Monday, July 23, 2007

Are you consistent in how you use Greek?

Something I have noticed a lot in the last 6 months is how people are often quick to use Greek to prove their point, but when someone else uses Greek to disprove their point they will say, "Well I don't think you need to know Greek to know what this means."

A JW came into my house a few weeks ago, and his opening line was, "In the classical Greek ...."
Now ignore for a minute that the New Testament was not written in classical Greek, but in Koine Greek,
When I then used the Koine Greek scriptures to show the errors in his New World Translation, and to prove the deity of Christ, he then told me that he didn't think we needed to know Greek to understand the scriptures.

This to me seems very inconsistent; he used Greek for his arguments, but would not allow me to use Greek for mine.

Sadly there are even Christians who inconsistently use Greek for their arguments, but ignoring it when it contradicts them.

Sometimes this comes from the human desire to not be wrong! But sometimes I think it comes from a belief that Greek is not really useful for knowing what the New Testament says.

I happen to believe that it is very important, but some believe it is not so important. Whatever our view point, we should be consistent in this, and either never use Greek, or use it and use it honestly.

I personally believe that the Greek of the Bible is incredibly important in knowing what it means because:

a) the words that God breathed-out theopneustos (2 Tim 3:16) were Greek words, and not English words.

b) All English translations contain an amount of interpretation in them.

c) Greek grammar does not always translate well into English, and so more clarity can be gained from reading the Greek.

Because of this view that I hold, I need to be consistent with it. I use Greek all the time to support my arguments, but if someone comes to me with an opposing argument that is based on the Greek, then I believe I need to examine it, rather than to say, "Well I don't think we should have to be able to read it in the Greek to understand that."

Please understand that I am not claiming that every argument someone makes from Greek is correct. My JW friend was incorrect in his understanding of the Greek word stauros. All I am saying is that the moment we start using Greek in our sermons, or our apologetics, then we need to be consistent with this.