Is Hebrew or Greek more important?

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Edwin Mendez | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 5 2021 7:00 PM

Hi,

The idea that Greek is more important for exegesis can be a bit misleading. In order to parse out the Paul/James faith/works dilemma, you'll need a hebraic understanding of James, as well as the other non-Pauline epistles. Having that Hebraic background will actually lead you to conclude that James indeed supports Pauline faith/works complement. There are also Aramaic idioms (like the phrase "to divide the word") that only make sense if you have Imperial Aramaic under your belt and have read something like Targum Onkelos and compared with the Masoretic. (Here is a nugget, to "divide a word" in the Targums means to correctly interpret and explain the text.) Murky areas even in the New Testament become forefronted and clear once you are well acquainted with Hebrew and Hebraic thought. The divorce of Hebrew and the Old Testament from the New has been sadly to the detriment of New Testament scholarship, and many in recent years have noticed that and worked to bridge the gap. However mainstream christendom still has scores of years to catch up.

Posts 8005
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 5 2021 7:44 PM

My new take is: If God had intended for us to know OL (Greek or Hebrew) then His word would only be available in those two languages (maybe third language; i.e. Aramaic), but instead He allowed His Word to be translated into several languages which still allows for His Will to be known and allows us to learn what we need to do to be saved.

Important (Greek and Hebrew), yes, in some way; but definitely not essential to salvation.  His Word was preached in multiple languages on Pentecost, that’s proof enough we really don’t need OL or debate which one is more important over the other.

My two extra cents! πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

DAL

Posts 5201
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 5 2021 9:52 PM

Edwin Mendez:
There are also Aramaic idioms (like the phrase "to divide the word") that only make sense if you have Imperial Aramaic under your belt and have read something like Targum Onkelos and compared with the Masoretic. (Here is a nugget, to "divide a word" in the Targums means to correctly interpret and explain the text.)

Pretty sure this is bogus...as in, Rabbinic but not factual. This is one of the rabbis' clubs and Jedi mind tricks used to support their claim to be the final word in interpretation. Ol' George tried to make this argument once a few years back, but I've since encountered evidence that it isn't accurate--don't remember exactly where. I think it was in one of the meatier lexicons, but it might have been a website.

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Posts 5201
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Feb 5 2021 10:06 PM

DAL:
My new take is: If God had intended for us to know OL (Greek or Hebrew) then His word would only be available in those two languages (maybe third language; i.e. Aramaic), but instead He allowed His Word to be translated into several languages which still allows for His Will to be known and allows us to learn what we need to do to be saved.

What exactly would He have to do to keep the apostate Jews from travelling to a land--like, say Egypt--that He explicitly told them over and over again not to return to, since they would fall from their heritage and, for instance, lose complete touch with the language of Mohsheh? Set a k'ruubh with a flashing sword in their path? Or would He just let them have their way? YHWH expressly forbade them from being in the place where the Septuagint was birthed. Think that has no prophetic significance? Think again.

Just because He allows something doesn't imply He condones it, although that's an assumption that gets worn out on a daily basis. Sometimes He even gives folks all the rope they need to hang themselves. Take Greek...some have said YHWH choose to provide the loftier NT in cultured Greek as opposed to unrefined Hebrew. That's pure assumption of a post hoc sort. Few churchmen would ever contemplate that it could be a result of His judgment.

Greek isn't inherently bad, but the LXX and the NT are tainted by it, prophetically speaking. It is, after all, the language of the third iteration of the Beast power. Again, that fact isn't inconsequential. That said, it's also what He gave us, and so we use them (LXX & GNT). People who want to insist the NT was written in Hebrew are like the people who wanted to return and take the land after YHWH judged them unworthy to receive it after rejecting the two witnesses. Should the Jews have stayed out of Egypt? Yes. Was it wrong to forget Hebrew? Yes. But once the line was crossed, Alexander was given his reign, Hellenism spread, and that genie got out of the bottle. Applauding Greek because it's "there" is vacant. So is denigrating Greek because it isn't Hebrew. YHWH chooses to use Greek, yeah. But there's a cost...a massive prophetic cost. In a way, giving the NT in Greek was a judgment because it distanced all mankind from Hebrew for over 2000 years, until just recently. As the Book says, knowledge shall increase. But the NT in Greek is one of many mechanisms that helped seal the book for two whole days, prophetically speaking. There are many prophecies that are only accessible to those who have some original language facility. Saying that none of that is "a salvation issue" is to speak from whole cloth ignorance. It's asserting "l'm okay" when there is no awareness of what isn't known.

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Posts 8005
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 4:56 AM

David Paul:
]

Think that has no prophetic significance? 

No, it doesn’t! And if Hebrew or Greek were so sacred why are you transliterating? You should write things in Hebrew or Greek, not equivalent transliterations which some write one way and others another way.  The fact that scholars have to guess how to pronounce a lot of words in both languages is proof enough that no one is required to know OL.

Do you speak Hebrew or Greek? I’m probably sure you don’t, but even if you did, why preach in English if speaking Hebrew or Greek was so necessary your salvation depended on it?

Knowing Greek or Hebrew might help but is not a must know thing required by God himself for you to be pleasing to Him.

DAL

Posts 5201
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 5:53 AM

Pronunciation can be a problem, like when people call their daughters Havvah (wicked desire) as opposed to Hhavvah (Eve...living one). Saying the name with the guttural throat-clearing initial sound doesn't sound as pretty, but Havvah means what it means. I know 3-4 families that have erred in this way.

Speaking or not speaking Hebrew or Greek isn't the issue. Being unaware what the Hebrew and Greek actually says can be a significant problem. Fluency isn't necessary. Functional facility of a basic sort is. Otherwise, you are dependent upon those who are telling you what it all means, and they may not (and prophetically, probably don't) have the requisite awareness to understand what's going on in the OL. Remember, He said the Book was sealed and concealed, and part of that was effected by the shift from Hebrew to Greek. There's a lot more to it, but it's a real thing.

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Posts 132
DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 7:12 AM

DAL:
Knowing Greek or Hebrew might help but is not a must know thing required by God himself for you to be pleasing to Him.

Conceptually, I'd agree ... but I don't know of any denoms that do, including your own (and my former). If you list out most denom's creeds ('we believe'), most are not to be found in the text, but rather built over-top subsequent greek theologies moved into later 'systematic theologies' for additional help.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 7:36 AM

David Paul:

Pronunciation can be a problem, like when people call their daughters Havvah (wicked desire) as opposed to Hhavvah (Eve...living one). Saying the name with the guttural throat-clearing initial sound doesn't sound as pretty, but Havvah means what it means. I know 3-4 families that have erred in this way.

Stick out tongue I wouldn't know, since when I read that in English and Spanish it doesn't mislead me like it may do in Hebrew Big Smile But when I'm done taking Introduction to Biblical Hebrew 101 by Futato then maybe I'll comment on it or refer to Sebastian Bach (guttural german) as a memory peg Wink

I'm glad God speaks my two languages English and Spanish and so far neither contradicts the other nor the parent languages in what little word studies I do in OL.

שַׁבָּΧͺ Χ©ΦΈΧΧœΧ•ΦΉΧ

DAL

Posts 110
Kristin Dantzler | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 11:28 AM

Since I have undergraduate degrees in Greek and Archaeology, I have a definite bias toward Greek.  My usual first step in NT exegesis is do my own translation of the passage and then compare that translation to my top 5 or so translation.  This process allows me to more fully comprehend the passage and  I only refer to commentaries and monograph after I have fully formulated my thoughts around the passage.

Having said that, I look forward to studying Hebrew to meet the language requirement for my MDIV program.  My bottom line is that I am glad that I studied Greek, including Classical, first but I look forward to being at a place where I can go through this process for passages in both the OT and NT.  I consider the study of both Greek and Hebrew as essential.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 1:58 PM

Kristin Dantzler:

Since I have undergraduate degrees in Greek and Archaeology, I have a definite bias toward Greek.  My usual first step in NT exegesis is do my own translation of the passage and then compare that translation to my top 5 or so translation.  This process allows me to more fully comprehend the passage and  I only refer to commentaries and monograph after I have fully formulated my thoughts around the passage.

Having said that, I look forward to studying Hebrew to meet the language requirement for my MDIV program.  My bottom line is that I am glad that I studied Greek, including Classical, first but I look forward to being at a place where I can go through this process for passages in both the OT and NT.  I consider the study of both Greek and Hebrew as essential.

In your case it’s essential because of your studies, but remember, not every Christian has the means to study OL much less at an undergraduate level.

Bottom line, if you’re in ministry it won’t hurt to know at least the basics of Greek and Hebrew, but if you’re a lay person, then is not required to be well pleasing to God which has been my point all along πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

DAL

Posts 5201
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 2:08 PM

DAL:
Bottom line, if you’re in ministry it won’t hurt to know at least the basics of Greek and Hebrew, but if you’re a lay person, then is not required to be well pleasing to God which has been my point all along

I probably felt the same way when I didn't know Hebrew or Greek, but having learned them to the extent I have, I don't feel comfortable agreeing with that statement any longer. It could be true, in some cases, maybe...but I have doubts. It's not that reading the Bible solely in English or some other non-autograph language is incapable of getting your head where it needs to be, but practically, it just doesn't.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Feb 6 2021 2:36 PM

David Paul:

DAL:
Bottom line, if you’re in ministry it won’t hurt to know at least the basics of Greek and Hebrew, but if you’re a lay person, then is not required to be well pleasing to God which has been my point all along

I probably felt the same way when I didn't know Hebrew or Greek, but having learned them to the extent I have, I don't feel comfortable agreeing with that statement any longer. It could be true, in some cases, maybe...but I have doubts. It's not that reading the Bible solely in English or some other non-autograph language is incapable of getting your head where it needs to be, but practically, it just doesn't.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ My dad became a messianic jew and now all of the sudden we all need to learn Hebrew because that’s the language we’ll speak in the new earth to come πŸ˜‚ Oh well! I still love my dad ♥οΈπŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

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Josh Hunt | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2021 6:46 AM

Is the New Testament or Old Testament more important?

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2021 8:02 AM

Josh Hunt:

Is the New Testament or Old Testament more important?

Both are important and I can read them both in my two languages (English & Spanish) and still be saved without knowing one iota of Greek or an Aleph of Hebrew.  Those who “think” or “feel” they’re essential to be saved couldn’t prove it even if their lives depended on it.

DAL

Posts 2706
mab | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2021 2:58 PM

Josh Hunt:
Is the New Testament or Old Testament more important?

I don't think you can even read the New Testament with any real comprehension without the Old Testament. But OT is a much tougher everything for Christians. I am in the middle of reading a book by Garett that doesn't pull punches about how messed up our grasp is of it.

The mind of man is the mill of God, not to grind chaff, but wheat. Thomas Manton | Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow. Richard Baxter

Posts 5201
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2021 5:16 PM

Josh Hunt:

Is the New Testament or Old Testament more important?

This question has been asked before, and the answer remains the same. If you only had access to one, the OT is the only one that leads to life. It is impossible to comprehend YHWH's will with just the NT. While that is absolutely true, we have them both for a reason.

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2021 6:18 PM

As someone aptly stated: “The OT is the NT concealed and the NT is the OT revealed.” You need both unless your theology is different in which case we’re not supposed to discuss theology here πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 10 2021 6:58 PM

Given that printing anywhere is the world is a eleventh-fifteenth century capability so that most scripture was transmitted aurally in a language known by the lector, I would say that for at least 70% of the history of Christianity and still in areas with low literary rates, the most important language is clearly the language of the lector i.e. usually the language used in worship. This is illustrated by:

All through the nineteenth century the project of establishing the Orthodox faith in American soil was struggling forward, but with the turn of the twentieth, two events knocked the plans askew. The first was the Russian Revolution, which derailed our spiritual mother’s ability to continue the project; the second was the arrival of wave after wave of Orthodox immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, all of whom wanted to start worshipping immediately in their native languages.

Frederica Mathewes-Green, At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy, Second Edition (Ben Lomond, CA: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2008), 118.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Mar 4 2021 6:22 AM

MJ. Smith:

Given that printing anywhere is the world is a eleventh-fifteenth century capability so that most scripture was transmitted aurally in a language known by the lector, I would say that for at least 70% of the history of Christianity and still in areas with low literary rates, the most important language is clearly the language of the lector i.e. usually the language used in worship. This is illustrated by:

All through the nineteenth century the project of establishing the Orthodox faith in American soil was struggling forward, but with the turn of the twentieth, two events knocked the plans askew. The first was the Russian Revolution, which derailed our spiritual mother’s ability to continue the project; the second was the arrival of wave after wave of Orthodox immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Middle East, all of whom wanted to start worshipping immediately in their native languages.

Frederica Mathewes-Green, At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy, Second Edition (Ben Lomond, CA: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2008), 118.


Great response MJ! That settles it πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ Studying OL is good but not a must to be saved.  Why have Pentecost (Acts 2) if everyone is going to be told they need to learn Greek and Hebrew to get it right! 🀦🏻‍♂️
I can’t believe I had not read this! πŸ‘πŸ˜πŸ‘Œ

DAL

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