Why Must We Endure the Torture of Learning the Hebrew and the Greek?

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This question is from a real-life situation to which Dr. Henry DeMoor has responded to based on his extensive knowledge of the Christian Reformed Church Order. The first answer given has been taken from the Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary written by Dr. DeMoor.

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For the long answer, please consult with our professors at Calvin Theological Seminary. You might sense first-hand in what they tell you that they would not describe the training our synod insists on in such drastic terms. But I’ll give you the short answer.

There is no way to live into the meaning of the ancient text for the first hearers without reading and hearing that text in its original shape and context, and, therefore, no way to apply that Word with its inherent relevance accurately and reliably to our contemporary world. Without this direct access you will forever be dependent on translators and commentators without any assurance that they actually “got it right.” That can’t provide much in the way of your being utterly comfortable in what you’ll be saying from the church’s pulpits.

I promised a short answer so, enough said.

I presume this question would have come from someone studying in seminary and dislikes the rigor (aka torture) of learning Hebrew and Greek. I am often disapponted when a pastor ordained in a Reformed church says something like "Oh yeah, I had to study Hebrew and Greek, but (ha-ha) I don't remember any of it." This is not only disappointing but also reprehensible. I can, and do, use an "exhaustive concordance" in which I can see how words in the Hebrew and Greek  languages are translated into English. However, I am not ordained in the ministry and I expect much more than that of an ordained Reformed pastor. I expect a deeper level of understanding of the meaning of the Scripture text than what I can discern on my own, or with rudimentary helps. If seminary students do not understand that, perhaps they are seeking the wrong profession.

[quote=jpbandstra]

I presume this question would have come from someone studying in seminary and dislikes the rigor (aka torture) of learning Hebrew and Greek. I am often disapponted when a pastor ordained in a Reformed church says something like "Oh yeah, I had to study Hebrew and Greek, but (ha-ha) I don't remember any of it." This is not only disappointing but also reprehensible. I can, and do, use an "exhaustive concordance" in which I can see how words in the Hebrew and Greek  languages are translated into English. However, I am not ordained in the ministry and I expect much more than that of an ordained Reformed pastor. I expect a deeper level of understanding of the meaning of the Scripture text than what I can discern on my own, or with rudimentary helps. If seminary students do not understand that, perhaps they are seeking the wrong profession. As any seminary student knows, they will be proclaiming the Word of God to the people of God, and that is an awesome responsibility.

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