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Michael Kruger on Whether It Is a Waste of Time to Learn Biblical Languages . . .

A few weeks ago, a new crop of seminary students began the grueling month-long experience of Summer Greek. And, like all seminary students before them, they will begin to ask the question of why studying these ancient languages even matters. After all, a few years after graduation all will be forgotten. In the midst of a busy pastoral life, who could possibly maintain proficiency in the languages? READ MORE...

I would like to add something to this topic. I am frequently asked which beginning Greek grammar should I begin with. I actually first recommend a primer on modern linguistics before they take biblical languages. Morphology and syntax are needed of course to learn Hebrew and Greek, but I would rather have a pastor or seminary student read this one book first before they study a written language such as Koine Greek:

God, Language, and Scripture: Reading the Bible in the Light of General Linguistics. by Moises Silva.

This book is an antidote for the most common interpretive biblical fallacy: maximalism. Silva’s book will reinforce that you should not interpret a morpheme, word, phrase, clause, sentence, or even a paragraph in isolation. Rather, one should interpret in light of a discourse. Most people know this, but most people do not do this. Fundamental modern linguistic principles is what every student and pastor needs to grasp in order to avoid omnipresent fallacies and thus capture God’s message in a deeper accurate way.

In a forthcoming volume, I contributed a chapter responding to the fallacy of linguistic maximalism entitled: “James Barr on the ‘Illegitimate Totality Transfer’ Word-Concept Fallacy.” I wrote:

Moisés Silva makes this point from his own experience:

“In my own preaching during the past twenty-five years, explicit references to Greek and Hebrew have become less and less frequent. But that hardly means I have paid less attention to the languages or that they have become less significant in my work of interpretation. Quite the contrary. It’s just that coming up with those rich ‘exegetical nuggets’ is not necessarily where the real, substantial payoff lies.”[1]

Here is a lesson for pastors, that seasoned language reflection is typically behind the scene in sermon prep, supporting the message. Scattered “golden nuggets” may preach well, but are not well preached.

[1] Silva, God, Language, and Scripture, 144.

The beginning Greek grammars I recommend are those that are not stuck in 19th century German philology (and they are still out there!); rather, I recommend those that have incorporated modern linguist theory into Koine Greek grammar.

 

The E Newsletter Begins Wednesday February 14

For over a year now we have had some wonderful ladies volunteering to scan, proofread and reformat work from the early days of Alpha and Omega Ministries. They have been pouring through a gold mine of tracts and information sheets that covered a wide variety of issues. Many are unaware that in the late 80’s and early 90’s we produced and mailed out a newsletter as well. Last week we announced the republishing of one such item which was our tract The Christian Message which has turned out to be quite a hit. How to reintroduce the tracts was an easy decision and I assure you that there is more where that came from, much more. But the information sheets were a different matter. They go much more into depth than a tract and need a different method of delivery. My first thought was to drop them on the website as posts and I can do that. But I wanted a more direct method of getting these gems to your doorstep and last month our good friend Mike O’Fallon brought an affordable mass mailing company to my attention. I suddenly realized that we could send a wide variety of publications directly to the inbox of folks who were genuinely interested in apologetics and I opened an account.

Many of you have already used the Newsletter Signup form and have been receiving the Dividing Line notices. Starting this coming Wednesday we will begin sending articles out to that mailing list. This will probably be a monthly newsletter because I don’t want to overwhelm anyone. I welcome your feedback on that matter via our Facebook page. If you haven’t signed up yet take a brief moment and click here and put your information in. I promise you, we will not abuse the privilege and if you decide that it isn’t for you it is easy to opt out. (Btw, the opt out actually works).

Please pray that this work of bringing forward these timeless gems will be blessed by the Lord.

Oh, just a little tease, the first Newsletter will be titled “Apologetics: Evangelism in the Secular World.”

Blessings

What Justin Martyr Actually Said, Transmission of the Text, Open Phones

Discussed Justin Martyr’s words in reference to Malachi 1:11 as found in his Dialogue with Trypho (in reference to a call from Tuesday), and then went over a textual critical issue relating to partial manuscripts.  Then we opened the phones and, as normal, covered a ton of topics, with a lot on the Trinity and the relationship of Father, Son and Spirit.

Here is the YouTube link:
Live Video Stream
The Dividing Line is on YouTube video. Our YouTube channel also provides videos of most of the debates that Dr. White has done over the years. Take some time and browse it to see if there is something there of interest to you. If you are looking for the next upcoming show be sure to subscribe to the blog as we post show announcements the morning of the show.

Open Lines on the Dividing Line

Did about twenty minutes on Jan Hus and the background of the Reformation, and then went to the phones for the first time in a long time.  A ton of questions on a wide, wide range of topics, such as the INC, Roman Catholicism, textual criticism, etc., finishing with a nearly 25 minute conversation with “Joe” who is flirting with Romanism.

Here is the YouTube link:
Live Video Stream
The Dividing Line is on YouTube video. Our YouTube channel also provides videos of most of the debates that Dr. White has done over the years. Take some time and browse it to see if there is something there of interest to you. If you are looking for the next upcoming show be sure to subscribe to the blog as we post show announcements the morning of the show.