Friday, April 04, 2014

When Learning Greek Isn't Enough

I like Andy Crouch's reflection on his initial motivations and initial disappointments when learning Greek (in his latest CT editorial).

He tells the story of how in High School he interacted with a missionary named Dan who knew Greek and helped him grow in biblical knowledge. So, Andy learned Greek in part because he wanted to by like Dan. His first realization was that NT Koine Greek is not the same as Classical Greek. He continues:

More disturbing, while my facility with Greek was growing fast, my spiritual life seemed to be changing far too slowly. Perhaps most alarming was realizing that much of the New Testament was far too easy to translate. When Jesus says, "Take up your cross and follow me," what that means in the original Greek is—well, "Take up your cross and follow me." It was not understanding the meaning, but obeying it, that was hard.

My adolescent self had latched onto something Dan carried—his well-worn Greek New Testament—as a substitute for what I was really looking for. Dan was a follower, who invited us kids into a deep and real conversation about following. He was not just a student. He was a disciple.
Andy draws his reflection to a close by noting:
Information is not formation. And the real heart of the Bible is in its plainest texts, which are both the hardest and the best. To truly understand them, you don't need just a database. You also need a Dan.

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I also occasionally post annotations that I make as I read Cormac McCarthy at "Reading Cormac McCarthy."

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