Feb 10, 2011

Why Study Biblical Languages?

Nicholas Frankovish has an article in First Things entitled, "Why Study Biblical Languages?" In the article Frankovich argues for the importance for studying biblical languages. He is preaching to the choir here. Unfortunately and ironically, the author's example from John 21 is probably an instance of misunderstanding the Greek.


Unknown said...

Please elaborate, if you would, on the Greek in John 21. I'd be interested to hear.

Charles Savelle said...

Hi Nicholas. Thanks for commenting. Making too much of a distinction between the use of two different Greek words for love is problematic for at least three reasons. First, it would seem to require that Jesus and Peter originally had this conversation in Greek which seems to me possible but not likely. Second, it fails to note that the author of the Gospel of John has a penchant for using synonymous terms (even in this passage). Third, this view presumes that there is a significant customary distinction in meaning between the two terms used. I think that this presumption cannot be sustained.
If you want to read a more detailed explanation, I would point you to D. A. Carson's Exegetical Fallacies (pp. 47-53) and commentaries on John by R. Brown, L. Morris, A. Köstenberger, G. Beasley-Murray, and others