Greek/Hebrew Requirement

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Dr. Bob, Oct 21, 2004.

  1. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Just reading the course for a full M.Div. program at a leading Baptist seminary.

    They do NOT any longer require Greek or Hebrew.

    IF you do take 6 credits of Greek (a way-to-brief intro that hardly gets feet wet) and 6 credits of Hebrew, your M.Div dilpoma has a seal that says "with biblical languages".

    What is this all about? Is THIS the training you want YOUR pastor to have?

    Thoughts??
     
  2. Paul33

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    I agree Bob. Let's learn the biblical languages. BTW, there are excellent Greek and Hebrew introduction courses that are better than the old way of learning languages.

    I recommend Dr. Randall Buth's Living Biblical Hebrew for Everyone and Living Koine Greek for Everyone.

    Check it out on the net.
     
  3. untangled

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    Hey Dr. Bob and Paul,

    So what's your advice on my situation. Should I go ahead and start the languages? How many hours should I take? Southeastern requires 15 to graduate "with languages". Is it as difficult as it seems?

    In Christ,


    Brooks
     
  4. NateT

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    I absolutely agree.

    I started at SBTS in Louisville this year. As part of the orientation, they broke people off into the different schools. In the theology school, they were talking about the different "tracks." You can take Christian Education, Pastoral, Christian Ministry, Biblical and Theological Studies etc.

    The 2 most enrolled were BTS and Christian Ministry. The BTS requires 6 hours of elementary plus syntax in both Greek and Hebrew and then I think something like 9 hours each for exegesis of books. Like 1 History, 1 Prophets, 1 Wisdom, 1 Gospel, 1 Pauline Epistle, 1 Other.

    I found it fascinating, and heart warming, that it was one of the most enrolled paths here at SBTS (however, a lot of people transfer out of that because of the work load)

    SBTS does offer a MA which requires no languages
     
  5. Paul33

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    untangled,

    Absolutely.

    I had 12 credits of Greek in college, and then took two exegesis courses in seminary.

    I took Hebrew in summer school during seminary, and then an exegisis course.

    I'm reviewing Hebrew now with Buth's courses!
     
  6. Squire Robertsson

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    What an MDiv and no languages???? :eek:
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    I took 8 grammar, 6 syntax and 9 exegesis in Greek undergrad.

    Took 6 advanced Greek grammar (used Robertson's 2500 page grammar - great doorstop) and 6 Hebrew grammar for the MA since I had a Greek minor undergrad.

    NOW, that said, if you go to seminary with NO real language background (Latin or Greek, nothing else is close) then you'd be in for a long haul. Most seminaries have proficiency tests and you will take non-credit "bonehead" Greek to get caught up with the Bible college grad.

    I work with pastors all over our state and never found one who was sorry he took even a basic Greek/Hebrew program. But met many who bemoaned not knowing biblical languages and saying "it's all greek to me" [​IMG]
     
  8. Pastor Larry

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    How do you take Hebrew in summer school? That would seem impossible.

    In seminary at the MDiv level, I had 14 hours of Hebrew and 20 Hours of Greek. Languages are an absolute must ... and having taken the time to learn them, don't let them go. Use them ... Translate ...
     
  9. Todd

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    While I certainly agree that a minister of the Gospel should receive training in the languages at seminary (I had 12 hours myself), I don't think that the seminaries need to put a heavy hourly requirement on the languages. 6 hours of Greek and 6 hours of Hebrew is more than enough time to give an adequate introduction to both of the languages. Let's say the seminaries bump it up to 24 or 27 hours - what will happen with Church History, Ethics, Philosophy, Theology, etc. At my seminary, the languages required double the hours than any of the other courses I just listed. If more time would have been required for the languages, something would have had to have been cut out.

    My point is that seminary is much more a place of introductions than it is of mastery. It takes a man of God a lifetime to master the languages, Ethics, Theology, etc. To that end, I'm much more in favor of an approach that covers a broad range of subjects rather than majoring on just a few. If a man of God is worth his salt, he will continue his education privately and well beyond his seminary days. I think it is a notorious misconception that "I will get everything I need in seminary then my education will be through." That's nonsense...learn the basics in seminary and then spend your life mastering the various disciplines. Keep the languages thorough, but basic I say.
     
  10. NateT

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    One way SBTS deals with that is Elementary Greek = 0 Credit hours. My Prof said: You're in class 4 hours a week, you paid for 3, and you get credit for 0.

    The official reason was (and I asked) that the classical languages used to be assumed when you came, so if you had to take Greek I, you shouldn't get credit for it. My MDiv will be something like 94 credit hours which will really be at least 97 (greek doesn't count)
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    Todd, I don't think you can get an introduction to the languages in six hours. I think a basic working knowledge of language is at least four semesters of each. To me, too many pastors have no idea how to profitably use the original language texts and their exegesis suffers for it.

    I think seminary's main concentration should be on theology and the languages. The other stuff will flow from that. I think the reason there are so many struggles in ethics and philosophy is because we are such poor theologians. In failing to learn theology, we have failed to have a rock solid timeless anchor on which to make ethical choices.
     
  12. Paul33

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    Hebrew I - four weeks all day long!
    Hebrew II - four weeks all day long!

    It was assumed that we had two years of greek at the undergrad level before entering seminary.
     
  13. Todd

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    Larry, again I disagree. I've only taken six hours of Greek at the seminary level, yet I can tell you the significance of imperfect active tense vs. present active. I can tell you the difference between an aorist subjunctive and a present subjunctive verb. With the use of only my Greek NT and the Linguistic and Exegetical Key, I translated nine verses out of John's Gospel today that I'm going to be preaching on Sunday. Again, that's after only 6 hours of seminary training in Greek.

    When it comes to Hebrew, I can tell you that I'm not as strong even though I took the same amount of hours, but that's because the majority of my preaching is from the NT these days. Still, with the use of my Hebrew OT and the TWOT, I can find my way pretty well through the Hebrew Bible. Like I said, advancement in the languages is really not up to the seminaries - there's is only to introduce the languages. If I can discern these things in the languages after only 12 hours of study, then I feel that 12 hours was plenty. You've got to remember that most seminarians are not training to be seminary professors once they graduate. Most of them are going to be headed to dead-end churches where Moses himself would probably not be a welcome guest on account of his Ethopian wife. The future preachers need to know some of the basics of church life, and I think you underestimate how much time it takes to become acquainted with even the most basic of ministerial matters. Looking back, I almost wish that I had spent more time in ministerially-driven classes. Theology and languages are a must for the man of God, but he must also know how to apply that theology. Again, that's why I make a case for a much more balanced approach - mastery comes after seminary, not during it.
     
  14. SaggyWoman

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    I think Greek should be mandatory for everybody.
     
  15. Todd

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    SaggyWoman, you're absolutely right...it's just a matter of how much Greek and how much Hebrew you're talking about. My contention is that the seminaries should only introduce the subjects at the Masters level, and that twelve hours is sufficient time to do that.
     
  16. WallyGator

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    Friends, this is just another example of diluting or minimizing Bible study. After all, it's not important anymore, just feed them baby food, if they're lucky, from the pulpit, keep everyone happy. Sorry, got carried away, for a moment. Really, as well as knowledge, Language study, provides discipline, something that most younger(notice, not all, beautiful to behold a young disciplined pastor) lack today.
    WallyGator
     
  17. Todd

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    Wally, thanks for the compliment. I happen to be a younger, disciplined Pastor (27) and father of three (soon to be four) kids. You assume that just because I don't advocate 30+ hours of language training at the seminary level that I'm in favor of preaching in such a way as to "keep everyone happy." I invite you to come and visit with us sometime - see if my preaching passes for Gerber food. Though I only had 12 hours of language study at the seminary level, I am an expositor who chooses to preach only through Bible books. Each week I consult the languages and I always attempt to get the best language study resources that I can find. This may seem unbelievable to an old veteran like yourself, but it's the truth.
     
  18. WallyGator

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    Todd,
    Priase God for you and may your number multiply.
    WallyGator [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  19. preachinjesus

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    Without the understanding and ability to competently work in the original langauges our pulpits will languish in doctrinal malaise and find it hard to produce competent, meaningful exposition based on an understanding of the text and not some happy-go-lucky topical idea.

    I blogged about this on my blog http://wwww.preachinjesus.blogspot.com several weeks ago. Its under the title "We need pastor theologians not ear candy" (or something like that)
     
  20. Dr. Bob

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    Until I learned Greek/Hebrew I preached a lot of truly wrong sermons! Cannot imagine the "English Bible" student who goes on to pastor. I pray they LIVE in the deep commentary to learn from godly men who KNOW the languages and what a text truly says. That is better than pooling our own ignorance from a cursory English reading.

    The nuances and insights from the Greek blow me away every day. I miss them reading in ANY translation. How thankful I am that I was forced to understand the languages God chose to reveal Himself in.
     

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