Why Study the Language of Homer?

Indeed, why? Homer was Greek, so Greek was his language. Why should I be interested in the language of this man? Homer spoke and wrote in classical Greek, and I heard that the New Testament Greek was koine, the dialect of the unrefined, the language of the common man. I even had a hard time with English. And Greek is a difficult language, in fact much more difficult than English. Why make things so hard on myself?

“Do I have to know Greek to go to heaven?” The answer is, No, you don’t have to.

“Do I have to know New Testament Greek to read my New Testament?” Again, the answer is, No, but someone, maybe not you, has to have a working knowledge of New Testament Greek.

If you trust your theologians, you don’t have to know Greek. But listen…

Renaissance dealt a great blow to the Middle Ages, when some scholars revived the art of learning ancient languages, one of them Greek. When the Greek New Testament was made available in costly copies, that also made available the knowledge that had been withheld from the world for centuries. These readers of the Greek New Testament began to distrust Catholic theologians. Luther, a Catholic theologian, even distrusted his fellow Catholic theologians.

If you have enough trust on your translations and your translators, you don’t have to know Greek. But…

Personally, I distrust some translators as well as theologians and debaters. What motivated me to study Greek was my debates with the “Iglesia ni Cristo-1914” and with the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If I just swallowed their doctrines, like some did, I would have no problem with them, but I would have a problem facing God in eternity. Ignorance does not excuse anyone.

Someone has to study New Testament Greek because someone needs to keep these theologians, translators and debaters honest. These men’s minds have been configured by their own translation philosophies. Strict translation. Loose translation. Paraphrasing instead of translating. If no one among us knows Greek, then no one will know whether these theologians and translators and debaters and teachers have done a great job in giving us the true word of God. No one should just take anyone’s word for it. I think 1 John 4:1 does not just apply to false teachers, it applies too to translators, theologians and debaters, in fact to anyone including Pat Boone, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Billy Graham, etc.

By knowing what the Greek text says, many of our theological misunderstandings can be clarified. For example, studying the preposition eis you will know if you should be baptized to have your sins remitted, or because your sins have already been remitted.

New Testament Greek is a very picturesque language, and knowing it can be very rewarding. In it, thoughts and sentiments are clothed in figures, actions are viewed as finished and done or future, going on in the present or going on in the past, going on in the future or simply a point action that is not going on. You don’t find these distinctions and nuances of meanings in English!

Yeah, studying Greek may be difficult but with patience, skills and a lot of imagination, one will reach the mountain top and see the picture.

God made the best decision in making this common man’s tongue the carrier of His Word. The men inspired to write the New Testament did not have any doctorate degrees. But God desired a medium that the ordinary man at that time wouldn’t have any problem comprehending, so He used Koine Greek. God used an ordinary man’s dialect because salvation and going to heaven is just a matter of every man knowing the wishes and wills of God without having to go through university education.

Make every man comprehend the wills and wishes of the great God in heaven. That should be the purpose of preaching and teaching and knowing ancient languages as well. It should motivate us to go to the next level of understanding, where we may be able to comprehend what may be revealed about our God and do what pleases Him.

God came down to earth. He spoke our language, and using the figures we were familiar with, he raised our comprehension to what should constitute true living. He wanted us to be like Him, and to be with Him. You don’t have to study Greek, but someone has, that he could help you to desire to be like Jesus, and and grow in order to be with Jesus.

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