Re: preachers and Greek

David L. Moore (
Thu, 29 Aug 1996 17:31:17 -0400 wrote:

>I realize that many
> people have been blessed by preachers who don't know the languages, and that
> there is a lot more to being an effective preacher than knowing the languages.
> The problem is that we are so used to listening to ministers who haven't
> studied the languages in depth that we think the languages are just an extra
> plus, rather than an essential. The problem is further compounded by the fact
> that we don't always see the results of incorrect or bad preaching, or that
> the results may be visible but it may also be very hard to make the logical
> connections. I think the situation is comparable to the differences between
> medical doctors and the non-medically trained healers people sometimes consult.
> The former are not always right nor are the latter always wrong, but in general
> we prefer the former and the results of their healing procedures usually veri-
> fy their correctness. As to the intimidation factor, the medical comparison
> may be just as valid. True enough, there are fallible doctors who get their
> way by throwing their weight around rather than by being right, but in my ex-
> perience the best doctors are humble and quite willing explain the pros and
> cons of this or that treatment.

I'll differ with Don's reliance on the "doctor" metaphor in the following
respect: there is a quality of personal relationship with God that is essential
to the pastor or other minister of the Gospel. Knowing Greek - even at a
scholarly, expert level - is not an adequate substitute for such a relationship.

I grant that, given that relationship, it is better for the minister to
know the original languages of the Scripture than to be ignorant of them. But
whether one knows the original languages or not, a certain humility and reverence
in dealing with what is holy is a great asset, as I believe Don is saying in what

>And this doesn't
> boil down to a difference between haughty Greek/Hebrew experts and humbler
> folk who are led by the Spirit (and thereby know what the scholars don't), it
> boils down to two groups of humble, Spirit-led people, one who are receptive
> to the nuances in the original languages, and the other who are not. The best
> of the latter group, moreover, seem to know where they are deficient and are
> working hard to rid themselves of those deficiencies (actually, that is true
> of both groups).

David L. Moore                             Director
Miami, Florida, USA                        Department of Education                     Southeastern Spanish District            of the Assemblies of God