Bringing the Text to Life

Untranslatable Joy Mark 16:1-8

Untranslatable Joy

Joy is the default emotion of the Christian life.

At a Glance

Sometimes, we experience emotions for which there is no English word. In such a case, we need to turn to other languages for a word that captures the nuance we're seeking. In our search, we may encounter words like gigil or mbuki-mvuki, for example. But we're still looking for a word that describes the untranslatable joy that floods our souls with the knowledge that Jesus, who was dead, is alive and lives for evermore.

Editors' Pick

For material based on today's epistle text, see "The Big Empty," April 12, 2009, at


Have you ever looked at someone you especially love and cherish and felt that? Gigil is a Tagalog word (a language of the Philippines) that describes the irresistible urge to pinch or squeeze someone because they are loved or cherished, and there's no equivalent word in English that describes that emotion.

This is where we're going -- emotions for which our language, English, provides no help. Perhaps like the emotion we feel on...

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