Miles Van Pelt on the Biblical Languages

The folks over at the Koinonia blog posted a video of MIles Van Pelt (co author of the Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar text book) where he talks about the importance of learning the biblical languages.  

What got me in this video is his comments about how for him learning and studying the biblical languages is an act of worship (though I tend to think his marriage analogy may be too much – I tend to make the comparison between a black and white TV as compared to color – the difference is pretty significant).

Mark Stevens offers his thoughts and I agree completely that often times the expectations placed on busy pastors to know Greek and Hebrew can be too much – though I might suggest that instead of getting into the text every day, which as Mark notes, for some can be a challenge, just try to get into it a a couple days a week and for sure when doing sermon prep look at the original text as much as possible to keep yourself engaging the original languages.

Let me know what you think. Should study of the biblical languages be seen as an act of worship unto God? Could one man’s act of worship to God be another man’s idolatry?

What say you?


5 responses to “Miles Van Pelt on the Biblical Languages

  1. Well,

    I have been trying to decide whether or not to teach the older children in the children’s ministry biblical greek. I think I will ask if they would like to learn it.

  2. Maybe I’m reading too much into what he’s saying but I was thinking that he meant that studying the biblical languages so that you can read them then is an act of worship. It’s the end result, not the studying itself. Maybe not. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and not call him a bibliolatrist.

    I really liked how he said work at it at least a little every day and don’t give up. That’s what I’m doing.

  3. I didn’t mention it it my post but I catch up on my Greek when I do my exegesis. It is the only hope I have. It would be nice to perhaps take a week or two out of the year to refresh my Hebrew and Greek, but realistically, it is never going to happen!

    The worship point was a good one although, i agree with you Brian – The marriage metaphor got a little bit creepy! 😉

  4. I think acts of worship should be seen as acts of worship however they manifest themselves. I’m sure there’s any number of secular scholars who have studied or do study the languages of the Bible as a purely academic exercise. So then, studying Biblical languages is not in and of itself an act of worship.

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