I have been immersed in the study of the Greek language for the past year and, by God’s grace, I will continue to be immersed in it over the years. In light of that, here’s a few short non-technical thoughts about what I have learned outside of parsing words, verbal roots, and examining sentence structure.
- Greek, just like any other language, isn’t something you master after reading a textbook or hearing lectures. It takes time. A long time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
- Because biblical Greek is just that–biblical–the goal is not to master it. Read that again. If my identity is in learning a language, even an important one, I will be severely dissatisfied The point of studying a biblical language, just like any other spiritual discipline, is to be mastered by the Master. Greek isn’t an end in itself. It is a means to being conformed into Jesus’ image.
- Greek scholars are smart. I appreciate their hard work, devotion, and endurance in their translating and teaching.
- Leap-frogging from that, your New Testament–ESV, NIV, TNIV, NASB, NLT–is highly reliable (your Old Testament is reliable as well, don’t worry). So, don’t be that guy or gal in a Bible study that says, “Well, the Greek really says…” There may be some nuances here and there that should be emphasized. Yes, we can draw out things in preaching and teaching to give a richer sense. But by and large, the Bible within arms reach of you right now is gift. Enjoy it.
- One more leap: because this is true (#4), be thankful if you have a Bible in your own language. What a grace of God that people can read the Bible in their own language and do not have to rely on “experts” to do it for them! That should elicit worship and awe in our hearts to God.
- Greek is beautiful and you can learn it. Audit a class at your local Bible college or seminary. If you like learning at your own pace, try out the new Bible Mesh Biblical Languages courses (they offer Greek and Hebrew). If you are in the Omaha or Lincoln area, check out Miqra, where I took my classes.