Archive for December 3rd, 2011

For those who ever struggle with learning the Biblical languages, Dan Wallace’s testimony over at Justin Taylor’s blog is amazing.  I’ll repost Wallace’s portion here:

In my first year of Greek at Biola University, I nearly failed the subject. The professor, Dr. Harry Sturz, had compassion on me and gave me a passing grade. I took a different professor in second-year Greek. He gave us a battery of exams at the beginning of the semester. One exam each week. I failed the first exam. I failed the second exam. I failed the third exam. I failed the fourth exam, but it was a high F! And I got a D on the fifth exam. “Hey,” I thought, “I’m really getting this Greek thing down!”

The professor called me into his office and told me that I should check out of Greek. That was the wake-up call I needed. I went down to my dorm room, got on my knees, and confessed to the Lord that I had dragged his name through the mud. I reasoned that since I am in Christ and he is in me, he was failing Greek, too. And even though I was at a Christian school, I was soiling his reputation. I repented of my sin—the sin of mediocrity because I was surrounded by Christians, the sin of thinking that I did not need to do my best since I was a Christian.

I went back to the professor and asked for one more chance. He granted that to me. I ended up getting an A in the class both semesters. It still took me two more years of Greek at Biola before I even felt moderately comfortable with the language, but I had learned my lesson. Now, to be sure, my experience is not everyone’s. But, for me, learning Greek became a matter of spiritual discipline. And even though I was very sick in my fourth semester of Greek-so that I missed five and a half weeks of school-I still did well in the course.

I don’t consider myself good at languages, but I do consider myself a steward of the life that God has given to me. And I have never recovered from the impact that the Greek New Testament has made on my walk with Christ.

What makes this amazing is that Dan Wallace is the guy that have written much materials on Greek!  Furthermore, I think there is something I can relate to in this story.  I struggled much in undergraduate studying Classical Greek–I felt that I poured hours into it, and my grades didn’t reflect the time I spent on studying and doing the assignment.  There were many times I was discouraged.  I was always convicted how non-believers were better in their Greek than I was in class.  By the time I got to seminary, I was in fear and trembling.  I prayed much to the LORD that He would help me be a good steward when it comes to my Greek–so that I can rightfully divide the WORD and defend it with knowledge of the Greek New Testatment text itself.  And I think God has been gracious to me!

I think this post is a reminder of two things:

1.) We must not forget that studying is a spiritual exercise–we should pray for wisdom from God and help!  We should see our study as a spiritual stewardship–one day we will be called into account with what we did with our studies.  This makes it a big responsibility–and yet a great joy to see that language is part of God’s created order.  It should be a time of glorious worship when we are studying hard.

2.) We must not forget that those who might seem to be failing still have the hope in Christ that if they have a right biblical perspective on studying, and a “THEOLOGY of education” that is informed by the Scripture driving their study lives, God is still in the redemptive business of turning one who might be dumb, lazy and struggling to become a striving student.  I believe it, because I believe God’s sanctification include the sanctification of the mind and the will when it comes to the area of studying.

The proverbial excuse, “It’s all Greek to me!” shouldn’t be for Christian seminarians, pastors and the Christian student.  If I could bend my hermeneutics just a bit to make a point– Christians are to be “Greek” to  Greek and Hebrew to  Hebrew!

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