Greek

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by untangled, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. untangled

    untangled
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    Hey People,

    Question for those who are taking or have taken Greek. I am currently enrolled in Greek I. It is a tough course to me. My question is how many of you who took Greek have a good working knowledge of it today? To be honest I am making decent grades but still have trouble remembering things from lesson to lesson. I'm being whipped on the verbs. As someone who is currently a pastor I do want a better knowledge of it so that my exegesis will be better.

    I know how to use all the tools and I can use them pretty well already. I guess what I really want to know is how many of you felt this way? I do not have as much time to study as I would like as I made the mistake of not going directly to full-time seminary while I still lived at home before I got married 3 years ago (I had time to finish before I got married but did not and chose to work instead).

    God bless!:jesus:
     
  2. gb93433

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    You are not alone. When I took Greek I spent about 20 hours a week studying while many others took easier teachers and spent a lot less time. Years later the majority who took the other teachers have not used it. If you do not learn it, you will not use it. If you do not learn it now who will be there to help you later.

    In the first few years out of seminary I did a discourse analysis on every sermon I did and it got much faster as time went by. It forced me to deal with issues. If you will translate at least one verse everyday you will get a good grasp on translation and exegesis.

    I took three years of Greek in seminary and felt somewhat okay near the end of the second year. In my third year I felt a lot better. After about one year of pastoring then all of a sudden it clicked.

    You wil find that by studying hard and developing good habits of regular study you will correct a lot of poor theology. You will also begin to see those who study as those you want to be around. You will also notice the poor preaching of those who do not study and just put together a talk instead of a well thought through message.

    When I was in seminary I had some pastors of big churches tell me that they did not use Greek or Hebrew any longer. It was obvious when I asked him questions I would struggle with in the text.

    The temptation will be once you start pastoring is to become a "Starbucks pastor" instead of a pastor who is a man of integrity and works hard studying, preaching and making disciples. Personally I could not be satisfied in giving only milk on Sunday when I was capable of giving a meal.

    The more you learn now, the less you will be satisfied with doing less than giving your best.
     
    #2 gb93433, Oct 24, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2006
  3. preachinjesus

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    The languages were perhaps the hardest part of my seminary experience (and I had to take an exegesis for both Hebrew and Greek.)

    I use my language training on a weekly basis as I prepare and study for lessons and teaching. It is vital to my preparation. I was given to tools and the seedbed for the languages while at seminary...and have begun to develop both since I left. It is a practice.

    My Greek prof regularly noted that the language is something that you must do and can't learn like history, ethics, etc. His point was that we must regularly do work in the languages in order to begin to pick up and perfect our trade.

    The languages are vital to a true biblical preaching stye. For instance I just did a lesson out of Matthew 6:19-24 where Christ is speaking about the danger of letting our possessions possess us. He uses two different words for treasure and money/riches (i.e. mammon) and there is unique conclusion Christ draws in verse 24. A simple English translation might miss the intricacy of His point, but in Matthew is unmistakable. So too in both testaments we find the various authors using literary devices completely missed by modern translations (not saying these are bad, but English is a non-inflected language afterall) which give deep substance to their teaching. A regular processing and digest of the languages breeds rich teaching and will continue to provide you teaching/preaching fodder for years to come.

    Persevere my Greek friend! Know that you labor not in vain, but press forward to the mark of your calling!
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    GB & Preaching Jesus Reply

    My young friend:

    "Stay by the stuff!" as my father in the ministry, Evangelist Sam Cathey, would say.

    I had Greek under James Allman at Crichton College (Mid South Bible College then). He now teaches at DTS in OT Interpretation. Jim got us on a reading plan. Read, exegete, parse 30 lines in some Johanine book-say First John. Then daily add 10 lines as you drop off the first 10 lines. Look up, word study, parse, decline, use the tools, etc., et al that you were trained to do. Carry your testament with you and use it. I have found that I waste a great deal of time that could be productive if I would just utilize it.

    What this does is to keep the textual words, issues, tenses, particles, participles, subject/verb agreement, and all before your mind all the time. It is like learning a foreign language when you go to the mission field. The more you use it the more familiar you become with it.

    It has been said: "Use it or loose it!" and there is some truth to that. But, they don't go on to tell you the second half. You may loose it but not for good. You can get it back with less that one half the effort. And it really does come back if you want to work on it.

    Good "Greeking!":tongue3:

    sdg!

    rd

    PS This is an exhoration to me to get back more consistently in my own study. The key really is to read-read-read!!!:thumbsup:
     
  5. El_Guero

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    Read, read, and read more . . .
     
  6. Hope of Glory

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    I am convinced that if more preachers used the original languages, there would be far fewer denominations. I don't think they would go away completely, but it would be much more difficult to have divisions, because you understand what is being said much better.

    BTW, diagramming is a great tool to help you understand the text.

    Stick with it!
     
  7. TomVols

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    As I look back on my formal education, my biggest regret is not taking more of the languages. Study the daylights out of the original languages. However, realize that they are a tool. I know some excellent Greek and Hebrew exegetes who are lousy preachers and even worse pastors/leaders. They understand the text, but they do not understand the people to whom the text should be applied. They do not see how the languages contribute to a thorough systematic and Biblical theology.

    Keep up your study of Greek and Hebrew. Be able to readily and easily use the language tools without totally relying on secondary helps. Keep your knowledge of these languages in their perspective. Remember that the single mom with two jobs and three kids couldn't care less about the aorist tense. As Jerry Vines and Chuck Swindoll have both said, leave the nuts and bolts in the study and take the varnished wood to the pulpit. Or a better one is Martyn-Lloyd Jones: Leave the scaffolding behind and take your building to the pulpit - let the meat hide the bones and don't let the bones stick out.

    Just a reminder that we can over-hype the languages just as easily as we can dismiss their proper importance.
     
  8. TomVols

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    One more thing - I also agree that the languages were the most difficult part of my ministry education. On the undergrad and seminary level I had at least one of the profs try to do a year's worth of the language in one semester. I thought I was going to die :tonofbricks:
     
  9. bobbyd

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    Greek has verbs? Hmmm...no wonder i'm not having any luck using the stuff!
    I took my required 3 hours in Seminary of Greek, and that is pretty much where it ended. I did take 12 hours of Hebrew in college and then 3 in seminary, but never kept up with it...it. That is pretty much the key, keeping up with it.
     
  10. Squire Robertsson

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    To me a preacher needs a knowledge of NT Greek as much as a businessman needs a knowledge of English. Think of this, if you're a businessman in Novosibirsk you need a working knowledge of English if you want to be more than the bottom of the food chain. By a working knowledge, I mean being able to read the various magazines and books published in English. The good news for a preacher in 2006 is he doesn't need to speak or write in Koine Greek.
     
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    The biggest mistake of my educational career was not taking Greek. My word studies are very arduous and I find myself looking to other for help all the time.
     
  12. Jim Schoolfield

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    I disagree. Here is why.

    Spurgeon, Moody, Sunday, Sam Jones, George Whitfield, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Oliver B. Greene, Frank Norris, John Bunyan, Bob Jones Sr., Christmas Evans, Ian Paisley, The Scroorby congregation(Pilgrim fathers), the Lollards, Alibigenses, the Waldensians, anabaptists and many more.

    I believe that a knowledge of Greek, Latin, Hebrew and old/Middle English is good for an English preaching pastor or evangelist, but he needs, a Bible in his own language, and the Holy Spirit.
     
  13. Squire Robertsson

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    I agree God has used and will use preachers without a knowledge of Greek. Good night, He uses me and I bombed the courses in college. I consider myself an English Bible preacher. So, I know my limitations.

    However, of the men you listed, George Whitfield, John Wesley, and Jonathan Edwards would I dare say have had a knowledge of Greek. It was a required part of their education back in the day. As for J. Frank Norris and Ian Paisley, I haven't looked up their education. But I'll hazard they had the classes in college even of they never used the skill after graduation.

    I was a little over the top with my bottom of the food chain comment. But, I stand by its thrust.
     
  14. rbell

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    I use my Greek and Hebrew studies at least 1-2x monthly directly (I take great pains to not cause eyes to glass over).

    I write all of our DiscipleNow curriculum. For last year's study, (a thorough exposition of 1 Peter 2:9-12), I used the Greek NT, lexicon, and helps extensively.
     
  15. El_Guero

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    Greek is alot easier than it seems . . . but then again, I am a geek.

    :saint:

    Personally, the problem most people have is not learning it, it is using the Greek. My attitude is simple, I need a wrking knowledge of any passage a heritic might try to use against Christianity. John 1:1 - 4 for example. Strangely, I can memorize in Greek much better than I can in English . . . we all have a cross to bear.

    ;)


     
  16. rbell

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    I tutored for several years at college and in seminary in Greek.

    Most folks that struggled with Greek were actually struggling with English.

    Knowing what a direct object, etc., is pretty important. Many of the students I helped struggled with that, before we got to the Greek itself.
     
  17. El_Guero

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    parts of speech, I wouldn't worry about . . . i wouldn't worry about parts of speech . . .

    I would worry about learning basic communication.
     
  18. rbell

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    but it's hard to effectively learn Greek if you don't know grammar.

    In the above sentence, i split an infinitive. Many of the students I tutored studying Greek didn't know what an infinitive was, and how it could be split.
     
  19. StefanM

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    No kidding about grammar. You can't do much of anything with Greek without knowledge of basic grammar.
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Lots of good advice so far. I'll just add my two yen.

    I flunked the second semester of college Greek due to some tremendous stress in my life. I retook the whole first year and made B's, then the same from then on in undergrad and grad Greek. So be of good cheer--there is hope!

    Keep up the long hours of study. There is no other way in the world to learn a language, dead or alive (the language, not you :laugh: ), other than concentrated study. Then, once you get a grasp on the language, try translating a little every day, as someone else has mentioned. I recently found the "original manuscript" of Galations which I translated almost 20 years ago. I also did John and Philippians in those days, and am now translating the Greek NT into Japanese. What a tremendous blessing it is! I view translation as concentrated Bible study. Even if I never publish any of it (probably won't publish the English), the very effort was a great learning experience.

    Finally, keep your sense of humor. Here are a couple of poems to help you with that.


    Hebrew Is a Language

    By Anonymous




    Hebrew is a language,
    Or at least it used to be.
    It killed off all the Jews,
    And now it=s killin= me!

    All are dead who ever wrote it,
    All are dead who ever spoke it,
    All will die who ever learn it.
    Blessed death, they surely earn it!



    Ode to the Impossible--Learning Japanese

    Desperately Yours, by T. M. Paulson




    If you would learn Nihongo,
    Begin when you=re a lad.
    Pray for Methuselah=s life span
    And the wisdom Solomon had.

    You=ll need a head of hardwood,
    And the patience of a Job,
    The mighty power of Samson
    To carry the heavy load.

    If you don=t have a will of iron,
    And Peter=s grit and go,
    The zeal and fire of PaulBboy,
    this language will lay you low!
     

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