Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why learn Hebrew and Greek? by Dr. Rod Decker

The following is reprinted with permission from Paraklesis, a publication of Baptist Bible Seminary. The article first appeared in the Summer ‘09 issue.

Why learn Hebrew and Greek?

I want to address just one facet of the question in this essay. The primary purpose of Baptist Bible Seminary is to train pastors. We have made a deliberate choice to focus on only one narrow slice of graduate-level biblical-theological education. I am thinking first and foremost of the pastor when I think of the place of the biblical languages in the curriculum. In its biblical portrait, the central focus in pastoral ministry is the public proclamation of the Word of God. There are certainly other aspects of pastoral ministry, but it can be no less than preaching if it is to be a biblical pastoral ministry.

How does preaching relate to the biblical languages?

I have some serious concerns about the state of the pulpit these days. My concern could be stated fairly well by adapting the wording of 1 Sam. 3:1 and suggesting that biblical preaching is rare in our day, and a word from God is infrequently heard from our pulpits. Some of today’s best known preachers echo the same sentiment. John Stott, for example, says that “true Christian preaching…is extremely rare in today’s Church.”1

As those who stand in the pulpit and open the Word of God to a local congregation, pastors have the same charge as that with which Paul charged Timothy: “Preach the Word” (2 Tim 4:2). That is an awesome responsibility. The apostle Peter reminds us that “if anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God” (1 Pet 4:11). read more»

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