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So I am working on a phrase I want to put on a piece of apparel I am making. The phrase in English has two lines. In English, the lines are as follows:

"The Church must always be reformed" and

"By the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Bible"

How I have the lines translated into Latin right now respectively as:

"Ecclesia semper reformanda" and

"Spiritus Sancti ductu et auctoritate Bibliorum"

Can someone look them over and tell me if that is right and if there are any issues with the grammar or syntax? FYI, I am very much a beginner when it comes to Latin.

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  • I’m a mere beginner in Latin, but I think there’s something missing in each sentence. The first one doesn’t seem to have translated the part “must,” whereas the second one seems to be missing “by the.” I think the second one should be “𝗣𝗲𝗿 Spiritus Sancti…” But that’s only my opinion. Feb 25 at 11:14
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    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I am going to wait for some more feedback before making a decision. But I appreciate your insight nonetheless.
    – Nicholas
    Feb 26 at 16:00
  • Wise course of action, considering I’m just a newbie. Feb 26 at 19:12

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I think that your grammar and syntax are right.

Especially your first line, Ecclesia semper reformanda. This is a classic motto, and it means exactly what you say.

Your second line, Spiritus Sancti ductu et auctoritate Bibliorum is fine as well. Auctoritas is obviously cognate with "authority", but in Latin I think it maybe means something more like the personal influence of one person on another. You might be able to find another word that is, arguably, a better fit for the authority of the Bible.

A couple of alternatives, depending on your aims:

Matthew 7:29 uses uses potestas as in Erat enim docens eos sicut potestatem habens, et non sicut scribae for "he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes".

You could object to the vagueness of potestas, which can mean any kind of power or capability, and not just "authority". Such vagueness could be a feature in certain contexts, and a bug in others. A Latin word meaning "teaching authority" is magisterium, and it might make a good fit for your purposes.

The usual word for legal authority is imperium. I'm not sure that's exactly what you're trying to say here, though.

If you decide to go with potestas, magisterium, or imperium, be sure to put them in the ablative like you've already done with auctoritate: potestate, or magisterio, or imperio.

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    Thanks a TON for your input and informative answer. After looking at the alternative words you suggested I think what best fits what I am going for is "Magisterio" so after making the edit the final phasing would come out to "Spiritus Sancti ductu et magisterio Bibliorum". I really appreciate the assistance.
    – Nicholas
    Mar 1 at 22:16

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