Why Original Language Bible Study Matters

Original language Bible study is imperative for the health of the Church and the advance of the Gospel. Do you believe this? We do. Here is why...

Guarding the Good Deposit

It is a sad fact that some who claim the name of Christ will eventually swerve from the truth and teach lies (2Tim 2:18). In their godly-looking ungodliness, they will deny God’s power (2Tim 3:1-5). Such imposters will go from bad to worse in this endless cycle of deception (2Tim 3:13). So we must understand that the defense of the Gospel is a fight! The faith of sheep depends on it (2Tim 2:18). The protection of the weak lies within this battle (2Tim 3:6).

How do we fight?

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. —2Tim 2:15
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. —2Tim 3:14-15
The Scriptures are the key. First, we need to get them right so we do not become the false teachers described above. But furthermore, we need to wield them well so as to destroy the deceptive arguments of intelligent false believers. But how will you do so when that false teacher pulls out his Greek and Hebrew and tells you that your translation is wrong? His argument may not destroy your faith, but are you certain it will not damage the faith of others when you do not give a sound response?
Now, put yourself in a context without the fallback of godly Christian pastors and scholars who you can turn to for that original language defense. Put yourself in Vietnam or Bhutan or Afghanistan or Nigeria. How are Christians supposed to ward off the attack of deceptive doctrine in such places without the original languages?

How are Christians supposed to ward off the attack of deceptive doctrine...without the original languages?

Thus the original languages are necessary for the long-term faithfulness of the global Church.

Translations Are Wonderful, But Limited

A wonderful advantage of English speakers is the great number of Bible translations we have to compare. But in languages with only one translation of the Scriptures (even a great one), some degree of ambiguity is simply a reality.
The strength of the global Church, therefore, depends on the ability of local churches throughout the world to teach the Scriptures with confidence, clarity, and precision. And filling up those criteria requires Bible study resources. What better to meet this need than original language Bible study tools?
Biblearc’s Hebrew course asks the question “Why should I study the biblical languages?” Here is a selection of its helpful answers, derived from this video by SAGU:
  • A text simply cannot mean what the grammar of that text (in its original language) does not support.
  • The biblical languages unveil the interpretive options of a passage.
  • Study of the original languages reinforces a careful and detailed approach to interpretation.
  • The original language of a text often identifies the author's emphases through untranslatable rhetorical features.
  • Learning biblical languages keeps you from unfounded certainty or preformed conclusions.
We certainly want these great advantages for the teaching at our local churches. Should we not seek them for the global Church?

Non-English Speakers Love the Bible Too!

I love the Law of the LORD. I want to see everything I can! You do too.
Perhaps that doesn't mean you will learn the original languages (though it might), but would you be satisfied if your pastor also was not able to bring original language insights to the teaching and discipleship of your church?
Most in the non-English speaking world do not have this blessing or even its possibility. We want to help!


How will these original language Bible study tools help someone without any knowledge of Hebrew or Greek grammar?

There is no doubt that this project will serve end-users in any language who have some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek grammar. But those who are new to the original languages will also be helped. While this project will not meet all their original language Bible study needs, it will do the following:
  1. Such users will be able to click on a word in their translation and see information on the original language word behind their translation. This information will include all the words in their language that this Hebrew or Greek word is translated to throughout the entire Bible. Given that they are likely to only have a single translation of the Bible in their language, this is very significant. Without this, a false teacher could improperly make much of a specific word in their translation, leaving others few options to refute the claim.
  2. Instead of simply searching the Bible for all the occurrences of a word in their translation, such users will be able to easily search the Bible for all the occurrences of the Greek or Hebrew word behind the translation. This has much more significance in Bible study and will be easy to do, even for folks who have not studied Hebrew or Greek.
  3. Finally, this project will serve as a catalyst to more fully equip such users with what is lacking in their Hebrew and Greek knowledge. This may come from efforts to build on top of this project through the translation of open-source grammars in Hebrew and Greek. And perhaps even more importantly, this project will create in more and more folks the hunger to seek out a way to learn the original languages.