Learn Languages, Like Latin
April 8, 2015
I have noticed that European students of theology are usually far better linguists than North American students. This often comes down to the rigour of their linguistic education in high school. A lot of us spend our time catching up in our twenties rather than beginning in our early teens.
If you want to do well in the field of theology, languages simply aren't optional. If you want to do well in the field of Early Modern Theology, Latin is usually not optional. Certain books have been written where I suspect the author would have done a much better job if he had read certain Latin works.
In order to rectify this problem, I'd highly suggest doing this course with the Davenant Latin Institute. It looks like it is specifically designed to get you acquainted with theological Latin. Read Augustine's Confessions in Latin and perhaps you'll never read a blog again.
If you learn Latin you can begin to delve into the works of the scholastic theologians from the seventeenth century and find out why (the late) Willem van Asselt was entirely correct to say that Calvin isn't nearly the theologian these men were. Voetius, among many others, was on another level to the Reformers, and was far more sophisticated than the Genevan Reformer. Calvin gets a lot of attention because his works are in English, but even if his contemporary, Peter Vermigli, were readily available in English, we'd be quoting him ad nauseam and appealing to him in order to justify our theological convictions.
On the other hand, it is important to keep up Hebrew and Greek. Martyn Lloyd-Jones could have improved his theology a bit had he been better at Greek.
John Owen once commented that: "... a great help for the investigation of truth is the diligent study of the Holy Scriptures in those languages in which they were written by the Holy Spirit. Not only is this the only well from which we can draw the original force and meaning of the words and phrases of divine utterance, but also those languages (especially the Hebrew) possess a weight of their own - a vividness which brings home to the understanding fine shades of meaning with a power which cannot survive the passage into another tongue."
Imagine some of our pastors and twitter theologians spent some more time in the languages than on social media? Get off Twitter; get off Facebook; and learn a language. There's a reason Aaron Denlinger and Brad Littlejohn write such learned stuff...
Then you won't do a book blurb saying that Cur Deus Homo? is "Why the God-man?" when in fact it is "Why did God become man?"
Pastor Mark Jones is currently working on his post for next week on the incarnation taking place even if Adam had not sinned.