can A person be A "true Bible Scholar" W/o Greek/Hebrew?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JesusFan, May 18, 2011.

  1. JesusFan

    JesusFan
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    is it true that for one to be considered to be really a student of the Bible, would require at least a "working knowledge" of the Greek/Hebrew used to record original manuscripts in by God?

    Just asking, as I have heard it both ways...

    To get "real meat" of the Word reqquires to know some of the original languages, at least enough to use bible tools of them

    Also heard that unless you become proficent in them, better to have a good English version and use good study techniques!

    well?
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    Are you asking about being a "true biblical scholar" or being a good "student of the Bible?"

    There is an ocean of difference between the two positions.

    A true biblical scholar (academically) is someone who devotes their entire lives to the study of specific areas of research concerning biblical thought. They engage in laborious research that utilizes difference disciplines of thought to develop points of articulation concerning aspects of their field of study. Individuals at this level develop and make arguments about points of biblical studies.

    A good student of Bible is often a phrase used for a person who devotes much of their free time to reading scholarship and acquainting themselves with discussions and topics concerning points of their study. Individuals at this level read points made by people who research and write about their particular topics.

    I'm curious to see which one you desire to know more about. This is a good question (as most of your questions are) and probably will provoke a lot of conversation.
     
  3. glfredrick

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    No... :wavey:
     
  4. The Archangel

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    No. It is not possible to be a biblical scholar without knowing the original languages.

    However, preachinginjesus makes a very good point that should encourage those who are either unable or unwilling to approach study of the original languages.

    It may very well be that we should all desire first to be students of the Bible. Some may go on to be biblical scholars. But, the duty and delight of every believer is to be a student of the Bible. No level of "scholar" can actually be a scholar without first being a student of the Bible. Many so-called biblical scholars (I'm thinking about the vandals of the Jesus Seminar) who are regarded as Bible scholars, but have likely never been students of the Bible.

    True biblical scholarship requires a knowledge of the languages and true biblical scholarship requires being a student of the Bible.

    Having said that, many who can't or won't tackle the languages--as long as they only want to be students of the Bible, which is the most noble pursuit--can amass every translation of the Bible and read a particular passage in every translation. That should help to get deeper into the meaning of the text and it is probably the best one can do without knowledge of the languages.

    The Archangel
     
  5. Jim1999

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    I took both Greek and Hebrew in seminary and seldom used it in over 50 years of ministry. There are enough valid English translations for one to develop theology and biblical apprehension for preaching and teaching.

    Besides, how many in the average congregations knows anything about the languages. Many have enough trouble with English.

    Also, I have read enough abuse of the languages from many who claim to know Greek and Hebrew, yet they display absolute ignorance of the history of the text.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    One important differentiation to make is that most pastors don't qualify as "true Bible scholars." Some do, but most don't. Obviously we can't isolate people into two categories so there are clearly other options.

    Generally most pastors (the ones who last at least) end up being rather good Bible teachers but, generally, not too perceptive on issues confronting biblical scholarship. For instance while Pastor Zeek (nobody around here is named Zeek) can get into commentaries, even technical ones, on the Sermon on the Mount he isn't capable of writing them. He can develop and excellent sermon on, say, where your treasure is and applying it to your life. But he can't get near an academic level in understanding the nuance of certain words or even theological concepts in that passage.

    That's perfectly fine.

    Honestly, most "true Bible scholars" make terrible pastors.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    That would explain Augustine's errors. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  8. The Archangel

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    I wanted to address your last line. I think that, for the most part, this is absolutely true. There are some very notable exceptions, though.

    Men like Mark Dever, Thomas Schreiner, John Piper (though he doesn't consider himself a scholar) are both great pastor/teachers and scholars.

    I've known some very scholarly professors who can teach the intricacies of language and can read English to you from the Greek and the Hebrew--but, they are not necessarily suited to be pastors.

    Having said that, every pastor should aspire to be a pastor/theologian. We should not be happy with a false dichotomy between those who are pastors and those who are theologians. Pastors should aspire to pastor well and to be learned. It is possible to be a biblical scholar and to be a student of the Bible and be a great pastor.

    We should all aspire to such things.

    The Archangel
     
  9. JesusFan

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    Thinking about someone who can study the Bible with best English tools, can read "advanced" commentaries as long as in English, can use to a degree the Greek/hebrew tools, at least those accessable by someone not "skilled" in those languages... can use Bible software like a Gramcord/Logos/Bibleworks to make up "formal education in languages" to a degree...

    just was asking , know need to be fluent in the originial languages to be earning higher/advanced degrees/teaching/authoring books etc...

    But can someone like I described above, myself, be able to discuss these fine nuances on BB regarding Cal/Arm, dispy etc

    Or shouls all of us be living that to the "experts?"
     
  10. glfredrick

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    I know my answer was short and rather flippant to many of you, but it DOES explain Augustine's errors, as well as Jerome's and others down through the ages.

    Unless or until we can process the Bible in the original languages, we will always end up with a deficit answer to difficult questions -- the responses on this board as evidence.

    When one compares the 18 different Greek verb forms with the 6 available English forms, he or she is instantly assured of a deeper and more clear understanding of any particular passage. We simply cannot say some things in English as well as in Greek (or the 9 Hebrew forms) without using a multiplicity of words, which no translation of the text offers. Add to those verb forms the prefix and suffix information contained with both noun and verb that communicate number, gender, Commentaries DO offer that, but how many people are diving deep into biblical commentaries (and doing the work required to assure that the commentary writer is accurate, honest, and not writing to some a priori presupposition not in line with a purely biblical theology) for their information?

    Very nice chart for Hebrew verbs here:
    http://www.pbcc.org/dc/hebrew/HebVerbCharts.pdf

    Greek verb chart here:
    http://www.biblicalgreek.org/links/verbchart.php

    For comparison, a simple English verb form chart:
    http://une.education.pour.demain.pagesperso-orange.fr/articlesrrr/sw/images/vtswords.gif

    I see, here on the board, a lot of concordance work, where someone finds a verse with a key word and pastes it in as it that is some answer to some question, but often they miss the mark horribly due to lack of true exegesis skill.
     
  11. preachinjesus

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    Okay, well that clears things up. This isn't a "biblical scholar" so much as one who is educated in Bible studying.

    When we use the term scholar it brings in a whole host of other concepts.

    As for what you've mentioned, if you don't know the languages it'd be hard to use any of the tools you've listed. You need to know the difference between an pluperfect and an imperfect tense. You need to now the difference between dependent and independent clauses. You need to know the difference between the Pual and the Hiphil.

    People who just take up these commentaries and tools without that knowledge are kind of like a pediatrician doing neurosurgery. Sure they'll get some things right, maybe even come to proper conclusions...but its a discipline far beyond their reach and sooner or later they're gonna mess up.

    I don't know how much fluency is necessary but you need to have an advanced knowledge of the languages to function completely.

    If you're going to be a Bible scholar (again in the academic sense) you definitely need to know Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, German, Latin, French, and maybe some semitic languages to be totally accomplished. You can get away with less...but I wouldn't want to try it.

    As an observation, most of the discussions concerning those matters on the BB is highly uniformed and lacks theological insight and nuance. That's reason number two why I stay away from all their discussions.

    Well the experts are men and women who put pants on one leg at a time (unless its a female Bible scholar in the IBF and that doesn't apply) and eat breakfast you buy on the same aisle of the grocery store. We should all persevere to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. :)
     
    #11 preachinjesus, May 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2011
  12. Skandelon

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    I agree, which is why I have so much respect for scholars like Adam Clarke, a true linguistic genius.
     
  13. JesusFan

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    thankfully, MUCH of what the Bible teaches to us is accessable by even we who are not fully vested in the "scholarly" pursuits...
    Do appreciate those among us who are, as they do contribute to the discussions, as able to see in the texts things not caught by just English versions, but would have to say that sometimes it seems God can get glory from, and use more for his work, someone fully commited to Him, and who daily habits include prayers/study, and mindset to serve the Lord...

    have to have a balance life in Christ, as there are MANY who are "smart" in greek/Hebrew, know Biblical facts etc but are "fools", being liberal and even at times heretical in teir teachings and beliefs!
     
  14. John of Japan

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    What is missing so far in this discussion is the doctrine of inspiration. The Word of God was inspired in the original languages. Thus the original languages are the court of final authority. With no resort to the original languages, we have no final authority.

    Again, what is missing is a solid definition of "scholar," though a couple of posters have come close. First of all, note that the old meaning of the word is one who studies. Thus in the 19th century students were called scholars, even in grade school. This appears to be the meaning meant in the OP. If so, then yes, a person can be a deep student of the Word of God without the original languages. There have been a number of men in the past famous for this, such as Charles Fuller, the evangelist founder of Fuller seminary.

    Having said that, the definition given "scholar" in the 21st century church is usually someone who is learned in a certain area of Biblical studies. With that definition, considering the inspiration of the Bible in the original langauges, I don't see how someone could be a real scholar without knowing the original languages.
     
  15. Winman

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    Being a true scholar is a great advantage, but does not guarantee a man has a better undertanding of scripture. That this is so is shown by Apollos in Acts 18:24-28. The scriptures say Apollos was an eloquent man, and "mighty in the scriptures", but he knew only the baptism of John.

    Verse 26 tells us that Aquila and Priscilla heard him, and took him unto them, and "expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly".

    So, although Apollos was a great scholar, he needed to be taught by Aquila and Priscilla who were of lesser ability in scholarship, but had a more perfect understanding of scripture.

    That said, once Apollos was instructed, vs. 29-30 says he was a great help to the disciples in Achaia, and that he "mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ".

    So, scholarship and spiritual understanding are not the same, but scholarship is a mighty advantage to someone with spiritual discernment.
     
  16. gb93433

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    The problem is that mastery of a language goers far beyond knowing a word in another language that may best translate a word in the source language. Words are written in a cultural and in that culture they have a particular meaning that may not have any meaning in our American world today. That is the reason why it is so important to see how words are used in many texts and not just simply use its dictionary meaning.
     
  17. percho

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    What language does the Holy Spirit teach in?
     
  18. gb93433

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    That would depend on the obedience level of the person. Some understand nothing because they are ever learning and never come to a knowledge of the truth.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    All languages. But He inspired the Word in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, so it logically follows that He has at least an emphasis on the original in those languages.

    I'm not one who believes translation to be impossible. (See my article on the subject here: http://paroikosmissionarykid.blogspot.com/search/label/Bible translation) However, the fact remains that there are nuances in the original that are difficult to get into the target language. For example, the perfect tense is particularly difficult to get into Japanese, and Chinese does not even have verb tenses. (Time for a verb is shown by an auxiliary word.)
     
  20. HankD

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    All true Winman.

    However Apollos understanding was truncated because he did not have the completed Scripture.

    Neither did Aquila and Priscilla, but what they had was more than Apollos.

    Today we have the complete Revelation of God along with the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    IMO, wisdom from God is of a higher order than any education or scholarship attained from human resource.

    That is not to say that education/scholarship and the wisdom from God are mutually exclusive.

    James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    HankD​
     

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