"It Says In The Original...": A Guide To Biblical Languages

NT/OT 1L03

Increasingly, people are choosing not to study the original languages in which the Bible was written. However, people are still talking about what the Bible means, sometimes even with reference to “the original Hebrew” or “the original Greek.” 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—whether or not they will eventually learn to read either Hebrew or Greek. This course explores the wild world of human language, including a brief overview that summarizes the inner workings of English, Hebrew, and Greek.

This course will appeal to three types of students:

  1. 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 detailed knowledge of the languages.
  2. Those who do not plan to take biblical languages (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.
  3. Those who have already taken Introductory Greek or Hebrew 1 and/or 2. This course provides much useful information on how languages convey meaning, and how to make interpretation of the biblical text more insightful and accurate.


  • To know the major grammatical categories in English, Greek, and Hebrew.
  • To understand how language makes meaning(s).
  • To understand the relationship between “general” knowledge of language and the “specific” interpretation of meaning in a text.
  • 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 be able to recognize and understand key biblical vocabulary in Hebrew and 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 6–16).
  • To allow the Scripture to motivate, form, and transform our faith, worship, and Christian way of life.


  • To be able to analyze language according to its different ranks, such as morphology, words, units, and discourse structures.
  • To describe how choices in language affect meaning.
  • To be able to describe the functions of the basic conjugations and paradigms in Greek and Hebrew.