Learning a language is hard. As someone who grew up speaking Spanish even now, learning a new language is proving to be difficult. Throw in a language in which relatively few people speak today, and you’ve got quite the learning curve on your hands. Thanks to the modern advancements in technology and the increasing interest in Koine Greek, learning no longer has to be a chore.
Koine, the Greek word for “common” was spoken largely among the armies of Alexander the Great. Though many scholars are unsure of the roots, it is agreed that this is the language most commonly used during the times in which Jesus of Nazareth lived. This, among many other reasons, allowed the written and spoken word to travel across the Continent of Asia largely unhindered.
So how can we understand a language used by Jesus and his disciples? Why would even want to do so? I’m convinced that the answer to this question comes in the form of an attack on the very Scriptures which Christians hold to today. Whether the attack be from an Arminian viewpoint in the distortion of the Atonement or something more subtle like a conversation with a Mormon Elder, Christians must know the text in order to be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter3:15 ESV)
Greek for Everyone: Introductory Greek for Bible Study and Application seeks to make this preparation possible for Christians across the learning spectrum. This is an immensely useful tool for those in the church who feel ill prepared to face attacks leveled against us from all angles. Not only are lay leaders getting an adequate training in the dominant language in the New Testament, they are being prepared for ministry outside the walls of the church.
Whether it be an attack on the nature of the Trinity or the fact of Jesus’ divinity, knowing the nature of the language and the nuances of thought portrayed in the NT will be a very helpful tool in the arsenal of the believer. Surely this has implications for our theology, but it goes much deeper, to our need for an apologia (or defense) of the gospel itself.
As I sit under teachers like James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries, though not more so than my own pastor, I am noticing that a deeper point of reference is needed for refuting the errors of modern heresy. Not only is the study of biblical languages lacking in the church as a whole, it is to our downfall, that we are missing the nuance of what the text is saying and therefore going after idle words and ideas.
Points of Contact for our Students
What I’m not saying here is that every single believer in the church should have a working knowledge of Koine Greek, though that would be useful. I am saying that those in the preaching and teaching of the word should be well versed in the text in order to expound rightly the message for those under them. Our students are hungry for a deeper understanding of the text of Scripture beyond the “what it means for me” attitude. They must connect thought for thought and trace that thread through the OT through the final revelation of God in Christ and on to the Eschaton. This Greek for Everyone tool can be a great start for those students ready to take a bigger leap into the immense ocean that is God’s word.