Why even Learn Biblical Greek?
Interestingly that was my main question entering “Summer Greek.” It would be nice to study the Bible in its original languages while in ministry but is it really necessary? God’s Word is God’s Word, right? Well to be completely honest with you I’m still on the fence about it. This has easily been the most academically challenging summer of my entire life. I’ve been studying 15 hours a day 7 days a week and sometimes I feel guilty even taking full breaks to eat meals. It might seem like a small price to pay for knowing 80% of the New Testament as it left the hand of Paul or John but I have had to continually remind myself why I’m doing this. What follows are my top 3 reasons for learning Ancient Biblical Greek.
#1 The History:
When Alexander the Great set out to conquer the known world he intentionally introduced the Hellenistic age by forcing all conquered people speak the same language. The New Testament is written in this form of “Koine” (κοινη) Greek. “Koine” just means “Common” because it was the common language used by all people. My Greek textbook encourages me that two major lessons can be taken from this. One, Paul says, “In the fullness of time God sent his son” (Gal 4:4), and part of that fullness was a universally understood language. And second, God uses the common language spoken by all people to communicate the gospel.
#2 The Words:
I believe the greatest hurdle for learning Biblical Greek is also what makes it the most rewarding. Greek words are “fully loaded” meaning they contain more information then we can sometimes translate into English. For example there are roughly 8 different variations of every noun. This may seem like a lot but not compared to the 36 different forms of every verb. These forms are a headache to remember but they also help clarify what the creator of the universe was saying about our eternal salvation. So… there may be some validity in learning them.
#3 The Lost:
I considered naming this section “The Truth” because when it comes to the Bible the truth (or lack there of) can make all the difference but the truth is the Bible has always been for the lost sheep. Paul says in Philippians 1:15-18 that, “some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others… do so out of love… But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Like everything else at seminary I’m realizing it’s a lot less about me and a lot more about Jesus. (Surprise, surprise.) It has been helpful for me to remember that I’m only here because Christ has already freed me from so much pain and emptiness in this life. Additionally He has called me (like all Christians) to offer the opportunity of that same love and healing and fulfillment and joy and salvation to others.
Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…
“All that is gold does not glitter, – Not all those who wander are lost; – The old that is strong does not wither, – Deep roots are not reached by frost. – From the ashes a fire shall be woken, – A light from the shadows shall spring; – Renewed shall be blade that was broken, – The crownless again shall be king.” – Gandalf
(Blaire is reading “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R Tolkien)