Re: Biblical Languages Overseas?

David Housholder (
Mon, 25 Nov 1996 15:54:58 -0500

Ken Penner asked:

>Do all countries need people trained in the biblical languages?

Do all countries need people who can competently exegete the Scriptures?
Who can translate into other languages and dialects of the country?

>How can teaching biblical languages be reconciled with an emphasis on
>training the laity, in cases where the laity has a low basic level of

Is that one question or two? If it is two, no reconciliation is needed. The
Association for Theological Education by Extension (TAFTEE) in India has
for many years included NT Greek in its extension program for lay people.
Scripture Education for All Nations (SEAN) offers excellent Greek and
Hebrew intro courses in an extension format. These courses are used in many
countries of the world.

>Are we creating an elite group?

How would it be different there than in North America?

>What special issues are significant in teaching biblical languages overseas?

1. We need to have materials that don't assume English is the mother
tongue. You may note that John Dobson's _Learn New Testament Greek_ was
written originally to be used by students for whom English was a second

2. We need to make the study and research tools available as either
inexpensive editions or have them highly subsidized. A teacher at Union
Biblical Seminary in India receives about $20 a year as a book allowance.
Some students I taught there were going into Bible translation. The only
materials they had in hand when they left the seminary were a Greek NT
(*without* the Newman Dictionary!) and a collection of notes from me. No
Zerwick or Rienecker or BAGD or Brooks & Winbery - well, you get the idea.

--David Housholder--