One of the things I learnt at Bible college was New Testament Greek (I did a year of Hebrew but I really didn’t learn it!). One of the questions that gets thrown around between pastors that I meet is “Are you still using your Greek/Hebrew when you prepare sermons?”. To our shame the answer is usually no.
I read this quote by John Wesley on a blog by Ray Ortlund:
“Do I understand Greek and Hebrew? Otherwise, how can I undertake, as every Minister does, not only to explain books which are written therein but to defend them against all opponents? Am I not at the mercy of everyone who does understand, or even pretends to understand, the original? For which way can I confute his pretense? Do I understand the language of the Old Testament? critically? at all? Can I read into English one of David’s Psalms, or even the first chapter of Genesis? Do I understand the language of the New Testament? Am I a critical master of it? Have I enough of it even to read into English the first chapter of St. Luke? If not, how many years did I spend at school? How many at the University? And what was I doing all those years? Ought not shame to cover my face?”
John Wesley, “An Address to the Clergy,”
Ortlund then finishes the blog by saying:
I do not believe that every minister of the gospel, to be faithful, must know the original languages. But many should and must. It is the standard. Yes, let’s make room for special cases. But they are special cases. And if we have had the privilege of studying the Bible in the original texts, the Lord has given us a stewardship to cultivate, not neglect.
This rebuked me because I find I use the Greek knowledge that I have only when I really have time. But using the Greek will help me with exegesis and it is a privilege Consider this preacher thoroughly rebuked!
Pastor, are you using your Greek/Hebrew that you learnt at college?
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