Monday, February 2, 2009

Sounds Like Greek to Me

I recently endeavored to translate a book of the New Testament on my own. Previously, my knowledge in Greek was about as extensive as the alphabet, some Christianese vocabulary, and enough time in a lexicon to be dangerous with Greek text. I just recently finished teaching a class on 1 Peter, the content was fresh in my mind and I had done several word studies during my lesson preparations as well, so I decided to make 1 Peter my first translation challenge. 4 verses into the first chapter, and I have some fun anecdotes that you may find helpful in your own Greek study, or at the very least, amusing.
  1. "us" and "you" are dangerously similar: hemas, hymas... so, it can be very easy to believe that Peter's readers were given new life so that Peter and the other Apostles could have an imperishable inheritance. Something didn't feel right about that one.
  2. Lexicons lie... ok, so maybe they don't lie, but they don't tell the whole truth. While I'm looking at an 11-letter word with what appears to be not one but two suffixes, Strong's saw fit to spare me the trouble and only give the meaning of the 5-letter root.
  3. The eleventh commandment should have been: Thou shall not use the same word to mean both "for" and "to."
  4. My high school English teachers might be interested to hear this: I praise God for punctuation.
  5. Learn your alpha beta gammas (abc's). If you insist on finding corollaries with the English alphabet, give up now. P is R. Y is G. U is M. Oh, and a different-looking U is also U... and sometimes Y... and, yes, just give up now.

I'm sure I'll have more to share as time goes on, but in all seriousness, I am very much looking forward to learning this language. As many of you have experienced, I'm sure, re-reading the same passage years later can often bring new meaning to light, or new perspectives to bear. I am hoping the same happens with this adventure, and I pray that God blesses my time and draws me nearer to Him.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Evangelism... How good is the good news?

In our BSL (Bible as a Second Language) series, we began with "Gospel"--the Good News. This week, we're going to see the verb form, Euaggelizo (transliterated Evangelizo or Evangelism). Just as we saw that Gospel has taken on a new definition in our oh-so culturally-steeped Church today, just think about what the action of telling it has come to mean.

I want to share a simple quote to let you chew on until Sunday morning. This comes from another blogger that I found while searching the web for resources. I haven't researched his affiliations or other articles, so I'm not advocating everything you may find if you follow this link. But consider what he has to say about our topic at hand, and by 10:15 Sunday morning, see if you can at least relate, if not agree...

"I hate the word evangelism. It's quite possible that some will take offense at that because evangelism is a strong Christian word and concept, and not liking it may have connotations to not liking the action of doing it. And you would be right! I do not like the word because it is very misunderstood by the rest of our world and I do not like the word because of how we have been trained to do it....

"King Richard had good news for the Muslim world – it was a crusade! When our world hears 'crusade,' when our world hears 'evangelism,' when our world hears 'turn from your ways!,' they do not connect the dots and think, 'Wow, this is really good news!'"

-- Thoughts Outloud, Jeff Peters

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