Little Greeks

From: KULIKOVSKY, Andrew (
Date: Thu Aug 29 1996 - 17:49:03 EDT

Being a little greek myself, I'm with you Jonathan!

>A little Greek is a good thing, especially if little Greeks have access
to big

Amen. Thank the Lord for this list - especially when you consider
Australia is such an isolated place - very difficult to get access to top
Greek scholars!

>There are dangers, since little Greeks like me just don't know what they
do know
>and what they don't know, and people who have enough chutzpah to teach
>themselves Greek may also have problems realizing how much they don't
>I speak for myself here, I don't know how much this applies to other
little Greeks.
>Little Greeks need big Greeks. They help us understand and appreciate
>nuances that we would misinterpret or miss entirely, assess how far off
the wall our
>latest interpretation is, and suggest how we can get more out of the
text. That's why
>B-GREEK is so great for us!

Take my latest question on 1 Cor 12-14 for example. I know that it is
to look at how the word is USED and that its etymology is of only minor
significance - but is this principle really relevant in 1 Cor. 12-14?
Only you
scholars can give the answer at the moment.

I might be able to confidently answer this question myself in about 30

>I think that people who want to really understand the NT should learn
Greek if
>at all possible. I get uncomfortable when people suggest that *only*
>people who know Greek have a right to preach, though. In the last year,
>been working very slowly and carefully through 1 John and John, and
>a lot about spiritual poverty, humility, abiding in Christ, etc. It just
so happens
>that I have a friend who is a retired Baptist minister who reads no
Greek, and
>doesn't even read English all that well. But she has many of the same
>and has been struck by many of the same passages in the same way.

I believe the bible teaches that preaching and teaching is a "spiritual
given by God - the Holy Spirit plays a huge role in enlightening us and
teaching us so that we may teach others. Knowing greek isn't the be-all
and end-all, but it is extremely helpful and should be strongly

Perhaps, people are relunctant to learn it because educators don't
communicate just how helpful it can be. I know of several people
who learnt greek at bible college but have forgotten most of it
now because they didn't use it.

David Alan Black picks this thought up in his book
"Using Your GNT in Ministry"

>I'm also concerned about the power dynamics of Greek. Some people seem
to learn
>Greek in order to force other people to believe their way, to prove
their point
>of view.
>Learning Greek can be a way of acquiring authority. I'm reminded of
>Lang's quote regarding statistics: "He uses statistics as a drunken man
uses a
>lamp-post, more for support than for illumination". In statistics,
illumination often
>comes by plotting your data, clustering your data, scaling it this way
or that, and
>looking for patterns that can be tested. I like inductive, exploratory
approaches to
>most things, and I think that they are more likely to help you see what
is really
>going on. I think that humility, open eyes, and an open mind are more
likely to
>bring us to truth, with or without Greek, than Greek with predetermined
>and an intent to prove something. Of course, if you have both the Greek
and the
>attitude, that's really what you want.

Yes! people who know a great deal of greek CAN be VERY intimidating!
I love to hear people make good sound reasonable cases based on
greek grammar - but the grammar only gives us so much. The
discussion then moves into theological interpretation. I find that some
big greeks still try to argue for their interpretation by using lots of
technical language and citing lots of authorities.

Sometimes I think we just need to ask the spirit of God to reveal it
to us - like Jesus promised he would (John 16)


| Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc(Hons) MACS
| Software Engineer
| British Aerospace Australia
| Technology Park, Adelaide
| ph: +618 343 8211
| email:
| What's the point of gaining everything this world has
| to offer, when you lose your own life in the end?
| ...Look to Jesus Christ

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