Tool 7: Bible Language

Lesson ▪ 1997
Tags: Bible; Language; Hebrew; Greek
Excerpted from Bridging the Gap: Developing Tools for Better Bible Understanding



One of the largest gaps to be bridged in successful Bible interpretation is that of language. The magnitude of the language barrier is made plain by familiarity with the principles of linguistics.

Translation is a complex procedure. There are a variety of approaches to it. In the end, however, translators agree that the aim of translation is to preserve in the translation the meaning of the original.

The nature and this problem being understood, a question must be confronted: To what degree must the common interpreter seek to learn about the original languages of the Bible? To this a variety of responses could be given.

It is obvious that the average layman will not pursue formal theological training. There is no easy answer to the matter that has been posed here. It is certain that a minimal linguistic knowledge is essential. Training in the original languages, while not always feasible, is desirable. A working conclusion is that each interpreter ought to seek out as much information as he or she can reasonably assimilate. This should include at least a functional knowledge of Greek and Hebrew reference helps that can be used by a common English reader.
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