SEEK THE CONTEXT: Biblical Texts, Language, Cultural Background & Meaning. Context Changes Everything!

Beyond English Bible IV : Reading the Original

Beyond English Bible IV : Reading the Original

Can you read the Bible in the original languages? Yes, anyone can! Well, if you don’t know how, you can certainly learn… And there is a way to do that without taking many years to learn Greek and Hebrew. Don’t get me wrong some study is required, just not years and years necessarily. 

If your goal is to read the Bible in original languages then simply learn how to read Hebrew and Greek. No, I am not suggesting you master these languages completely. I am merely proposing you learn their alphabets and the reading rules that go with them. It will not happen in one day, but if you already learned how to read one language you can add a couple more. You just need some guidance in understanding the rules and some rudimentary memorization.

If your goal is to merely master reading, then you do not need to know how the grammar works. You do not need to memorize vocabulary lists, paradigms, and endings. Just develop your ability to read Hebrew and Greek and even if you barely orient yourself in those languages and you will be able to do so much more with your Bible study. The language tools like Lexicon Dictionaries and Concordances I have been explaining in other articles will make much more sense. You will also be able to use Interlinear Bibles with greater ease.

For example, I have put together an online course just like that here. It is very easy step-by-step, self-paced method that gets you reading quick. You can also try courses by others here.

This path is clearly a “second best” in comparison to learning the language properly with grammar and vocabulary. Nothing is as good as that and nothing will compare to traditional full-length language courses. But being able to make out words and read even slowly will give you access to language tools not available to those who cannot read Greek and Hebrew at all. This would be a significant advantage.

A whole world of dictionaries and language resources will suddenly open up to you if you can read original languages. There are many dictionaries that can only be used by those who can look up words in the original languages. I shared about a few resources that accommodate those who do not read Greek and Hebrew already. But just knowing how to read in Hebrew and Greek is enough expertise to be able to use them and go far beyond them.

Pinchas

I am an educator, researcher, a faculty member and an avid believer in online education. My specialties are Sacred Texts and Cultures (Second Temple period, early Judaism and nascent Christianity). I am passionate about meaning, context, and cultural transmission of ancient texts. My preoccupations with history, ancient languages and contextual interpretation often find expression in my blog posts. Every human has a pretext, every message has a context. Context changes everything! Enjoy reading.


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