Discussing
Can you read the Bible in Greek or Hebrew?

Andy Rau

Linkerjpatrick
September 17, 2008

This is one of the things I have desired the most as a church going Christian. It's always kind of bothered me that we have had to depend on pastors to say, "In the original Hebrew" or "In the original Greek." I have yearned for a Sunday school class to be a real school of learning things that are normally reserved for seminary. It's almost as if there is a touch of the pre-reformation and Gutenburg press days when only the priests and monks had written scriptures. I wish at least some basic words, etc. could be taught like the way the young of the Jewish faith are taught in the original language.

David Ker
September 17, 2008

I just wrote a post this morning about how <a href="http://lingamish.com/2008/09/17/learning-hebrew-backwards/" rel="nofollow">I'm studying Hebrew</a>. And I've ranted extensively about the awful things we force students of Biblical languages to do. Personally, in using Greek, I've come full circle. I started studying Greek to understand the original message better. But these days I find that it is more profitable to study what experts have concluded the original says. And that is found in comparing a variety of translations. Where there is no difference you can be confident of the meaning. Where there is a difference, it tells you that there are different ways of interpreting the original. Personally, I read the CEV devotionally and I use a variety of tools including Greek when I'm doing in depth study. I"m pleased to see that singing is being used more in Greek and Hebrew instruction. I'd also like to see more multimedia and comic books used as well as developing basic conversation skills.

Keith Williams
September 17, 2008

I've studied both languages at Bible college and grad school (including some Hebrew with John Walton at Wheaton College Grad School). <br><br>I just don't think too many American Christians are willing to invest the time to learn an ancient language, especially with so many good English Bible translations available. Even those who are interested, the challenge of having a qualified teacher available is another significant factor. I really think it is better to know nothing of Greek and Hebrew at all than to know just enough to stumble through the original languages and walk away with false conclusions based on a poor understanding of how languages (and G&amp;H in particular) work.<br><br>That said, I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to teach Greek and Hebrew to interested people in my church.

Kevin M.
September 17, 2008

As a pastor, I definitely think it is a good idea to study the original languages. Is it necessary to understanding the Bile? No. Is it beneficial? Yes.

Tim Coleman
September 18, 2008

I am one of little worldly education, certainly never attended college or seminary. That said as my hunger to serve grew I was compeled to dig deep for clearity, depth and weight. As a man that loves the Lord it was the least I could do.<br>My walk and ability to serve others will never be the same! It was not an option for me. <br><br>I would love to Golf like Tiger Woods, However, like with G/H Tiger had to learn the meaning of basic's to apply his knowlege in daily application.

Steven Koster
September 18, 2008

Once upon a time, I started learning Greek because the class was convenient and I was curious about the scriptures. That was part of my path to seminary, where I studied both Greek and Hebrew intensively enough to pass a cold-reading translation exam. <br><br>It was a lot of work to get there, but work I affirm as necessary for pastors who are professional readers of the text. I think some facility in the languages is necessary if your job is exegesis for others. <br><br>But there are many new textual aids available now for both pastors and laypeople. Not only software tools (I use Libronix), but simple inter-linear and reverse-interlienar Bibles. An inter-linear alone can clarify a word or concept that is otherwise obscured in the English translation. <br><br>There are dangers, of course, from reading too much into an idiom of another language to a vague arrogance about being able to read the text better than anyone else. Nevertheless, the additional insight is well worth the risks.

John
September 18, 2008

What a wonderful thing to do, so where do I sign up. Trying to study a language alone is very time comsuming, but with someone else you have someone to practise with. I think I'll see if my wife would like to start something like that. Thanks in God's Grace John

Lee Owens
September 18, 2008

Yes! As a seminary student at Dallas Theological, I've completed the 2 years of Hebrew and 2.5 years of Greek. While I don't routinely use the original languages, I do understand how they work which gives me a leg up when someone says '... well your Bible might say this but in the original... '. For those without language study I would recommend the NET Bible (<a href="http://next.bible.org" rel="nofollow">next.bible.org</a>) which has the advantage of having extensive notes from the translators giving other options and explaining their reasoning (whether you agree or disagree with their translation).

Hishtafel
September 18, 2008

I've got a BA in linguistics and a seminary degree, so between them I've spent quite a bit of time studying Greek and Hebrew. As a linguist, I am fascinated every time I come across an idiom or a play on words or evidence of language change in the text... my favorite is when I can spot a NT writer "thinking in Hebrew." I don't think this is really of any spiritual value, but it's fun. As far as actual spiritual benefits go, I think the biggest is that knowing the original languages leads to a fuller understanding of the poetry in the Bible. <br><br>~Q

Rich
September 19, 2008

I'm all for the "basic-level introductory class" idea! I've taken an Greek extension class out of Fuller (from my pastor at the time), and I feel I've significantly benefited from it. By now, my skill in Greek is lessened, probably to the level of a very introductory class of the kind you describe--and that is still helpful, especially when supported by resources like Blue Letter Bible (<a href="http://www.blueletterbible.org/)" rel="nofollow">http://www.blueletterbible.org...</a>. Many thanks for your post--I wonder if a few of our high school students might be interested... (I've been a youth ministry volunteer at our church for a number of years).

SiarlysJenkins
September 19, 2008

When it comes to the Old Testament, there is no better expert than a Jewish Talmudic scholar who has spent 40 years studying the original Hebrew. Watch out for the Greek! Example, from the Greek, through Latin into English, one gets the idea that Jeptha burned his daughter as a sacrifice on the altar. I casually asked a rabbi how this could be acceptable to God, centuries after Abraham was told NOT to sacrifice Isaac. He was shocked - totally unaware that Christians had such a perverted understanding. Turns out, a Hebrew word meaning "elevate" (to the service of God) had been translated into a Greek word specifically meaning a burnt offering! And if you look at the English with that understanding, it makes more sense: his daughter wanted time to bewail her virginity, that is, she would never marry, not her imminent death by fire.

SiarlysJenkins
September 19, 2008

It is not necessary to understand the basics of what God expects of us, personally, but it is necessary to understanding the Bible. Example: I am informed by an expert in Hebrew that the woman (isha) was made from the SIDE (tzela) of the Adam, not from the rib of the man, and that when one side of the Adam was removed, what remained was the man (ish). So, the Adam, made in the image of God, was separated into ish and isha. You don't get that understanding from reading English. Translators inevitably misunderstand a lot.

Jesse Soza
September 20, 2008

FOR YEARS I AND MY WIFE HAD BEEN GIVING (FREE OF CHARGE) A BASIC HEBREW COURSE IN WEST AND CENTRAL TEXAS . IT IS AMAZING SEEING THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK - PEOPLE ACTUALLY ENJOYING THEMSELVES IN A MONTH LONG COURSE. ALL HAVE CERTIFIED AS COMPLETED THIS COURSE. EVERYONE FROM A 8 YEAR WHO THE MOM DIDN'T A BABY SEATER FOR TO A LOVELY 89 YR OLD WHO HAD SAID YOU CAN'T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS. ITS TRULY AMAZING WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT TURNS ON A LIGHT BULB INSIDE A PERSON'S BRAIN - YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE LIGHT STREAMING OUT-----JESSE AND MARY SOZA,ODESSA TX

Preston Nettles
December 8, 2008

I would love to learn how to read the Hebrew Bible

Preston Nettles
December 8, 2008

In the KJV Bible it says that it is the Holy Ghost not the Holy Spirit if yopu ask me I say that any new translation is wrong just look at the Niv It calls satan the morning star in Is14:12 but in rev2216 Jesus calls himself the morning star compare the kJV and the NIV you wil see it is wrong.

Steven Koster
December 9, 2008

Preston, I'm not sure what you're after, but this is precisely where the original languages are handy. <br><br>The Greek word "pneuma" means, depending on context, spirit, breath, life, wind, ghost/apparition. It's very much like the Hebrew work "ruach," also meaning wind, breath, or spirit. Both get at the Ancient Near Eastern concept of moving air (breath) being life being life itself. When your breath leaves your body, your spirit is gone. <br><br>Ghost is probably the weakest translation for what the Holy Spirit is and does, since it implies some sort of visible apparition. <br><br>As for the Morning star, you can't blame the confusion on the NIV being wrong since the original languages are a bit muddled themselves. <br><br>Isaiah refers to the king of Babylon as “Day Star, son of Dawn” in Isa. 14:12. In Hebrew that's hêlēl, meaning "the shining one" or "the light-bearer" which is something of a play on words between "to shine" and "to be boastful." Combined with "Son of the Dawn" it's a reference to the planet Venus as the morning star. "Lucifer" is a Latinization of 'light-bearer,' which didn't become a synonym for Satan till the middle ages. So it seems to have some negative connotation, which Jesus might have been using when he spoke of Satan falling from Heaven in Luke 10:18. <br><br>But a "star" is also a messianic syumbol, and used in the NT mostly for Christ. 2 Peter 1:19 uses the word phōsphóros, which also means "light-beaerer" and is combined with the coming of the dawn, but the context gives it a positive sense. Rev 2:28 refers to the "Star of the Morning" (astera ton proinion). In Rev 22:16 Jesus says he is "the bright morning star" (aster lampos proinios). These likely connect back to Numbers 24:17 "There shall come a Star out of Jacob" (derek cocav m'yakob) as a messianic prophecy. <br><br>So my take is that the "morning star" symbol is used differently, depending on context. In either case, both the KJV and the NIV are making estimates in their translations. Again, the KJV offers the weaker translation in that 'lucifer' isn't a name, but a description (and in Latin). <br>

Raymond NG
October 20, 2009

In our Messianic congregation here in Hawaii, we have decided to do 3 things:<br> 1. Learn Hebrew<br> 2. Blow the Shofar<br> 3. Dance before Adonai.<br><br>Jews and Gentiles, one in Yeshua, our Messiah, really bless our Father's heart. Embracing the Nation of Isra'el, reconciling with our Jewish brothers, praying for the peace of Yerushalayim and satisfying our Father's heart by practicing love in the Body of Yeshua is G-d's End-time Ministry for all of us...<br><br>raymond ng

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