After three many years in pastoral ministry, I can consider a number of causes not to review the Bible its authentic languages.
First, I’m not a language whiz. My abilities in Hebrew and Greek are common at finest.
Second, an excellent exegetical commentary will clarify the grammatical and linguistic nuances of the passage I plan to evangelise this Sunday.
Third, I would like extra time to learn theology. Studying Hannah Anderson, James Okay. A. Smith, and Rosaria Butterfield—in addition to Augustine, Chrysostom, and Calvin—will assist me solid a biblical-theological imaginative and prescient for residing as exiles in our secular age.
Fourth, the biblical languages don’t make my pursuit of holiness any simpler. Sadly, I can disobey God’s Phrase in Hebrew and Greek as simply as in English.
All that stated, although, I nonetheless learn my Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testomony daily. And I believe extra pastors ought to do the identical.
Why would I wish to do that? Merely put, it’s an act of affection. As Eugene Peterson noticed, “Exegesis is loving God enough to stop and listen carefully to what he says.” In fact, you may love God deeply and shepherd Christ’s flock successfully with out realizing a lick of Hebrew or Greek. However in case you give your life to preaching and educating Scripture, why not make an effort to review it in its authentic languages?
John Piper exhorts pastors to ponder the thesis of Heinrich Bitzer:
The extra a theologian detaches himself from the essential Hebrew and Greek textual content of Holy Scripture, the extra he detaches himself from the supply of actual theology! And actual theology is the muse of a fruitful and blessed ministry.
By the way in which, I’ve nonetheless carved out time in latest weeks to learn all the authors I cited above. How, then, are you able to keep hitched to your Hebrew and Greek? Is it actually potential in case you are not a language nerd? Sure. Listed below are three suggestions.
1. Spend 20 Minutes a Day
Right here is an important recommendation I can provide: Spend 10 minutes a day in your Hebrew Bible and 10 minutes a day in your Greek Testomony. What J. Gresham Machen stated about studying the Greek Testomony applies to the Hebrew Bible as effectively: “Ten minutes a day is of vastly more value than 70 minutes once a week.”
Fortunately, that is simpler than it sounds. Merely construct one of many 10-minute slots into your sermon preparation and the opposite into your devotional time.
For sermon prep, apply your inductive Bible research abilities to your studying of the textual content in Hebrew or Greek. In case your language abilities are weak, then select a key verse or two somewhat than all the passage. Examine and re-read the textual content each day.
On your devotional time, choose a guide or part of Scripture, and browse for 10 minutes. Use a reader’s version or a Bible software program program that can assist you with vocabulary and parsing. Give your self a number of seconds to establish a phrase or parse a type earlier than you have a look at the reply. It’s tremendous in case you solely get by means of one verse a day—particularly if it’s in Job or Hebrews!
And don’t let trip cease you. Even after I’m fly fishing a distant stretch of river in Yellowstone Nationwide Park, I’ll take a break to sit down by the river and browse Hebrew and Greek on the Logos app in my cellphone.
2. Beef Up These Language Expertise
No matter your talent stage, spend money on an excellent intermediate grammar to evaluation primary ideas and be taught what’s modified in our understanding of the languages because you discovered them in seminary.
For Hebrew, begin with Gary Lengthy’s Grammatical Ideas 101 for Biblical Hebrew (Baker Tutorial, 2013). Then think about investing in A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar by Christo H. J. van der Merwe, Jacobus A. Naude, and Jan H. Kroeze (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017). Each grammars take note of developments in linguistics.
For Greek, I like to recommend Intermediate Greek Grammar by David L. Mathewson and Elodie Ballantine Emig (Baker Tutorial, 2016). The reasons are concise and linguistically smart. This grammar additionally gives a useful entry into verbal side principle—an method that’s changing what you discovered about Greek verbs a pair many years in the past.
In the event you’ve by no means discovered Hebrew or Greek, it’s by no means too late to begin. Discover a good elementary grammar with video lectures. Ask an space pastor or Bible pupil that can assist you discover the precise one. Higher but, ask them to show you.
3. Discover a Studying Companion
Two (or three) is best than one for staying constant in studying the Bible in Hebrew and Greek. Years in the past, after I pastored a church in Montana, I met biweekly with a pastor-friend to learn the Hebrew Bible. In 5 years, we learn fairly a number of psalms and a lot of the guide of Judges. Our occasions collectively offered construction, accountability, and stimulating dialogue.
Lately I observed a wordplay in Philippians Three that even one of the best English translations don’t convey. When Paul says “I press on” to the objective of realizing God (3:12, 14), he makes use of the identical Greek verb (diōkō) he utilized in 3:6 to talk of “persecuting” the church. What a shocking distinction! Paul says, in impact, that he now pursues the information of God with the identical depth he as soon as pursued the church to destroy it.
Extra treasures are ready. So go discover your Hebrew Bible. Mud off your Greek Testomony. Take up and browse! It’s nothing lower than an act of affection for God and his Phrase.