Institute of Biblical Greek
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Posted: 3/15/16
Dr. Schwandt is currently on a sabbatical from offering Greek courses and reading groups. We are currently working on a way to offer the educational materials without the live component.

Learning Greek

Why Study Greek

The study of Greek takes time and commitment, but we believe the rewards are great enough to merit such an investment. Here are links to arguments and reasons for pursuing this course of study. Also please check out our page on fluency

1. Ministers

2. Adult Christians

3. Students

4. Children

5. Overcoming Objections

6. Why go for fluency?

1. Why Ministers and Church Leaders Should Learn Greek

Ministers of the Gospel have many duties and obligations. These include preaching the Word, Counseling from the Word, laboring in the Word and prayer that is grounded in the Word of God, co-laboring in the work of the Word with other Ministers. There are many more tasks for ministers but the one thing they all have in common is the word of God. Working with the word in the original not only increases confidence and understanding it also removes a psychological hindrance that normally creeps in when only working with an English translation. When faced with a difficult or convicting passage it is to easy to soften it by telling ourselves that the offensive part is probably merely a translation emphasis preference on the part of the translator and possibly not in the original. On the other hand, the original is stronger at times than translation and there is no translation barrier to act as a shield from the truth. The original text not only improves personal sanctification, conviction and understanding of other theological positions, it enables ministers to more easily work together, by focusing everyone more on the text than on our personal systematic. Discussion tend to slow down and focus more on what the text says rather than whipping out talking points of systematic positions. If the church is to become more unified, the unification ought to center around our holy scripture.

Some of these goals and benefits are far reaching and we ought not to expect an instant fulfillment to all theological issues after a year of beginning Greek. Handling the word of God in the original is a lifetime endeavor. Even though we will improve our understanding of the language and text throughout our lives, there will be constant benefits along the way. Of course there are reactions, excuses and objections that many quickly raise, but these all have answers. We must remember that the only way to experience any of the benefits mention above is to start working with the original texts.

Below are links to other arguments for the necessity of ministers working with the original language.

The Place of Greek and Hebrew in a Minister's Education - by Michael Burer.

The Importance of the Biblical Languages - by Martin Luther, And excerpt from: "To the Councilmen of All Cities in Germany That They Establish and Maintain Christian Schools 1524

Why Study NT Greek - by Dr. William D. Ramey, the instructor at He has a brief introduction on this page giving reasons why ministers should study Greek.

Brothers, Bitzer Was a Banker! - by John Piper, The Standard, June 1983

2. Adult Christians

All Christians have an obligation to know their scriptures. Now it is true that there are difficulties that keep many from getting into the original language, but considering how much help is readily available there really should be more of the general Christian population working in the original language. Martin Luther argues that each congregation has an obligation to have at least a small percentage working with the original language to function as a check and balance. For decades simply weird fictitious teachings "from the Greek" have be recirculated through the broad church because there is no one to laugh at them. I agree with Luther that church is in peril unless 5% (approximation) of the broad church is able to work with the original language. So who is there in the church that will invest the time and energy (who is there that will suffer the blessing such spiritual growth that accompanies the word) to safeguard the church and allow it to grow in unity?

Read Martin Luther's Article here

See overcoming objections here

3. Students

There is a great number of sites and programs that offer tools and techniques for learning Greek vocabulary.

Classical Christian Education has recently experienced a renaissance. Christians are reviving the education, which has equipped the greatest thinkers of history, the study of the classics. Furthermore they are gaining this education with a self-conscious Christian worldview. Such a foundation is based upon the clear understanding of the Bible.

Unfortunately, most students only taste the classics and the Bible secondhand through varying translations.

Why not learn to understand the New Testament and the classics firsthand, in the language in which they were written? Not only will this restore the missing link in classical education, which our forefathers enjoyed, it will also establish the strong foundation of your Christian education.

4. Children

Since we start learning our first language before the ages of two, it is hard to find time too early to start learning Greek. Starting children learning Greek at younger ages has many benefits.

  • Parents are able to slowly learn the basics along with their children.
  • There is no need to worry about the foreign aspect of Greek being more difficult for children since everything is foreign at a younger age. This is a good reason for younger children to learn Greek before Latin, but older children to learn Latin first.
  • The foreign letters and sounds are fun.
  • We increase intelligence by learning new things. Knowing a second language with a different alphabet is a great way to stretch learning skills and improve intelligence at a younger age.

5. Overcoming Objections

There are many barriers that we place between us and the original text of our scriptures. These continue to be recycled enough through there aren't very many and they all have relatively simple answers. Here is a short list. You are invited to offer more answers or raise further objections.

Overcoming Objections Discussion

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