Friday, July 28, 2006

"Unless the languages remain, the Gospel must finally perish."

Two more weeks of Greek left. . .well, of this class, that is. I'll be using my Greek for a long time after this (or at least, that's the plan--whether it actually happens or not will be revealed at a later date). And I'm actually looking forward to our Pauline Studies and Greek Readings courses, etc. because that's where the real interpretation and debate will happen!

The New Testament is full of things that could be disputed. For instance, when we translate from Greek to English the phrase "the love of God," it could mean two things: 1) God's love for us, or 2) our love for God. Well, which is it? When something is stated like, "the love of God will save us," which meaning does it take? I tend to think more of #1 than #2, but perhaps it's a combination of both? Very interesting, and this leads to much theological discussion and even debate among translators. I like Martin Luther's words regarding the importance of learning the original languages of the Bible:

"In proportion then as we value the gospel, let us zealously hold to the languages. For it was not without purpose that God caused his Scriptures to be set down in these two languages alone--the Old Testament in Hebrew, the new in Greek. Now if God did not despise them but chose them above all others for his word, then we too ought to honor them above all the others. . .And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held. . ."
(from "To the Councilmen of all Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools")

Cool thoughts. I highly doubt that I would ever study Greek if I were not required to in seminary, but now I'm encouraging all of my friends to take it at some point in life. It opens up the doors to an ancient language written by ancient church fathers--I like to imagine Paul (or another author, depending on which book I'm reading) writing what I'm reading and it just feels cool. And, as many probably know, Paul was one fiery personality, so his writings have an entirely fresh feel when read in Greek. For example, in Philippians 3:8, Paul talks about how he considers everything in his life a loss because he gains Christ. He refers to all other things that do not represent Christ in his life as "rubbish." I learned today (from a friend, not the prof, so maybe I'm mistaken. . .) that the word Paul used that has been translated into English as "rubbish" was actually the Greek word that is pronounced "scuba," which literally means "shit." Strong words! He considers everything shit so that he may gain Christ! Reminds me of Luther, another strong-worded theologian, who once said that we humans are shit covered with snow. Em and I used to playfully argue about that; I love it because it's very true, and it emphasizes grace rather than our worthiness.

Anyway. Tonight should be a somewhat quiet evening, which will be nice. Then tomorrow I'm going to see Robby Rob. :) Can't wait. Hope all is well with you, my friends!


Blogger j kelly said...

Well, this is my first comment to your blog. I'm excited to see you are in seminary. I am excited to see that you are learning Greek and questioning the norms and delving deeper than ever. I am going to continue to be an avid reader of your blog. Your path is one I somewhat covet. One into a deeper faith. It's very interesting.

Plus you write well, you're insightful, and you're funny. I enjoy all that too!

11:08 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

Hey, great entry. I read part of it aloud to Ryan last night and it was cracking me up... I love it when God makes us laugh!

6:52 AM  
Blogger eshinee said...

I didn't know that you had a Robby too! :)

I'll try not wear you out this week. Likely, I'll be too busy trying to remember my own Greek to pick on anyone else's.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Tamber said...

The word Paul uses for "rubbish" is indeed "shit" in English. Steve once explained this to me, and I know that he has been reading the Greek for quite some time now. I am thinking about taking it up myself. When you read a text in another language, it forces you to take your time, savor the words, and glean even more from the text. I cannot imagine what I would be able to learn from God if I could take that kind of time with His Word.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

I don't really have much to comment on...just wanted to let you know that I love you!

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one pronounce "tetelestai?"

3:12 AM  

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