charles_mcneil — 2016-10-29T15:04:16-04:00 — #1
With the many things to do, places to go, and people to see, who has the time to study Hebrew? Whether a young minister starting out, a senior Pastor mid-way through his career or responding to threads in the CD Forums during retirement, Why learn to read Hebrew, when we have so much helps and translation at our disposal?
After all, Hebrew is an Eastern and not a European language. The thought patterns, vocabulary, and grammar are so different from what many of us are accustomed to using.
If one can justify its necessity, what materials are available, who's teaching it in an interesting and easy to learn way; and how much time will it take each day to acquire a working knowledge of the language? Time is a premium for the young pastor and the retiree (some of you know what I mean, even if it's not your experience). CM
gao_lu — 2016-10-29T19:22:42-04:00 — #2
“He who reads the Bible in translation is like a man who kisses his bride through a veil."
-Jewish poet Hayyim Nachman Bialik
Imagine going your whole life like that!
bkmitchell — 2016-10-30T00:39:55-04:00 — #3
I agree with Gau Lu,
תרגום דומה לנשיקה מבעד לצעיף
Studying in translation is like kissing your bride with her veil on
חיים נחמן ביאליק (Hayyim Nachman Bialik)
I would also add that knowing the Bible through translations is like a someone having a relationship with his/her foreign spouse only through interpreters (or maybe through google translate!).
Here are a few different answers others have given in answer to this question:
(1) Why Study Hebrew? (Video)
(2) Learn to Read the Bible in the original languages
(3) Seven reasons to Study Biblical Languages:
(4) BROTHERS, BITZER WAS A BANKER
(5) DeRouchie, Jason S. “The Profit of Employing the Biblical Languages: Scriptural and Historical Reflections.” Themelios 37.1 (2012): 32.
(6) A Case for Biblica Languages Are Hebrew and Greek Optional or Indispensable?
The above, for me at least provides for a good rational why Christian Minsters/Preachers should acquire a working knowledge/fluency of Hebrew so that they can be in a better position to attempt understand, for themselves, the Hebrew Bible on its own terms.
Check out these:
(1)The following two online video courses are basically equal to a full year of Seminary Biblical Hebrew. They are not in Logos, but they are FREE. They are graciously made available by the Master's Seminary and by Dr. Barrick:
OT 503 Hebrew Grammar I (Full first Semester)
OT 504 Hebrew II (Full Second Semester)
Link to a PDF of the Grammar
(2) Living Biblical Hebrew
Demo Lesson: http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com/hebrew-first-lesson/
(3) Mobile Ed: LA251 Introducing Hebrew Grammar
(4) Reform Theological Seminary (online/Global)
(5) BibleMesh (affortable)
charles_mcneil — 2016-10-30T03:36:42-04:00 — #4
Thanks a lot. You're blessed and a blessing!
You have provided an oasis of reasons and resources. It's time to learn some Hebrew, for the first time or to refresh the brain pathways.
Let the truth be told, some of us would need our hands held (tightly) while we are weaned off translations, etc. May God help the "right brain" thinkers [although the theory is outdated]. Regardless, in depth study of epigenetics has shown that the brain is remarkably adaptable and able to create new neural pathways in response to stimulus in the environment. This is a branch of science called neuroplasticity.
Bk, are you ready to hold some hands? CM
bkmitchell — 2016-10-30T06:57:04-04:00 — #5
Actually, thank you for asking this question!
Before, I say anything else I want to express an opinion of mine that one can be a great Christian even without knowing Hebrew or Greek.
And, there are even some notable cases of great expositors of the word who without the knowledge of Hebrew were none-the-less able to sense of the meaning of the text. Spurgeon is an example of this. While, it can be argued that he knew some Koine Greek it is unlikely that he knew Hebrew. Yet, what he did or what he allowed the God to do with his life was amazing. I may not always agree with him, but I think he was a very careful man who searched the scripture with everything he had.
Andrew Nathaniel Nelson was a Christian/Seventhday adventist missionary who did not know Hebrew, but his work on Japanese lexicography know as the Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary has help thousands not to mention the fact that he help start a school. He was an awesome Christian even without Hebrew, although I am sure he
Another, opinion I have is we Christians do not have to all have the same gifts/talents to be used by God. Fingers can not see but they are important to our body, eyes can not touch but again they too are important to our body, feet can not taste but they are important and serve a function.
I agree and if possible I think it always good to have a partner, friend, and a teacher. I think there are only a few people out there who can master a language without any interaction within a community of some sort or without any interaction with another human being.
Yes, I would love to partner with and help facilitate the journey into original language acquisition and reading comprehension.
dave_l — 2016-10-30T07:47:32-04:00 — #6
I would like to add that the Pharisees had a better grasp on the original languages than most and it only plowed them in deeper. “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
Think of all who could not read or all who did not have even a fragment of scripture who knew far more about God than the Pharisees.
bkmitchell — 2016-10-30T08:47:24-04:00 — #7
Let us not forget nor dismiss the contributions of great Christians like Eusebius(Jerome), Desiderius Erasmus, Johann Reuchlin, John Calvin, John Lightfoot, Franz Delitzsch, Heinrich Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius, J. Gresham Machen, Archibald Thomas Robertson, A. B. Davidson, Samuel Rolles Driver, Charles Augustus Briggs, Dr. James Strong, HEINRICH BITZER, Norman Henry Snaith, Page Kelly, Bruce Waltke and others who were/are all passionate enough about God word to study it in the original.
The Hebrew Bible and the Greek NT is the heritage of all Christians and not the property of the academy alone be that secular or theological.
Today, when atheist individuals bring up alleged contradictions and text critical issues I am always glad that my parents made sure I had a working knowledge of the Biblical language before I left home. I have never regretted it, and I doubt that anyone who has acquired language skills (be those classical or modern) has ever regretted doing so.
dave_l — 2016-10-30T10:27:15-04:00 — #8
I appreciate their contributions. But I can also point out serious errors held by those among them whom I've read. All I'm saying is that some of the most profound heretics were profound original language scholars and it only made them more wicked.
charles_mcneil — 2016-10-30T12:58:17-04:00 — #9
Yes, your point is taken. Lighten up! Give the future learners of Hebrew more hope. There is something in learning Hebrew for you; and it won't turn you into a Pharisee. CM
dave_l — 2016-10-30T13:12:31-04:00 — #10
Thanks Charles, but it seems the tone was moving towards our trusting in the arm of the flesh and sensing a superiority in handling the scriptures. I hoped to point out that some of the most knowledgeable in the original languages are as blind as bats when it it comes to understanding God's word. But as Paul says "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know."
charles_mcneil — 2016-10-30T15:57:43-04:00 — #11
No, No, not at all!
A true understanding of Hebrew will help one to appreciate the literary beauty of many Old Testament passages and more clearly grasp the meaning of their messages. It will also helps one to understand what the Germans call "Sprachgefuhl", or "the feeling of the language."
With a knowledge of the original languages comes the ability to speak with authority and confidence when explaining God's Word to others. This you will like and enjoy. Hebrew will also make more meaningful various works on theology and archeology—indeed many of them can hardly be read, much less appreciated, without a knowledge of Hebrew.
The study of Hebrew will not lessen or nullify the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues ("languages") or interpretation of them. God's gifts to men can be innate or acquired. Either way they are of God. Come, join the Hebrew sessions. CM
PS. Retirees and older men can benefit from the study of Hebrew, in light of what's stated, if for no other purpose than, just to "improve the mind"-- a mental discipline. Wow, something for all!
gao_lu — 2016-10-30T18:25:27-04:00 — #12
I do have a regret--that I did not expect this of my children before they left home. That is one thing I would do differently if it were possible.
My son taught in a Christian school for a few years and I provided him with an elementary Greek curriculum to teach his classes. That helped make amends for not teaching my children at home. At least it gave the school children (and their parents) the alphabet, a few lists of words and some curiosity.
bkmitchell — 2016-10-30T20:05:15-04:00 — #13
If what you are saying is true, then it is yet another great reason why 'more' Christians should study, master, and arm themselves with the Biblical languages so that they will be ready to give a ready defense for the hope that they have and be equipped to deal with pseudo-scholarship and false claims. As, well as being able to train others and future generations.
I suspect, however, that you made sure that your children had a loving family, strong faith, biblical literacy, and were multilingual. Either way "...we know that God works together all things for good to those loving God, to those being called according to His purpose, ..."
Rest assured that none of our mistakes or regrets can trump God or his plans.
That is awesome thanks for sharing that.
dave_l — 2016-10-31T06:37:24-04:00 — #14
I could not agree more with what you say. But Jesus and the Apostles often rewrote the Old Testament under Divine Inspiration while loosely quoting the Septuagint. So what I'm saying is....I do not know what the OT says about something unless I first check in with them to find out what they say about it.
bkmitchell — 2016-10-31T19:45:43-04:00 — #15
I think you are right to say that they quoted the LXX the majority of the time, and sometimes changed it either to match the Masoretic text or for some other purposes(I think to match the intent of the Masoretic text) some believe to match the so-called proto-Masoretic text.
charles_mcneil — 2016-11-01T07:28:14-04:00 — #16
Is it not, that all our Bibles are translated from the Masoretic text?
Our Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew Masoretic text, of which the oldest dated manuscript now known comes from about A.D. 916. Manuscripts of that period represent, of course, much earlier texts.
Bible scholars had little doubt about changes in the text since the time when vowel points were added to form the Masoretic text, centuries after Christ (perhaps A.D. 600-800), for they knew that the copyists from that time on, and perhaps even earlier, preserved every jot and tittle of the text with scrupulous care and almost superstitious reverence. Minor differences were to be expected, of course, such as must inevitably, in spite of extreme precautions, creep eventually into any book copied and recopied by hand through many centuries; that is why textual scholars must compare many manuscript copies of the same book to deter mine the original wording. But it has always been known that Bible manuscripts are much more numerous and yet show fewer differences than other ancient texts, such as the Greek and Latin classics, and that most of the variations from one manuscript to another are simply a matter of letters, words, or phrases which do not change the meaning sufficiently to affect any important doctrine.
When the news came that a very ancient book of Isaiah had been found, the question arose in the minds of Bible scholars everywhere: "How much change will it show our Hebrew text to have undergone in the ten centuries between it and our next oldest manuscripts ?"
Isaiah manuscript confirms the Masoretic text where the latter had been considered less correct than the Septuagint; that its text is much nearer to the Masoretic than are the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate translations.
No need to worry, study the Hebrew. CM
PS. I can find only Dr. Solomon Zeitlin (professor of rabbinical literature in Dropsie College) who questioned the antiquity of the Dead Sea scrolls.
bkmitchell — 2016-11-01T09:52:01-04:00 — #17
I think that is a great and informative post of yours.
And, I am sorry that this thread has gotten way off track from the purpose of the rationale for the study of Hebrew and the Bible in Hebrew.
However, just in case you are unsure or are curious what my received/accepted canons of Scripture are as for as the OT is concerned I have quoted an older post of mine where I have attempted to clarify that:
, In general, my received canons of scripture are the following:
(1a) Nusach Ha MikraThe Masoretic Text ( In recent years I tend to use editions of the MT based on the Leningrad Codex, and the great Keter Aram Zova/Aleppo Codex, but also have a strong fondness for Yemenite texts of the Pentateuch).
(1b) Nusach Ha MasorahThe Masorah Magna, Masorah Parva, Masorah finalis, Niqqud(vowel points), te`amim (diacritical marks/accents/cantillations) and the rest of the corpus of Masora. ...
(link to post)
charles_mcneil — 2016-11-01T15:05:54-04:00 — #18
Thanks, Bk, insightful.
For the non-academics, do you think a little more simplification of explanations and background should be shared of the various resources mentioned and their differences? Simplification ensures understanding that you will not be misunderstood. CM
charles_mcneil — 2016-11-01T17:53:21-04:00 — #19
For a number of years, there has been a strong tendency on the part of some Biblical scholars to disparage the LXX. They charge that the LXX translators were guilty of making
1. Excisions – [“surgical removal or resection”]
2. Interpolations – [an entry or passage in a text that was not written by the original author.]
3. Or, they did careless work.
Some men have cited certain illustrations to prove this contention, and one of them is Hebrew 1:6 -- "He saith, And let all the angels of God worship him."
Discoveries in the cave at Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, have proven a real help in this matter. Dr. F. F. Bruce, wrote:
- “As the Biblical manuscripts from Qumran have been studied it has been possible to distinguish three main types of text among them. One is the ancestor of the . . . text which formed the basis of the Masoretes' editorial work. Another is the type of text which must have lain before the men who produced the Greek translation, commonly called the Septuagint . . . and a third type, continued to the first five books of the Old Testament, is closely related to the Samaritan Pentateuch.” —The Books and Parchments, p. 123.
Concerning Hebrews 1:6, Dr. Bruce has this to say:
- “The quotation in Heb. 1:6, 'and let all the angels of God worship Him,' is referred in the A.V. margin to Deut. 32:43, LXX. No such words will be found in Deut. 32:43 in the A.V.. R.V., or R.S.V., which represent the Masoretic text. But the Septuagint text . . . is longer than the Masoretic . . . and this longer reading was based on a Hebrew original, as is now made clear by the discovery of a copy of this chapter of Deuteronomy in the fourth cave at Qumran.” —The Books and Parchments, p. 154.
Dr. Bruce is not alone in his contentions, for Dr. William F. Albright also said:
“We now know that in the fragments so far described from the Pentateuch and the Former Prophets . . . the Greek translators were almost slavish in their literalism. . . . We may thus be reasonably certain that they . . . go back to an older Hebrew recension which differed from M.T.” —Quoted in Dewey M. Beegle, God's Word into English, p. 45.
Fear not, Dave, God oversees the preservation of His Word. Yes, over the centuries. CM
dave_l — 2016-11-02T05:12:26-04:00 — #20
Perhaps you misunderstood me Charles. I believe all scripture is inspired of God and God providentially watches over it and places the proper translations into the hands of his people in time.
What I am saying is that knowing all of the original languages means nothing apart from divine revelation of what he wrote. Please consider;
“Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” (Luke 18:31–34)
The apostles knew the scriptures well, even if they might have used the LXX. And yet they never saw what he was talking about. What Scriptures? Where does it say that? As it were....
So I too rely on original languages but as I said, I do not know what the OT says unless I first check with Jesus and the NT writers to see what they say about a passage.
next page →