What I Wish I Had Done In Seminary (Part 2)
March 28, 2014
ὁ δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως, ἀλλʼ ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς. Χριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου γενόμενος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν κατάρα, ὅτι γέγραπται· ἐπικατάρατος πᾶς ὁ κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλου
"I should know what this says," I thought. With our Greek New Testaments opened and our laptops closed, the professor asked the class to translate the verses above and add additional syntactical nuances. Evidently I was not prepared, and now I began to wonder, "Upon whom will the professor call?"
After a time of silence, one of the students volunteered to address the professors questions. According to the professor, he did an excellent job. Unfortunately, however, as the class continued, the conversation narrowed to only a select few students who knew how to address the professor's questions. I was not one of them.
I failed to obey the numerous exhortations by my Greek and Hebrew professors. Repeatedly they said, "Just spend 20 minutes per day in the languages. It will help you retain them." Twenty minutes skipped one day became forty minutes the next until I realized that I had not looked at Hebrew and Greek for the better part of 4 or 5 days. Surely if I was going to take the languages seriously, and correspondingly God's word, I could not be overrun with excuses.
"I'll get to the languages later," I thought. "I have papers to write," I concluded.
I wish I had listened to my professors in seminary. They took the languages very seriously and it showed. It was my disobedience to their exhortations that caused a great deal of remedial work once I graduated.
What now? Is there a solution?
Yes! 20 minutes a day. That is all it takes. You could also ask others to keep you accountable. In fact, assemble a group of people who are interested in tackling a certain section of scripture. Meet in person or via Skype to discuss what you have studied. It will help. I promise.
If you are struggling with the languages and/or find an over-dependence upon Bible software, here are several resources to get you back into the swing of things with Hebrew and Greek.
A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar by Merwe, Naude, and Kroeze.
"Basics of Biblical Hebrew Video Lectures" by Van Pelt
"Basics of Biblical Greek" by Mounce