People like to talk about what the Bible means, sometimes even with reference to “the original Greek.” However, for readers and teachers of the Bible to access useful resources and make insightful observations about the meaning of a text without making regrettable errors, they need to understand how languages make meaning—and how Greek makes meaning. This course explores the world of human language: language theory and how it applies to understanding texts. It will also review English grammar—which many students were never taught—as a basis for understanding Greek grammar. This will enable students to be better prepared to engage with our main task: learning the basics of Greek, focusing on how the linguistic elements lead to meaningful and accurate interpretation. There will necessarily be some memorization of vocabulary and the three main paradigms (the article, nominal endings, verb endings), but this course will also significantly reduce the amount of memorization usually required in language learning, since the focus is on understanding and application. The first part of each class (Mangled Language and Theory) will be shared with the Hebrew 1 Introduction class since the concepts apply to both.
This course will appeal to two types of students:
- Those who want to begin the process of learning biblical languages, especially those who plan on doing more advanced learning. Subsequent courses will teach the intelligent use of Greek resources as well as a more detailed knowledge of the languages and application to the biblical text.
- Those who do not plan to study biblical languages in depth (or those who are not sure whether they do) but want to understand how languages work, how to move from one language to another, and how to interpret the biblical text responsibly. Those who want to continue with deeper study may do so.
- To know the major grammatical categories in English and Greek
- To understand how language makes meaning
- To understand the functions of language such as the interpersonal, experiential, and textual
- To understand what constitutes a legitimate “word study”
- To recognize and understand key biblical vocabulary in Greek
- To begin to learn the grammatical forms/paradigms in Greek
- “To present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)
- To be a mature interpreter of Scripture as taught by the Spirit (1 Cor 2:6–16)
- To allow the Scripture to motivate, form, and transform our faith, worship, and Christian way of life
- To describe how choices in language affect the meaning of the biblical text
- To describe the functions of the basic grammatical forms in Greek and use them in interpretation
- To begin to read and translate Greek texts
- To interpret the biblical text meaningfully without committing common mistakes