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Study of greek.

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davidchase View Drop Down
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  Quote davidchase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Study of greek.
    Posted: 11 April 2008 at 5:35pm
Dear all,
              I find more and more people resorting to greek in their exposition of scripture. While I know there are many scholars of the Bible with a deep understanding of the original texts who regularly contribute on this site, I have my misgivings.
Some christian organizations have this declaration in their statement of faith "all scripture is God-breathed / inspired by the Holy Spirit". 
The significance of what I am going to say will be better understood if I paraphrase II Timothy 3:16 and say "All scripture, as written in the original texts, is given by inspiration of God......" ( I know the significance of adding to or removing from scriptures, but I am only trying to explain my point).
Similarly, someone who promotes the view that understanding the greek bible is the only perfect understanding of the scriptures, would not be able to stand in all sincerity and preach holding an english or for that matter a bible in any other language, quoting John 5:24 - "He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath evelasting life" because that person actually means - He that heareth what Jesus actually said in the original text .... and anyway the language in use at that time was aramaic and hebrew!
Martin Luther was responsible for the scriptures to be available in the common man's language - for the common good. 
Granted that the New Testament was originally written in greek, knowledge of greek might come in handy for understanding some of it's difficult portions - if that knowledge is used in the right manner. Learning greek involves a lot of work, and time commitment as well.
My misgivings are because no one talks about the limitations of present day knowledge of greek (I call it 'present day human knowledge' of greek), simply because any language would change significantly, even in just one century, simply because usage and meaning of words tend to have a strong relation to the time period they are first written down.
If the knowledge of greek is so crucial to the understanding of the scriptures, the people who should have benefitted the most from the understanding of the scriptures would be the greek orthodox church members - I am not saying this in a derogatory way, but am only trying to make a point.
How does the knowledge of greek help one become a better disciple of christ? Do greek scholars disagree on opinions of what portions of scriptures actually meant? Learning greek being a laborious task and time consuming, given that we are to live circumspectly in these end-times, is it worthwhile? Knowledge that does not puff-up could be useful, but if it makes one feel superior to another person, it is no good at all. 
Can we dare make significant doctrinal statements based on a verson or even a translation, knowing that some questions will find answers only when the Lord returns
(I want to be clear that I refer to the portions of the bible which are difficult to understand)?
I raise this issue because I find some of my close acquiantances trying to say indirectly that the bible as it is available to us is imperfect, and it is better to learn greek!
I believe in the bible because I believe it is the word of God, not because I have tested it's validity, to be convinced of it's truthfulness.
I do not want to ruffle the feathers of the learned among us, but I believe the scriptures are proof of God reaching out to the common people, and I don't think that I am going to be questioned by God, when it is time for me stand before His throne, as to why I did not actually learn greek and understand scriptures 'as written in the original texts'. I also believe God is sovereign and will lead us by the Holy Spirit into 'all truth', not by mere imperfect human knowledge. 
I welcome your views and will gladly submit to correction, if only to become a better follower of Christ.
Bye for now.
David Chase 
   
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George P. Koshy View Drop Down
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  Quote George P. Koshy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2008 at 6:20pm
Dear David Chase,
 
Are we interested in the interpretations or the translations and copies as opposed to the written words that are God-breathed?
Shalom malekim!!!
George P. Koshy
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  Quote davidchase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2008 at 8:49pm
Dear Bro George P Koshy,
Are you trying to imply that the very english / malayalam / telugu bibles all of us use, or for that matter, in any other language, are  mere interpretations / copies rather than the word of God? Is the original text, as in the original greek bible, the only word of God in exclusion of all available bibles?
You have come straight to the whole point I was trying to make!
 Would you want to make the recommendation that since the other bibles are no good, all those who preach should hold the greek original bible and teach only from there? I would refrain from calling the bible that I read everyday a 'copy', as in 'not the original'.
All the same, I see your point in that the quality of the interpretation / translation / version varies, and definitely using a different translation might throw better light on a given subject.   
I look forward to hearing more from you and others.
warm christian greetings
David Chase
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  Quote George P. Koshy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2008 at 8:58pm
Dear David Chase,
 
You have not answered my question.  You have gone on a tangent.  Please answer, my question.
Shalom malekim!!!
George P. Koshy
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  Quote davidchase Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 April 2008 at 8:19am
Dear George P Koshy,
thank you for trying to get me back on the track.
I am interested in the written words that are God-breathed. I can understand that it is not obvious.
I am interested in those God-breathed words, because (i) they are the proof of the power of God unto my salvation (Romans 1:16) and  (ii) share the quandary of Peter (John 6:68 "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life). Notwithstanding the fact that the word of God, which enlightened my eyes to see my sinful state and my need for salvation, was not preached to me in greek / hebrew / aramaic,  the blood of Christ was effective in me,  who was once afar off, and I am grateful to God for performing His work in me.  I believe that by God's providence and grace, His word as was made available to me, was still effective to my salvation even though I neither speak nor understand the original text of 'God-breathed scriptures' you were referring to. This privilege is shared by all my fellow-believers, which I believe includes you.
So please note my answer to your question - yes I am interested in God-breathed  written words, as made available to me by His grace unto my salvation, through the  work of His dear saints in my mother-tongue and english for my edification and growth.
It doesn't deter me if they happen to be "the interpretations or the translations and copies" you referred to, because, if God so desired He could have made me a jew or a greek, but in His great wisdom, made me a gentile believer who does not have access to "imperfect human knowledge of greek"  - in fact,  I do not feel the need for the acquisition of the  this kind of knowledge of greek.
I Corinthians 1:17 "not with the wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."
I Corinthians 2:5 "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but the power of God"
I Corinthians 1:21"For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."
If one is born in a situation where greek or hebrew is a strange tongue, there is limited virtue in trying to acquire that knowledge - what do you say?
Instead of poring over reams and reams of pages trying to learn greek, I would much rather spend that time telling people about Christ (the unreached)  or mentoring fellow-believers, if not learning from the word of God as made available to me in the language I speak / understand.
I suspect that you will still find my reply circuitous!
I shall try to clarify further if required, but I request you not to hijack this topic and deviate from the issue I was trying to raise, which I think is obvious. Would you consider any of the questions I have raised valid - even if you differ in your opinion regarding the usefulness of greek (it is obvious to me that you have invested much time and effort in it and are convinced it is essential for you)? Can you try  and answer them please - only if you think it is worth the while.
warm christian greetings
David Chase

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  Quote John Miller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 April 2008 at 8:18pm
Dear brethren,

I understand and to a large degree agree with our brother David Chase. I am not a Greek scholar and I am far to old to have any ambitions in that direction. I have one Christian friend who is very learned Greek scholar, so much so that he has made his own translation of the entire New Testament. If I have some query about the exact meaning of some form of words in the scriptures I refer to him by email for his advice.

However, using the NASV which seems to be generally acknowledged to be the most accurate translation on general sale, along with the Darby and Schofield translations (great for cross references and Greek hints) and, of course the AV, I feel that I can study the scriptures profitably and intelligently.

If we suggest that the study of ancient languages is necessary for the understanding of God's word, we are on dangerous ground. It may well be beneficial to some extent, but God's word is not a closed book to the unlearned or uneducated any more than it is to the greatest scholar in the universe. The Holy Spirit of God can open the understanding of a soul who has received Christ or is seeking after Him, whether he has a university degree or has difficulty writing his own name.

We must always bear in mind that the Lord in the main, chose as His disciples, unletterd men from very humble backgrounds. There is instruction in that.

Your brother in Christ,

John
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  Quote George P. Koshy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 April 2008 at 9:37pm
Dear David Chase,
 
At the age in which we live, The knowledge of Greek and hebrew are not essential to undetrstand and obey the will of God.  There are enough translations that are very close to the literal meaning of the word of God in the original languages.  If you have them, then you are safe to be closer to the revelation of God about His will and mind.
 
At the same time, the knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew, not the modern ones, will help us to get certain interesting aspects of the Word of God, that may be lost in translations.
 
Shalom Maleikim!!!  
Shalom malekim!!!
George P. Koshy
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  Quote John Miller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 April 2008 at 1:50pm
Dear George Koshy,

Coming from a Greek scholar such as yourself, these words are encouraging to those of us who do not have this knowledge.

Your brother in Christ,

John
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  Quote doghter_of_zion Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 May 2008 at 7:18pm
Dear brethren,
Greetings once again in the name of of our Savior and Lord!

Well, I believe too believe that the knowledge of the Scriptures is not compulsive for the proper understanding of the Scripture. But what I observed from my observations, in the past is that, we should not become a blind believer of any particular translation, be it English or any other language, and go forward to say that even in the translation, is infallible. We must compare the translation, where we find it difficult to understand, or where differences (as known by us) occur or even at our personal study. A knowledge of Greek really is a great help at any rate, but as we sit, meditatively at the feet of our Lord, the Spirit of God, will teach us, what the Lord wanted to reveal from that portion (whichever portion we study).

Well last weak in the Bible Study, I was literally feeling like laughing anf crying at the same time, when we read a particular portion of the Bengali Bible. The Scripture portion in English went thus “In the light of His Second Coming…” and the translation was made from KJV directly hence went to mean that “His secong coming was brought to light” ( the term used was “ aalo’te” which mean literal light instead of the implied meaning of the portion which I believe should be ‘in the context, or pretext’). Such confusion could have been reduced if our brothers who read the Scriptures here had a good knowledge of Greek. The Bible in Bengali was once translated by the Father of the modern Missions, and has been left hence. There has been no correction, no nothing. Please pray that God may raise His selected ones, who may work in this area for God’s glory and for the edification of the saints.

Though I moved out of the topic, but I thought I’d bring this to light, and request your prayers for the matter.

 

May God be with you.

 

Yours’ in Christ,

Tinka

 

P.S.: thanks for your prayers. My exams for the final at graduation are over, and I did write something by the grace of God. Please pray for my results.

Maranatha!!!
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