Greek; Enhancement or hinderance?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by av1611jim, Jan 6, 2005.

  1. av1611jim

    av1611jim
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    I am starting this thread as a springboard from another thread.
    The thought/assertion keeps popping up that one can greatly enhance one's understanding of Scripture by learning Greek. I submit that that assertion/assumption is not necessarily true.
    This is your chance guys. Prove it. The gauntlet is laid. Show us "poor uneducated hillbillys" how much we have been missing, ok?
    This is NOT a flame. I simply want to see the proof for these claims.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  2. ScottEmerson

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    Simple: Education is better than ignorance.
     
  3. DavidFWhite3

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    Agreed. But would be more specific. Knowledge is better than ignorance. I know a lot of people who have the formal education, and seem to not have learned, or chosen not to have learned, anything that challenges their preconceived notions.

    Our freind who started this post has made it clear on other threads he rejects knowledge that might cause him to rethink his positions. But he deserves an answer.

    The facts are, and they are facts that cannot be changed, is that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. Greek is a very specific language. English is not. Knowing the meaning of specific Greek words, such as love, helps us in our efforts to interpret the various translations correctly. If we do not know the meaning of words the NT writers chose to use, how do we know we are properly understanding the text?

    One last thought. It seems some are offended at the efforts of others to teach them, when it is clear that instruction, based upon knowledge is neccessary. Sad for them. They will perpetuate ignorance in their zeal, doing immeasurable damamge in their wake. Worse is the intentional disregard of one of the Proverbs simplest injunctions,which is to get knowledge.
     
  4. Logos1560

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    Jim, are you implying that the early English translators including the KJV translators
    did not enhance their understanding of the Scriptures by learning Greek?

    KJV translator John Rainolds "urged study of
    the word of God in the Hebrew and Greek, 'not out of the books of translation'" (Paine, MEN BEHIND THE KJV, p. 84). Lancelot Andrewes, a leading KJV translator, wrote: "Look to the original, as, for the New Testament, the Greek text; for the Old, the Hebrew" (PATTERN OF CATECHISTICAL DOCTRINE, p. 59). In his preface to his 1537 New Testament, William Tyndale wrote: "I had taken in hand to look over the New Testament again, and to compare it with the Greek, and to mend whatsoever I could find amiss." Tyndale was in effect the primary or principal translator of the KJV since
    much of his translating remains in the KJV.

    In his 1583 book that defended the view of Bible translation held by the early English translators, Puritan William Fulke (1538-1589)
    wrote: "We say indeed, that by the Greek text of the New Testament all translations of the New Testament must be tried" (DEFENCE OF THE SINCERE AND TRUE TRANSLATIONS OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES INTO THE ENGLISH TONGUE, p. 44). In the preface of
    another book, Fulke wrote: "The dissension of interpreters [word used by Fulke and the KJV
    translators for translators] must be decided by the original Greek" (CONFUTATION OF THE RHEMISH TESTAMENT, p. 26).
     
  5. Johnv

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    Example 1 - We all know that scripture is "God breathed". How do we know this? English scripture translations don't say that. We know this because we understand that the word in Greek (translated "inspired") contextualy means "God-breathed".

    Example 2 - Jesus' dialogue with Peter on "Do you love me?" In the English alone, it's impossible to comprehend the meaning of what Jesus is trying to say to Peter. In the Greek, we get the full picture. Jesus askes "Do you agape (love unconditionally) me? Peter replies "I phileo (love as a brother) you. Peter didn't get it, and so Jesus asks again, and Peter replies again. Finally, Jesus lowers himself to Peter's level of comprehension, and asks, "Do you phileo (love as a brother) me? Peter replies firmly "yes". When reading the passage in English alone, one does not comprehend the full scope of the dialogue that Jesus is having with Peter.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Interestingly enough, one of the few if not the only literal translations of this is the NIV. So much for that foolishness that the NIV is a bad, horrible translation. It translates this verse literally.

    Your John 21 explanation is suspect. It is well known that the distinctions between agape and phileo are not hard and fast and at times they are interchangeable. The Bible doesn't say that Peter was grieved becasue he was using different words. The Bible says Peter was grieved because it happened three times. In other words, the scriputral testimony has nothing to do with the words in question, but rather with three times it happened. Your position is a very common preaching point; it just isn't the point of hte text.
     
  7. Johnv

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    Peter was grieved because he saw Jesus as simply repeating himself, Jesus was repeating himself because Peter wasn't hearing what Jesus was asking. The Greek is clear that, after Jesus changes his verbage, and asks Peter if he loves (phileo) him, using the same word that Peter was using, does the questioning stop. That's significant, and that significance is lost in the translation to English. Even if your presumption about phileo and agape are correct, the fact that Jesus changes his verbage here when he does is significant, and that significance is lost in the English.

    Excellent point on the "God-breathed" issue and the NIV.

    [ January 06, 2005, 01:46 PM: Message edited by: Johnv ]
     
  8. IveyLeaguer

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    Jim,

    I'll leave the debating to others but you pose an important question, IMO. Here's my take:

    It isn't necessary to take a course or learn Greek and Hebrew for the Christian to gain an accurate knowledge of the scriptures, provided he is willing to use Strong's, Vine's, and perhaps a few other reference books, to look up the words.

    The KJV, ESV and NASB are all reliable translations that communicate the infallible, inspired Word of God. Nevertheless, the difficulties of translating the original manuscripts into English should be addressed by the serious Christian. Although not inspired or infallible, God has provided us with wonderful tools to do just that.

    Further, God did not write scripture with the highly educated in mind. He wrote it to the ordinary person, in an ordinary way. Nowhere is education more overrated than in Christianity - education can help, but it can also hurt. The things of God are spiritually discerned and some of the most knowledgeable and mature Christians are people with little or no education who are simply willing to look something up in a book.
     
  9. av1611jim

    av1611jim
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    -------------------------------------------------

    Many things you bring to the discussion I can agree with. One that I cannot is this notion that the "serious christian" cannot be sufficiently equipped using just his Bible and maybe a dictionary. If that assertion were true, then perhaps you would be willing to say Dwight Moody was not a serious cristian? It is said that the only books he referenced were the Bible and a dictionary. And yet, just look at his work!

    Personally, I have and use Strong's, Cruden's, Webster's 1828, Adam Clarke's, Walvoord's, Wesley's, Spurgeon's, Darby's, Wycliffe's, Young's, Geneva's, Tyndale,s and others' works in my studies. However, in light of men's work like Moody, I submit these are not necessary while they are at the same time, sometimes useful.
    I realize that seems to be a conundrum but...there ya go!

    As for the over emphasis of education and its potential for harm...I offer my hearty AMEN! Your last comment is what brought to mind Mr. Moody. After all, the extent of his education was 8th grade. In today's climate that might equal a college degree! :eek: [​IMG]

    In HIS service;
    Jim

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  10. Johnv

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    True, but scripture was written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, not English, which is why it behooves each person to have basic understanding of those languages. The best that a person can do when studying a translation is to understand the translation. Even Jim has said that he uses a strong's concordance. Strong's references the definition of the original language (though it lacks the contextual usage). So, even though Jim doesn't think it important to study the Greek, he's studying the Greek.
     
  11. av1611jim

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    Ummm...Johnv?
    I use Strong's as a concordance. I ignore the greek stuff. So, even though you would like to think I am studying the Greek, I am not. I had my fill in Bible Institute. If I remember correctly, our textbook was by Machen. (sp)

    Anyhoo, Johnv, you missed!

    (Everytime I respond to you I can't help remebering someone once commenting that you and I reminded him of the "Sons of Thunder!" I always get a kick out of that thought.) [​IMG]

    Now, would you apply your "the best that a person can do..." statement to Mr. Moody? Seems like his work speaks for itself.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  12. av1611jim

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  13. av1611jim

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  14. av1611jim

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    OOPS! I hit, quote instead of edit. Sorry. I wanted to add that Machen's textbook is still in my library gathering dust.

    [​IMG]
    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  15. mioque

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    "He wrote it to the ordinary person, in an ordinary way."
    "
    He did? All of it was written in an age when illiteracy was the norm.
    On top of that, even the most recent texts in the Bible are 19 centuries old and the cultural gap between early 21st century Western Civilization and the different Biblical civilizations is significant.
     
  16. gb93433

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    The way into any culture is through the language. When you learn the language you also learn the nuances of the meaning of words in their context. If one studies Hebrew and Greek he will notice that a large percentage of the structure in the NT follows a Hebrew pattern written in Greek. It is much like what a person would do who is from another country learning English.
     
  17. av1611jim

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    gb;
    Well that only makes sense since the writers of the NT were Hebrews. Naturally then their style and structure would be Hebraic. But the Bible is not for any one or two cultures. It is transcultural therefore, once again, this argument falls flat, IMO.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  18. Karen

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  19. av1611jim

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    Karen. AMEN! One more voice of reason. Thank you.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  20. av1611jim

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    David says, "Our freind who started this post has made it clear on other threads he rejects knowledge that might cause him to rethink his positions."
    _________________________________________________

    This may be your perception of me. Perhaps it is because of my less than expert ability to communicate. But, I must reply. Your comment is just not true.
    I do not reject knowledge that might cause me to rethink my positions. I have changed my positions a few times in my 25 years of being saved. The biggest was from Pentecostalism. Next would be from works to grace. Next would be from ecumenicalism to Baptist. There are others I won't go into. (Hopefully to avoid some "clown" hijacking my comments and making them to say what I do not intend them to say. Hence the need to derail in order to explain a little better.)

    Nevertheless. Thank you for your input.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     

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