People like to talk about what the Bible means, sometimes even with reference to “the original Hebrew” or “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 Hebrew and Greek make meaning. This course explores the world of human language in the common first half of the class: language theory and how it applies to understanding texts. Then students will divide into a Hebrew stream and a Greek stream that will review English grammar and introduce the basics of one of either Hebrew or Greek, focusing on how the linguistic elements lead to interpretation.
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/Hebrew resources as well as a more detailed knowledge of the languages.
- 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. Some introductory grammar will be covered; those who want to continue with deeper study may do so.
- To know the major grammatical categories in English, and Greek or Hebrew
- To understand how language makes meaning(s)
- To understand the functions of language such as the social, interpersonal, pragmatic, and propositional
- To understand what constitutes a legitimate “word study” and avoid common errors
- To recognize and understand key biblical vocabulary in Hebrew or Greek
- To learn some of the basic grammatical forms/paradigms in Hebrew or 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 and responsible 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 or Hebrew
- To recognize and understand some of the basic paradigms in Greek or Hebrew
- To begin to read Hebrew or Greek texts
- To interpret the biblical text without committing common mistakes