QOTD: Moisés Silva on learning the biblical languages

Quite possibly the most significant benefit of acquiring a knowledge of the biblical languages is intangible. Most of us are conditioned to think that nothing is truly valuable that does not have an immediate and concrete payoff, but a little reflection dispels that illusion. Consider the teaching we all received from birth. Has most of it been immediately rewarding? We are simply not conscious of how deeply we have been molded by countless experiences that affect our perspective, our thinking, our decisions. Similarly, a measure of proficiency in the biblical languages provides the framework that promotes responsibility in the handling of the text. Continued exposure to the original text expands our horizon and furnishes us with a fresh and more authentic perspective than that which we bring from our modern, English-speaking situation.

Moisés Silva, God, Language and Scripture, page 278.

I come from a faith tradition that is in desperate need to get this deeply rooted into their understanding.  In my tradition, its not the biblical languages they want to know but the language of the Spirit (I’ve never heard anyone actually say this but it is the gist of it).  Its a false dichotomy really.  Many pastors just do not see the value of learning Greek or Hebrew.  They say they are too busy or they do not see the relevance of it for their ministry.  My concern is how can they not?  I say a good pastor to teaches the Bible in some capacity in the church should at the very least know how to use the tools, if not as one of my professors in seminary encouraged his students “know what you need to know so you can know what you need to know.” Would it be great if the average pastor could sight read from the Greek and Hebrew? Well, yeah!  Sure!  Will it happen, I doubt it.  But is it unrealistic to think the average pastor could have some degree of humility to at least “have a measure of proficiency” in the languages?  No, I don’t think that is an unrealistic expectation.

Food for thought: you can learn just about anything you want in 15 minutes a day….

Here is one place to get a “dose of Greek” a day (2 minutes, just 2 stinkin minutes..”


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