Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wesley on Greek

“Do I understand Greek and Hebrew? Otherwise, how can I undertake, as every Minister does, not only to explain books which are written therein but to defend them against all opponents? Am I not at the mercy of everyone who does understand, or even pretends to understand, the original? For which way can I confute his pretense? Do I understand the language of the Old Testament? critically? at all? Can I read into English one of David’s Psalms, or even the first chapter of Genesis? Do I understand the language of the New Testament? Am I a critical master of it? Have I enough of it even to read into English the first chapter of St. Luke? If not, how many years did I spend at school? How many at the University? And what was I doing all those years? Ought not shame to cover my face?”

— John Wesley, “An Address to the Clergy,” in Works X:491.

When students finish taking Greek from me, I always appeal to their budget: if you stop reading Greek and using it for exegesis, you just wasted $2500 (the cost at our school for 12 credits of Greek/exegesis) and countless hours in class and studying. Don't lose your investment!

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