey.
The verses are simple and full of vocabulary words that native Spanish-speakers use colloquially. That’s why the Reina Valera Bible in Spanish is one of the best options to read and learn the message.
4. New International Version (NIV)
The New International Version or the Nueva versión internacional (NVI) is the new and original translation of the Bible from the best texts in Aramaiac, Greek, and Hebrew, made by 100 scholars.
Use the Bible searcher to look for specific books of the NVI Bible in Spanish.
5. King James
King James—also known as the authorized version or AV—is the classical translation in English of the Bible. In Spanish, it’s called Biblia del Rey Jacobo (King Jacob’s Bible).
The language Spanish has dialects, idioms, and other forms of speech that differ from country to country, but if you had to separate them in two, they would be the Spanish from Spain and from Latin America.
If you are learning or wish to learn the European version of the language, study the Rey Jacobo Bible in Spanish. Since this Spanish is closer to old Spanish, it is more difficult to read.
Pick Your Favorite Verses, Passages, and Stories
If you have memorized some sections of the Bible in English, I suggest you learn different ones in Spanish so there is no conflict between translations.
PRO TIP: If you choose to memorize the stories, you will be learning Spanish while practicing a skill, focusing your attention, and relating the content to what you already know. This is a brilliant exercise for your mind.
Choose Your Resources
While studying the Bible in Spanish, choose the best resources for you to maximize your process. This depends on your strengths and which of the eight learning styles is yours.
Students who are into words and memorization techniques love using the memory palace method, which is creating a path in your mind and placing objects or words along your way.
You can access it at all times and the more you practice, the easier you remember. Learn how to create a Memory Palace for Spanish learning.
Learn Christian songs that are popular in Hispanic countries. Watch the videos with lyrics and eventually sing them by heart.
Here is a curated list of videos you can use for this purpose—I included an option with Mariachi, the regional music of Mexico, just so you appreciate how other cultures live their faith:
- God is here, as true as the air I breathe (Dios está aquí, tan cierto como el aire que respiro) with lyrics
- You have come to the shore (Tú has venido a la orilla)
- Near you my Lord (Cerca de ti señor – versión mariachi)
- One hour of worship songs (Una hora de cantos de adoración, cantos católicos)
Retype or Rewrite
If you’re a visual learner, this method is for you. Practice dividing the verses of the Bible in Spanish into small chunks and then rewrite or retype them in your computer.
If you do not aim to memorize word by word or are not there yet, start with key words and eventually move on to conjunctions and pronouns.
Enjoy the Benefits of Studying the Bible in Spanish
As you can see, you benefit in multiple ways from reading and studying the Bible in Spanish. Get to the next level by improving your conversation skills in Spanish!
Learning Spanish is a fabulous idea. Many Catholic texts, analyses, forums, and sites are in this language since the Spaniards are responsible for much of the world’s evangelization. This evangelization came with the teaching of Spanish, so the percentage of people that know it skyrocketed. Today there are 580 million speakers, 41 million in the U.S. alone according to CNN.
If your goal is two get to know more cultures and travel to different countries, this is your chance to enrich all your future trips. You’ll be able to talk to locals while traveling or connecting with others and understand their expressions and idioms easily.
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