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  • Writer's picturechrisdemetriou

BIBLE STUDY - Does it help to know Greek?

I was born in Cyprus, so my native tongue is Greek, yet every aspect of my life is performed in English. The question I'm often asked is whether it helps to know Greek when studying the Bible. My answer is always... "Yes!" But provided you are using a source that can impart some understanding of the original text.

When I first examined the Greek New Testament (as a layman and not a theologian), I immediately noticed something odd when comparing the various English Translations I had at my disposal. I found that there was an imbalance between the 'spiritual' and the 'practical'. The conclusion I came to was that the translators were probably working alongside Greek Orthodox priests or similar religious minds. Either way, their view of the scriptures was tainted by their beliefs. Therefore, the practical application of God's word was not addressed to the degree necessary for edification and exhortation. A simple example is, you rarely find the word "happy" translated in the New Testament. Even though the word "makarios" can mean 'exceeding happy'. A religious mind always substitutes the word "blessed' because it appears to be more spiritual. But this gives us the wrong impression of God the Father, who desires that we be both blessed and exceedingly happy.

There are many other instances in the Bible where a religious view takes centre stage. Yet, God instructs us in practical ways, so that we can easily apply His principles to our everyday lives. After all Jesus said in John 10:10 that He has come that we may have life and have it more abundantly. I like the translation that says, "... and have it out of the ordinary." Jesus came that we may all have an extraordinary existence!

I will continue with this subject as the Lord leads, but if you would like to comment please feel free.

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