Friday, February 15, 2008

Why Study NT Greek? Why Read NT Greek Out Loud?

Q: Why Study NT Greek?
How will learning NT Greek help me in gaining a better understanding the Scriptures?

A: To translate is to to turn from one language into another.

The professional-translator's dilemma is choosing what to express and what to leave behind. It's just not possible to carry across all the meaning in one language and express it in another language. The way of expressing a thought may be quite different.

For a professional translator, added wordiness in expressing a thought is smoothed out for the reader of the translation--and something is lost.

For a professional translator, added wordiness to express intended emphasis or the on-going nature of what is happening is smoothed out for the reader of the translation--and again something is lost.

Yet when it comes to a personal-study translator--a member in the body of Christ--something very different is at hand.

The personal-study reader / translator's delight is to grasp what Scriptures are saying, in their original language. He discovers what a passage is saying, including all the extra expressiveness that comes across to those who grasp the original language.

The personal-study reader / translator considers the Scriptures, not to produce a new version, but rather to translate them as an act of reverence and love, as an act of worship, as an act of seeking God out so as to hear, understand, believe, and do.

The personal-study reader / translator finds that his reading and teaching from his favorite version will be made better by your knowing what the underlying text says: what it says, how it says it; what it emphasizes, how it emphasizes; and how far it goes (which should be: not more, not less than the Scriptures themselves).

Martin Luther put it this way:

“The preacher or teacher can expound the Bible from beginning to end as he pleases, accurately or inaccurately, if there is no one there to judge whether he is doing it right or wrong. But in order to judge, one must have a knowledge of the languages; it cannot be done in any other way.

"Therefore, although faith and the gospel may indeed be proclaimed by simple preachers without a knowledge of languages, such preaching is [might become, Editor] flat and tame; people finally become weary and bored with it, and it falls to the ground.

"But where the preacher is versed in the languages, there is a freshness and vigor in his preaching, Scripture is treated in its entirety, and faith finds itself constantly renewed by a continual variety of words and illustrations. Hence, Psalm 129 likens such scriptural studies to a hunt, saying to the deer God opens the dense forests; and Psalm 1 likens them to a tree with a plentiful supply of water, whose leaves are always green.”

-- Martin Luther
“To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany
That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools,"


Q: Why Read NT Greek Out Loud?

A: Reading out loud is a more effective pathway to understanding the language itself. Here's why. Reading NT Greek out loud helps you recognize repeating similar sounds within the language. You'll soon discover that words within a phrase form a unit that have similar-sounding endings--and recognize those sounds (rather than having to learn a set of endings and decode word forms).

Yet how do you get started reading? Seeing Greek words syllable-by-syllable knocks down the traditional barriers reading the text out loud. The syllable-by-syllable format is what you'll see in the Greek alphabet and grammar posts on this blog.

Speaking and hearing the words of the Word is a rewarding experience. It begins to make good grooves in your mind. It begins to download the Word of Life into the innermost part of your mind.

1 Thes 1:2

Εὐ¦χα¦ρισ¦τοῦ¦μεν τῷ θε¦ πάν¦το¦τε πε¦ρὶ πάν¦των ¦μῶν,
¦αν ποι¦ού¦με¦νοι ¦πὶ τῶν προ¦σευ¦χῶν ¦μῶν,

We give thanks to God always for all of you,
making mention of you in our prayers.


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