I'll start with this confessional disclaimer: The knowledge of the original Biblical languages is somewhere in between essential and superfluous. The child of God who seriously desires to know more of God will certainly make progress in his knowledge and Christlikeness (and the two must go together) even if he lacks the formal tools to ferret out much of the finer meaning from God's Word. On the other hand, a person who has the opportunity to study more closely the riches of the revelation given to us would be lazy (and dare I say sinning?) if he made no effort to study God's Word in the original languages - at least to look up critical words that open up problem passages.
Here is the confessional part. During much of my backslidden years I often kept up on my Greek! This shows me two things: 1. It's not what you know, its Who you know (John 17:3). 2. My eyes were opened to the fact that there were many out there in Cyber-land, just like I was (hopefully past tense!), eager to split lexical hairs, but be far from the living God; digging up musty Greek roots, but far from the river of living water (Psalm 1).
I guess my concern here is that I always - and you too, Oh web browser, you : ) - never make the study of the words, a substitute for worshipful looking unto Jesus, our ISP (Intermediate Salvation Provider - 1st Timothy 2:5).
Speaking of roots, there has been a healthy change of view in how the original languages is being studied, Koine Greek especially. Most of the lexicons and other Bible helps before the 1970s tended to define words etymologically. The entire history of meanings of a word, as it shifted from meaning to meaning, was assumed to be part of the proper definition of the word as it appears in the Bible. This would be like insisting that if someone today used the word "dandelion" he intended to draw upon the image "tooth of a lion". Obviously most people use the word unconscious (or blissfully ignorant) of the original meaning. Thus in our study of Bible study of Bible words we need to ask ourselves: What did the Bible writers mean when they used this word? Not "How did the Attic Greeks/Mycenaeans/Sanskrit writers bandy this word around?" When I first read about this in Daniel Wallace's "Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics", it struck a resonant chord with me. I don't know why, in fact, this wasn't noticed sooner. Why should Bible writers have used language so differently than we do?
The works of Trench, Vine, Summers, Machen, Wuest, Robertson and many more are thus put in a provisionally helpful category. They are products of a time that had an unrealistic (diachronic) view of language - and language users. More helpful are the more recent scholars like Mounce and Daniel B. Wallace.
Articles involving Greek words: A few of these links may not work, the articles having been withdrawn due to my major change of view to the doctrines of grace and God's sovereignty and away from my former more man-centered teachings.
ELKW - "Draw"
OIKONOMIA, OIKONOMOS - "Dispensation"
AGGELWS - "Angel" (of each of the seven churches)
TERESW EK - "Kept from" (Rev. 3)
GREGOREO, BLEPO, AGRUPNEO, EGEIRO, SKOPEO, EPECHO, PROSECHO, TEREO, PARATEREO and PHULASSO - Various words for "watching".
GENEA, GENEA HAUTE - "Generation" and "this generation".
PAROUSIA - "Presence"
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Updated: July 12, 2005.
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