Why Study the Koine Greek Language with Peter Watts

MitchellMitchell Posts: 640
edited February 3 in Biblical Studies

Disclaimer My posting/linking of the video above does not constitute an endorse of the 'all' the opinions contain therein on my part. This video is posted only for the sake of illustrating various opinions on the subject matter.

Post edited by Mitchell on
«13

Comments

  • God brings His Word to us in our language. We are not told to learn another language to know God.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 640


    Christian are also not told to sit in pews, have a pulpit, have paid ministers, wear western dress suits, drive to our congregations, use microphones, modern printed Bibles, use study Bibles, use Bible software, printed hymnals, have Sunday schools, Wednesday night bible study classes, use musical instruments, have a sound system in a congregation, and so on and on... We can know God without any of those! Yet, that does not render those tools useless, or pointless.

    Can one know God without knowledge of Biblical language? Of course, but that in of itself does not make fluency in Biblical language useless.

  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 234
    edited September 11

    Learning another language will not help you know and understand God better.

    That is not how it happens.

    God says we will get understanding and know Him if we obey Him.

    I believe that people who study Greek and try to turn the English back to the Greek are usually further from the truth.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    Would you please explain what you have in mind with "God brings His Word to us in our language"? To what are you referring?

    Translated Bibles (done by God-inspired translators) if the Biblical Scriptures are regarded as His Word?

    Teachers who teach and expound Biblical Scriptures in our language?

    God Himself teaching people His Word individually independent of Bibles in some direct manner?

    Something else?

  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 234
    edited September 13

    Hi Wolfgang, nice to see you; it has been so long since I have been here. I think I thought no one came to post anymore is why it has been so long since I have been here.

    Just because someone translated the Bible it doesn't mean the person was inspired. It just means they know English and Greek, or have a dictionary with both languages.

    It is good to have someone fluent in both languages translate the Bible, but that is not what is going on, because most people aren't even that educated in English, let alone fluent in Greek, and, not just Greek, but the ancient Greek.

    In addition, it would have been good if the people who translate are also inspired, but we know that they are not, for we have Catholics, Morons, JW's, Calvinists, etc, translating the Bible, yet coming up with different doctrines.

    We can see from Bible translations, for instance, that saying anyone who 'obeys' my commands is a better translation than anyone who 'keeps' my commands. There are people who have argued against me that 'obeys' and 'keeps' are not the same thing, as if all the person had to do is stash Jesus' commands somewhere and believe them then they are saved without actually doing what he commanded. So saying 'keep' or 'obey' means the same thing, except that the person looking to be saved would do better to be told to obey rather than keep.

    God had people speak His word in languages of the listeners during the laying of the foundation. In addition, people spoke in tongues as a gift, and, Paul spoke more than one language naturally.

    When you heard scriptures you did not hear them in another language, you heard them in your language. When Catholics used to only speak the scriptures in Latin, it was a sin to do such a thing, they wanted to keep the people at their mercy to have God's words spoken to them even in a language they did not understand, and, they trusted the Catholic priests and nuns to then teach what God's words mean.

     When someone gets an English Bible nowadays, they have the scriptures written in the English they can understand; but what then do they do? They get words written in English, then look up that English word to see what it means in Greek. It is an endless arguing about words that don’t matter.

    God gives understanding to those who obey Him, not to those who have studied English, and back to Greek, then English again.

    Post edited by YourTruthGod on
  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod thank you for your further thoughts. However, I could not find a real answer to the question I asked. Yes, you mentioned some important thoughts about translations, but to me it is not clear what you mean with your statement "God brings His Word to us in our language", unless you mean that God does so by means of Bible translations. But then, you mention problems with translations and that there are not only so many different ones but also incorrect ones.

    So then, how would one know what God actually has revealed in order to obey what God has revealed if translations are in fact unreliable?

    As for your point of a difference between "to keep" and "to obey" ... do you realize that the word "to keep" has quite a number of different meanings depending on the context in which it is used? . Is it wrong to speak of "to keep a job"? how about "to keep commandments"? or "to keep the faith"? or "to keep something safely stored away"?

    Does "to keep" only have that one meaning which you seem to have had in mind when trying to make a difference between "to obey commandments" and "to keep commandments"? The expression "to keep a commandment" does equal "to do what the commandment asks", it is equals "to obey the commandment" !!! There is no error in speaking of "keep commandment" or "obey commandment" when meaning "to do what the commandment commands to do"! The error would be in understanding "to keep" with a meaning from a totally different context (such as "to keep books on a shelf") when speaking of "to keep commandments"

  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 234
    edited September 14

     

    @YourTruthGod thank you for your further thoughts.

    You’re welcome.  


    However, I could not find a real answer to the question I asked.

    Could you just make your question clearer then?

    Yes you mentioned some important thoughts about translations, but to me it is not clear what you mean with your statement "God brings His Word to us in our language", unless you mean that God does so by means of Bible translations.

    God brings Bible translations to us in our language, andpreachers such as myself who speak in your language.


    But then, you mention problems with translations and that there are not only so many different ones but also incorrect ones.

    Well only the stubborn and rebellious will have a problem with things like ‘obey’ and ‘keep’.

    I do want to point out though that I use KJV along with NIV and NET, etc.

    It helps to have a Bible written in your English and not just old time King James English.


    So then, how would one know what God actually has revealed in order to obey what God has revealed if translations are in fact unreliable?

    Because a person can read what Jesus says in the Bible and do it.

    For instance, Jesus says repent of your sins. So then repent of your sins.

    When Jesus saves you he give the Holy Spirit, and understanding is given.


    As for your point of a difference between "to keep" and "to obey" ... do you realize that the word "to keep" has quite a number of different meanings depending on the context in which it is used? . Is it wrong to speak of "to keep a job"? how about "to keep commandments"? or "to keep the faith"? or "to keep something safely stored away"?

    I am concentrating on the life saving commandment of obey Jesus’ teachings.

    Does "to keep" only have that one meaning which you seem to have had in mind when trying to make a difference between "to obey commandments" and "to keep commandments"? The expression "to keep a commandment" does equal "to do what the commandment asks", it is equals "to obey the commandment" !!! There is no error in speaking of "keep commandment" or "obey commandment" when meaning "to do what the commandment commands to do"! The error would be in understanding "to keep" with a meaning from a totally different context (such as "to keep books on a shelf") when speaking of "to keep commandments"

    God wants us obey Jesus’ teachings, not only keep them on a shelf. 

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod

    God wants us obey Jesus’ teachings, not only keep them on a shelf.

    Problem is very simply that in this context "to keep commandments" carries the same meaning as "to obey commandments".

    Some examples from many (!) in the OT scriptures (quoted from KJV):

    Lev 22:31   Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I [am] the LORD.

    Deu 6:2   That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.

    Take a careful look at what Jesus said (quoted from KJV):

    Mk 7,9   And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

    Joh 14,15   If ye love me, keep my commandments.

    Jesus did not use the word "obey" but he used the word "keep" ... did Jesus mean "keep my commandments (the words he spoke) on a shelf"??? Obviously NOT ... especially so, since those disciples to whom he spoke of course did not have Jesus' commandments/words in a form that could be put on a shelf.

    The problem is NOT with Jesus using the word "keep" rather than "obey" in these occasions. And the problem is NOT with translators translating Jesus' words correctly as "keep" rather than changing Jesus' words to "obey" ... The problem is with you as a reader misinterpreting Jesus' words "keep" in these contexts and giving "to keep" a meaning (such as "keep/put {on a shelf}") which Jesus did not have in mind when he used the expression "keep my commandments", and then you "correcting" your mistake in understanding the word "keep" by claiming that it should actually be "obey my commandments" rather than "keep my commandments".

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod wrote:

    God brings Bible translations to us in our language, andpreachers such as myself who speak in your language.

    So then, if God supposedly brings Bible translations and preachers to us, how can it be that those "God brought" translations and preachers are not all correct and true .... or are they?

    Well only the stubborn and rebellious will have a problem with things like ‘obey’ and ‘keep’.

    Well, I would have to consider you to be rather stubborn since you produce such a problem with your interpretation of God's instructions as well as Jesus' instructions that Followers should KEEP the commandments. You make God as well as Jesus out to be incorrect by using the term "to keep" in connection with commandments.

    I do want to point out though that I use KJV along with NIV and NET, etc.

    It helps to have a Bible written in your English and not just old time King James English.

    Well, I read English Bible translations, I read German Bible translations, I sometimes read Greek NT passages ... and - being bi-lingual - I write and teach in both English and German.

    @Wolfgang So then, how would one know what God actually has revealed in order to obey what God has revealed if translations are in fact unreliable?

    @YourTruthGod Because a person can read what Jesus says in the Bible and do it.

    Yes, a person can read the text ... but "can you read?" is not the deciding question !! Remember the record in Acts 8 about the eunuch traveling back from Jerusalem on his way home and reading from Isaiah?

    Apg 8,30-31 (KJV) 

    And Philip ran thither to [him], and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest ?

    And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

    The question to ask is rather: "Do you understand what you read?" Obviously, it is possible to read and not understand or misunderstand what one reads ... So what happens if someone doesn't understand or falsely understands and interprets what they read? They will subsequently preach wrongly and practice wrongly

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 640

    @YourTruthGod wrote: Learning another language will not help you know and understand God better.

    The above is a 'straw man' argument.

    For, no one on this thread claimed that one could know God better by learning another language.


    However, one can know foreign language literature better by reading in the original over reading it translation. This includes the canon commonly called Holy Scripture as well.

  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 234
    edited September 15

    To 'keep' my commandments is the same as 'obey' my commandments.

    There is no such thing as Jesus' teachings being keep them and not obeying them.

  • The eunuch had to have it explained to him because the foundation was just being laid an there weren't any letters and books for him to read.

    We have to get Jesus' teachings from the Bible and obey them.

    Jesus gives understanding to those who obey his teachings.

  • You just contradicted yourself.

    No one has to read the original.

    People do say one should learn Greek.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 640

    What contradiction?

    (1) One 'can' know God without the study of Language.

    (2) One 'can' also know something about God apart from the Scriptures see Romans 1:19-32.

    (3) One however 'can' learn more about theology from the study of the Scriptures.

    (3) One 'can' also study literature (the scriptures) in his or her translation.

    (4) One however 'can' also know literature (The Scriptures) closer in it's original language or languages.

    Do any of the above contradict? If so where? Does any one have to do the above? Of course not, all the above are choices that people are free to make or to reject.


    POST SCRIPT...............................................

    Question: Could I know about you or anyone else on these forums had I not acquired English?

    Answer: sure. Someone could translate your comments into my mother tongue or even that of the country I have been living in for last 20 years.

    However, because I have acquired English I can understand your words in the language you used and I can understand subtleties like 'mood', 'voice', and word choice much better than if I had used a translation. I can know exactly what you said because I know English.


    It is a matter of love for me. Because I love my wife early on I learned her language and culture to know her and here family in a closer and to pick up on nuances that would be lost in translation. Her parents only know Japanese so because I wanted to have a relationship with them I learned their language. The same is true of the Scriptures, as a young lad I study the Tanakh (or the OT) in Hebrew. I could have done so in another language but I am glad I did so in Hebrew to know them from first hand knowlge rather than from 2nd or 3rd hand. When I became a Christian I decided to do the same with Greek. I did not have to any of those things, but I did so out of love.



    Grace and Peace

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod To 'keep' my commandments is the same as 'obey' my commandments.

    Oh oh ...this is what I have been saying and writing all along. In contrast, YOU have insisted earlier on that "keep my commandments" was not the same as "obey my commandments", which is the opposite of what you now write. Good to see the change in your comments.

  • You did it again, you contradicted yourself again.

    You made a a case for learning another language to know God better, but your problem is that it is not truth from God.

    If learning another language, Greek, helped us to know God better, then it would be in the Bible.

    We don't get to know God better that way.

    The only way to get to know God is to obey HIm.

    John 14:21 The person who has my commandments and obeys them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him." 

    1 John 2:4 Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.

  • I have done no such thing. Go reread my posts.

    I said there are people who argue that 'keep' Jesus' commands does not mean to obey those commands.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 640

    @YourTruthGod claimed: You did it again, you contradicted yourself again.You made a a case for learning another language to know God better


    No where did I ever make such an assertion.

    what I did however stated numerous times was that one can gain a better understanding of the Scriptures through reading them in the original. The scriptures simply put are literature they are not a god, but rather are inspired by God.


    @YourTruthGod stated: If learning another language, Greek, helped us to know God better, then it would be in the Bible.

    Yes! And as the Tanakh (or the OT) was written in Hebrew, Hebrew is not only in the Bible it is a very big part of the Bible’s identity! The same is equally true of koine Greek in the case of the NT. As the Bible was written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek there was no need to make the command to read them in those languages because the first read had no choice but to read them in the original. Today we do have choice, but no matter what choice we make I hope we all keep in mind that a translation is simply an interpretation of an original text, document, or saying.


    Grace and Peace

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    I went and re-read your posts ... and found that you communicated exactly what I mentioned .... or else you communicated in a rarther unclear manner that was easily misunderstood.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod The only way to get to know God is to obey HIm.

    The difficulty is that quite obviously various Bible translations at times have quite different wordings of even the same verses.

    Now, how do you know or determine which of the differing English translations to take as correct and therefore God's Words / God's commands / God's truth in order to believe and obey? What is your way of determining truth from error in translations? Or do you consider one English version to be the correct one and all others which translate differently as in error? If so, what would be the basis for such an opinion?

  • No, one NOT gain a better understanding of the Scriptures through reading them in the original.

    The only way to gain better understanding of the scripture is through obeying God's word.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod The only way to gain better understanding of the scripture is through obeying God's word.

    And my questions remain: How do you determine and know which translation (for example, in English) is the correct one that indeed gives you God's Word and not an incorrect translation idea or human dogma influenced text wording? How do you obey God's Word if you actually obey a man-made dogma from an incorrect translation?? If one wants to obey God's Word one would have to first have God's Word ... or can you obey God when you have error rather than truth in the text which you think is God's Word??

    It seems to me that you are talking about the second step without taking the first step whereas others here (such as Mitchell and I) are speaking about the first step (determining between true text and incorrect translation).

  • No matter which English translation, one can read what Jesus says to do to be saved. Just do what he says, even if you don't understand why. Jesus gives understanding after you do what he says.

    Proverbs 3:5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

    6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.


    I do have preferred translations though. I don't like the translations that are translated by Catholics only, or JW translated, or Calvinist only.

    I like the NIV because people from many different beliefs came together to translate it, and the NET, and Holman.

    I always have a KJV though, and would not be without it for deep study, even though it isn't in nowadays English.

    I don't like to read from the New King James Version.

    What is your preferred translation?

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821
    edited September 18

    @YourTruthGod#t What is your preferred translation?

    Your question doesn't specify in which regard "preferred", such as preferred for accuracy? for readability by children? for text comparison? etc.??

    As part of my Logos Bible software, I have currently 10 German Bibles, 9 English Bibles, 1 French Bible, and several Gr NT versions plus 1 LXX Old Testament placed and readily available on my laptop layout.

    Just for some devotional reading, I sometimes use an English, sometimes a German Bible ... when studying Bible to learn about a certain topic, or question, I might start out using Luther Bible, or perhaps NASB, and then compare other translations as the study develops. If questions arise concerning the meaning of a passage or words used in a passage, I will consider Greek texts to check and learn myself what translators had as their source text from which they translated and to learn why they translated the way they did.

    I consider NONE of the translations in any language to be without flaw and error free ... but I do believe that by comparing and going back to the source texts underlying translations -- for example, Greek texts and manuscripts -- one can in by far most cases determine which translation possibly reflects and provides the originally God inspired text.

    Thus I think it is a tremendous help to know biblical languages to some degree in order to responsibly make one's own decision on difficult passages. If one does not have such knowledge, one is limited entirely to others' interpretations, such as the interpretation given in a translation by the translator

  • You didn't mention anything about receiving understanding from Jesus by obeying Jesus.

    I think studying Greek and or Hebrew will do nothing for better understanding:and, there is nothing in the Bible telling us to learn the language in which the scriptures are written so that you will have understanding.

    Do you leave in Germany or America? I am full blooded German. I wish my parents would have taught it to me as a child.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod You didn't mention anything about receiving understanding from Jesus by obeying Jesus.

    I consider the following scriptures concerning understanding the Scriptures to be of importance

    Eph 3,3-4 (KJV)

    How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

    Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

    The one who received knowledge and understanding by means of direct communication / revelation was the apostle Paul. The members of the church then subsequently are told to READ (!!) and by reading to gain understanding.

    In order to gain true understanding of the truth of Scripture one must first read and get true knowledge ... when you have a faulty translation which - for example, gives an error in translation - you will end up in false understanding as you would do false things.

    I think studying Greek and or Hebrew will do nothing for better understanding:and, there is nothing in the Bible telling us to learn the language in which the scriptures are written so that you will have understanding.

    As I pointed out, studying Greek and/or Hebrew will provide a person with the means of detecting translation errors and give a person the possibility to not have to rely solely on others in order to learn what the Scripture text in their language actually says or should have.

    Do you leave in Germany or America? I am full blooded German. I wish my parents would have taught it to me as a child.

    I have lived in both countries ... I am married to a girl from Texas, we've now lived in Germany (where I grew up) for 40 years. Thus I get daily practice in both languages, in addition to have been linguistically trained and worked for years as a translator for both languages in either direction.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,821

    @YourTruthGod You didn't mention anything about receiving understanding from Jesus by obeying Jesus.

    How do you receive understanding from Jesus by obeying Jesus? Is this something peculiar to you? Does the understanding only pertain to the particular command you obey ? How would this apply to what Jesus commanded the disciples as we read in Mt 5:29-30?

    Mt 5:29-30 (KJV)

    29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

    Now, I also would say that reading these commands in Greek rather than English or German won't really help to better understand what Jesus commanded .... So then, how does Jesus give you understanding from obeying these commands ?

    You can possibly imagine that I pray that you never have been in a situation where your eye or your hand offended thee ...

  • @Wolfgang

    I consider the following scriptures concerning understanding the Scriptures to be of importance

    Eph 3,3-4 (KJV)

    How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

    Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

    The one who received knowledge and understanding by means of direct communication / revelation was the apostle Paul. The members of the church then subsequently are told to READ (!!) and by reading to gain understanding.

    Paul wouldn’t even have gotten saved if he didn’t obey Jesus first, let alone receive understanding.

    In order to gain true understanding of the truth of Scripture one must first read and get true knowledge ... when you have a faulty translation which - for example, gives an error in translation - you will end up in false understanding as you would do false things.

     

    No one gets understanding and truth and knowledge by just reading the scriptures.

    There are many who read the Bible and read it many times, even translate it, but don’t have understanding. If reading the Bible gave understanding of God, yet they did not obey Him, God says they are liars.

    1 John 2:4  Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.

    As I pointed out, studying Greek and/or Hebrew will provide a person with the means of detecting translation errors and give a person the possibility to not have to rely solely on others in order to learn what the Scripture text in their language actually says or should have.

     Obeying Jesus and getting understanding from him is because you obeyed and it is what matters; and, having the KJV, a version from someone who feared God helps.

    I have lived in both countries ... I am married to a girl from Texas, we've now lived in Germany (where I grew up) for 40 years. Thus I get daily practice in both languages, in addition to have been linguistically trained and worked for years as a translator for both languages in either direction.

    My mom is from Amberg. I’ve been there a long time ago to visit, and Darmstadt where family lived. I really loved it in Germany, but the Germans did not like the Americans, even though my mother was from Germany.

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 640

    @YourTruthGod stated: The only way to gain better understanding of the scripture is through obeying God's word.

    One can only obey God's word if one has correctly understood God's word. This is why it is far more important to know what the original language scripture said rather than how a particular translation has interpreted the scriptures. Does everyone have to be fluent in the original languages? No, for course not, but everyone should have some interest in what the texts say in the original because it is only the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Scriptures that are inspired. The various translations no matter how good one believes they are at the end of the day are simply interpretations (and opinions) of sacred Scripture.


    @YourTruthGod stated: No, one NOT gain a better understanding of the Scriptures through reading them in the original.

    The above is incorrect! Do you understand communication better by listening to an interpretation via a third party or by paying close attention to the wording, grammar, and syntax of the original document or speaker? Of course, first-hand knowledge is superior in accuracy to 2nd, just and 2nd hand knowledge is superior to 3rd, or fourth hand.


    @YourTruthGod claimed: but the Germans did not like the Americans

    (QUESTION 1) To whom does "the Germans" refer to:


    (a) All Germans or 100% of those who hold German nationality

    (b) Random individuals in German that you encountered during your stay in the country.

    (c) Germans that you encouterd that were unable to speak your language?

    (d) German that you encounterd that were unwilling to speak your language?

    (e) Germans that you encountered that were unhappy with the American Government?

    (f) Germans that you encountered that were unhappy with the typical or stereotypical attitude of the American tourist?

    (g) Your relatives or extended family?

    (h) two or more of the above?

    (i) Other?


    (QUESTION 2) What make you feel that "the Germans" (whoever they are?) at one time in the past did not like Americans?



    Grace and Peace

  • YourTruthGodYourTruthGod Posts: 234
    edited September 19

    A person who obeys Jesus will stop sinning and not have to pluck out their eye or cut off their hand.

    A person who doesn't obey won't do right by getting sin out of their life and if they don't obey, they sure aren't going to pluck out their ey or cut off their hand.

Sign In or Register to comment.