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« Interview with Ken Berding part 1 - "Sing and Learn New Testament Greek" | Main | Living on the Seam of History 1: African Christianity »

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Dr. Berding,

While working on my Ed.D. at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, I raised the question during a class as to whether we practice a form of hegemony as leaders and writers of curriculum (in context of Southern Baptist Convention) by not presenting the Greek text as well as the English text of the Bible to allow exploration by believers of meaning from the original language and discover meaning based on the Greek as opposed to depending totally on another person's interpretation based on English translations. E.g., we could place in the margins of these lesson the Greek text and literal translation of text for teachers and students of curriculum related to lesson focal passages and topics. No one really responded to my inquiry--touched that question. I was wondering about your opinion. I studied Greek in seminary and understand the need for learning Greek language for careful study of NT Greek, but the layman can still be exposed to Greek in some can he not in studying the Bible? I appreciate you.

I'm supportive of anything that can get people more interested in learning Greek and to help them get access to the best Greek research tools that are out there. But I am at the same time concerned about the regular interpretive mistakes made by people who have just enough Greek knowledge to feel that they can use it in their teaching, when in fact they are often drawing exegetical conclusions based upon faulty assumptions of how language works. The most egregious interpretive mistakes I encounter in preaching and teaching are often prefaced by "This word in Greek ACTUALLY means..." Words--in any language--only mean what they mean because of how they are used. A lot of people, especially people who only speak one language fluently, don't really have a sense for how languages work, resulting in a variety of interpretive errors. There is a lot more to say about this, but I would refer you to Moises Silva’s book, Biblical Words and Their Meaning (2nd ed.), especially pages 137-148, and ch. 1 of D.A. Carson’s book Exegetical Fallacies. And I wish you all the best as you continue studying Greek!

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