The Importance of the Original Languages

Miles Van Pelt, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Academic Dean at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS speaks about the importance of the original languages for biblical study. Miles has helped produce several popular books and resources for original language study including Basics of Biblical Hebrew and Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew. Dr. Van Pelt encourages pastors and scholars to a renewed sense of the importance and efficacy of biblical study in Greek and Hebrew.
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photo by nyello8

Bibliography

Machen, J. New Testament Greek for Beginners. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004.

Pratico, Gary and Miles Van Pelt. Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar: Workbook. Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Van Pelt, Miles. Charts of Biblical Hebrew. Grand Rapids Mich.: Zondervan, 2007.

———. Graded Reader of Biblical Hebrew: A Guide to Reading the Hebrew Bible. Grand Rapids Mich.: Zondervan, 2006.

———. The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew. Grand Rapids Mich.: Zondervan, 2003.

Weingreen, J. A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1939.

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Hebrew Student

9 years ago

The Basics of Biblical Hebrew and Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew look like very useful books. Thanks for these new resources. It is essential for pastors and Bible scholars to understand the Hebrew text.

Chuck Bridgeland

9 years ago

HA!

Your guest answered a question I’ve had for a long time, and never got an answer for. I always wondered if “left him none that pisseth against a wall” in the KJV was accurate to the original Hebrew, and “killed all his male relatives” a modern obfuscation/translation/interpretation.

Seems a perfectly obvious expression to me.

Had 3 semesters of Koine, decades ago. Let it drop at some point, and am kicking myself now.

Chris E

9 years ago

Original languages are well worth learning, but “We were told to preach the Word, not a translation of the Word”, sounds more like something a Muslim would say than a Christian.

Paul – as an example – seems to have no problem quoting the LXX rather than any exant Hebrew text.

Everett

9 years ago

Great program! There are so many ways to keep up on one’s language ability. The new Bibleworks has the “Daily Light” devotional in Greek & Hebrew so you can read just a little each day. I am still using the languages as tools but my hope is that one day I will be able to read them as a language that I know as well as English.

Keep up the great broadcasts!

Chris

9 years ago

I’m a little taken aback by Dr. Van Pelt’s statement to the effect that people who work in the original languages really don’t need commentaries, and that he doesn’t believe there are that many good commentaries out there.

It seems to me that it is the bane of conservative Christianity (not excluding the Reformed world) to often miss the proverbial forest for the trees. One thing I have appreciated about theological liberal commentators is their sensitivity to theological themes that conservatives apparently miss. I know that even when I graduated from Westminster California, while I could translate a passage and do word studies from the Greek or Hebrew, I still struggled with recognizing structure.

For a list of commentaries, see Jim Dennison’s resource here: http://nwts.edu/commentaries.pdf What I appreciate about his list is (C) for conservative, (L) for liberal, (Disp) for dispensational, (Theonomic), (Very helpful on structure), and all the other editorial comments he makes. He seems to be asking the same question as John Fesko: “Where’s Christ?” – and he also seems to be looking for resources that will help preachers preach Him.

Camden Bucey

9 years ago

I agree with you. I think I understood where Dr. Van Pelt was coming from, but commentaries can be very helpful provided they’re not used as a crutch. If nothing else, they help to make sure you have all your bases covered.

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9 years ago

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Paul

9 years ago

Machen has a great essay on this topic. “The Minister and His Greek Testament” found in his selected shorter writings.

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Brad

9 years ago

I started Greek in undergrad. Never finished. I am a layman. What about the online courses? Some appear to be very comprehensive with lots of interactive activities, tests and even instructor interaction. Concordia Seminary appears to have a good beginners online course. Do you know of any others that you would suggest for those of us that don’t live across the street from WTS, WSCal, RTS, etc.? What ones would you suggest?

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Dan Porter

6 years ago

I still attempt to work out the exegesis on my own. Then, when I need help with understanding, I turn to a few select commentaries. More helpful still is to do an ATLA search and find papers written on the passage. Dr. Van Pelt, is there an online forum where people can go to interact and find help translating?

Dan Porter

6 years ago

I still try to work out an exegesis on my own. Then, when I want further input to help my understanding, I turn to a few select commentaries, or better still, do an ATLA search on the passage and look at papers written. Dr. Van Pelt, is there a forum where people can interact about passages, check their exegesis, etc.?

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