Why Learn Hebrew and Greek?
The minimum Hebrew and Greek language skills necessary to efficiently use Bible Software.
Students need to understand the basic structures of the Hebrew and Greek languages and terminology of grammar, syntax and sequences of clauses, and lexicography/semantics, including contextual interpretation of word combinations, so that they can navigate around it and interpret functions of forms identified by the Bible software. If students cannot gain the benefit of enhanced understanding of the Bible through original language software because they do not know how to interpret the data that they gain from it, they will not be encouraged to continue using the software.
Why do pastors need to do any original biblical language at all if they can access everything online without any training?
The software provides the Hebrew and Greek forms, that is, the data, but not the functions of the data that are essential for understanding the biblical meaning, including with regard to subjects that Christians debate, such as Creation, the Trinity, and the nature of death. The more data students have, the more interpretive ability they need. They need to understand that every translation is a form of limited scholarly commentary, and they need to be able to weigh options of interpretation in translations and other sources, especially when it comes to matters that make a difference for Seventh-day Adventist teaching. Historically speaking, much of distinctive Protestant and Seventh- day Adventist teaching is based upon solid interpretations of biblical passages in the original languages, which do not depend upon humanly-based theological traditions. Lack of adequate Hebrew or Greek knowledge can lead to wrong, misleading, or even damaging biblical interpretations that depart from Seventh-day Adventist teaching. Such a lack would also make Adventist pastors vulnerable to the opinion of others and would limit their ability to find the deeper connections of the Bible. On the other hand, original language knowledge enables the Bible reader to gain fresh spiritual insights by studying the text more thoroughly, gaining a sense of important nuances in Scripture that get lost in the process of translation. These can strengthen personal faith, one’s appreciation for the Bible in its context, and furthermore solidify confidence in our distinctive beliefs and make it possible for us to plumb the depths of Scripture for insightful and uplifting personal studies as well as the richest sermons fully rooted in the Word.
Biblical Languages Pedagogy Committee, Sept 2018