07 July 2009

Pastordude: please, before you say that word....

by Dan Phillips

So you're a pastor, and you're preaching this passage, and you want to mention some Hebrew or Greek word that is in the passage. Fine. Great, in fact. Terrific.

One request.

Say it right, or don't say it.

Now, many would advise that you just not say it, period, because it's not going to help your largely (linguisitically) unschooled audience, and may just look like preening. Most of the time, I think that's good advice.

But because I know we pastordudes can be a bit thick, let me break it down and be very specific.

You're preaching a passage. There's a Hebrew or Greek word in it that is cool, that you think is worth commenting on. Fine.

If you do not actually know Hebrew or Greek:
  1. You should learn Hebrew and Greek. (After all, you are an instructor in ancient Hebrew and Greek literature. Your Principal wrote the class textbook in those languages. Your students have the right to expect that you're conversant with them, or working on it.)
  2. Until then, you probably should not say any Hebrew or Greek word.
  3. If you do, find someone who has studied, and ask him whether you're about to say it right.
If you studied Hebrew and Greek in seminary but haven't kept it up:
  1. Tsk. Make time. Get current. (See #1, above)
  2. See #3, above.
I can easily think of two pastors I've heard, very different traditions, but both well-known for Bible teaching. I know neither personally. Both said Greek words in these sermons I recall. Both said them badly. In the case of at least one word each, both clearly had no idea what they were doing — just sort of made a running, stumbling lunge at the respective words. It wasn't pretty.

Now, I know a lot of you are thinking, "So? Good heavens, man — only you will care!" To that, three thoughts:

First: I'll admit, it's a reflection of how seriously I take the pulpit. I think the pulpit is a terrifying place in which to stand. I think everyone should think that same way, or not stand there (James 3:1). Most people should not stand there at all, if you think about it.

I'll admit this, too: when I see a guy in a pulpit, chatting and yarning and speculating and obviously casually pulling things off the top of his head... well, you know, even typing this, I stop and struggle for words. I just cannot fathom that. C-a-n-n-o-t.

Simplest and most charitable way I can put it: obviously such an one and I view the pulpit very differently.

Second: if you don't know it, you shouldn't be preaching it. Do I really need to expand on that? Say what you know, know what you say, or shoosh.

(I do, by the way, strive to practice what I'm preaching here. I may be current in Hebrew and Greek, but I don't really know French, or Latin, or German. Yet I've had occasion over the last 30+ years to use words from those languages — and I've done due diligence before doing so. You know, they're not just funny-looking English words. If you apply American pronunciation canons to a Latin word such as oratio, or a French word such as métier, you will mispronounce the word.)

Third: think about overall credibility.

Suppose I choose to draw an illustration from the field of biology, or anatomy, or a physical science, or an historical event. Suppose, further, someone in my audience happens to be well-studied in that field. And suppose he instantly recognizes that I'm full of beans, that I pulled out some old chestnut that every well-studied ____ist/ian/ologist immediately knows to be an urban myth, or a common but long-since-exploded misconception.

What will he think of my faithfulness? of the seriousness of my intent? of the thoroughness with which I research what I am about to hold out for people's trust and acceptance?

He'll instantly know I'm willing to say things of which I haven't taken the time to make sure.

And he'll wonder — he'll have good reason to wonder — how thoroughly I have researched and thought through the other claims I'm making. He'll have good reason to think, "Okay, I know anatomy, and I know that what he just said is simply beans. But I don't know Greek, or theology, or much about the Bible. How do I know whether he knows what he's talking about on those subjects, or whether he's just as sloppy about them as he was about this?"

Think about it, brothers.

It matters.

One Dan's viewpoint, your mileage may vary.

Dan Phillips's signature

169 comments:

G N Barkman said...

Dan,

Excellent exhortation. However, I am of the impression that noone really knows how these Hebrew and Greek words were originally pronounced. Am I wrong?

With appreciation for your ministry,
G. N. Barkman

Mark B. Hanson said...

Thanks to my years in radio, I have felt the same frustration when a pastor misquotes (or in print, misspells) a song lyric or artist's name ("The Beetles" is one I remember clearly from a few years ago).

Especially in this age of the internet, there should be no excuse for getting such things wrong, except lack of diligence in preparation.

[In a similar context, I remember a book on Creation that had a sentence like the following: "Isn't it wonderful how God made animals to breathe in oxygen and breathe out nitrogen, and plants to breathe in nitrogen and breathe out oxygen?"

This little scientific tidbit was so stunningly wrong that I wrote off the whole creation / evolution debate for awhile - if I couldn't trust a Christian author to get such a simple scientific fact right, how could I trust him for the more detailed stuff?

In the print world, editors should be checking for that sort of mistake; for a sermon there's no backup line of defense.]

DJP said...

Thanks for the encouragement.

I don't think any living person knows how any word was originally pronounced, unless he made it up. I think that's just disbrogovious. However, he would know how the pronunciation of a language is taught.

So... I don't think you have a point.

Kim said...

Our church supports a missionary couple to Jerusalem, and he spoke at our church when he was on furlough one year. He was there during the time of Purim, so she gave a message about Esther. When he pronounced the word "Mordecai" as a Hebrew speaker would, people were snickering. I thought it was great to hear the word pronounced correctly.

I am wondering about whether or not it is possible to mispronounce Latin. Do we know how the Romans pronounced it? The various dialects would have pronounced it differently, I think, and there are two versions of pronounciation, the Classical and the Ecclesiastical.

Chris said...

Based solely on the title, I thought this was going to be a post on the use of the word "prostrate." I've messed it up enough times and with such catastrophic consequences that I've retired it altogether. :)

Seriously, good thoughts, Dan, though Pastor Barkman's question immediately came to my mind as well.

DJP said...

That's next week's post, Chris. (It is an important "r.")

(c;

Chris said...

Indeed. I've learned that simply saying "fall on your face in humble reverence" has provided great relief to myself and my hearers. Even when I got the word right, there was an awkward pause that was almost as bad as missing the 'r': "The prophet fell down...um..."

Chris Roberts said...

One of my biggest preaching pet peeves is the loose use of facts. Why preachers think it's okay to be sloppy with data just because it makes a point in their sermon baffles me. I will quickly lose respect for a preacher who shows a pattern of this.

David said...

I lived in Boston when they began opening up Taco Bell franchises. They put phonetic pronunciations on the menu so that people would stop calling them tay-cos.

Wise words, Dan. I appreciate your raising the bar.

What do I do if my pastor's from Louisiana, and I don't understand what he says in English?

Gary said...

I would also add that in many cases it is better to not say it because doing say carries the implicit assumption that the lay person can never fully understand their bible if they do not know Greek and Hebrew.

In one sense that may be true -- I know translations are not inspired. Knowing Greek and Hebrew is vital for a pastor. But at the same time, I think one of the pastor's first jobs is to inspire confidence in the Bible, even if the translation isn't perfect. If not done carefully, dropping Greek and Hebrew can make people distrust (and therefore not read/study) their bibles.

Marty Winn said...

Speaking as a lay person. Please, please teach us the original language as you preach. Give us the tools to be able to study the Bible too. Show us your work, give us reason to trust what you say and be able to verify it on our own. Yes, get it right as best you can but don't just tell us this means that without also telling us how you came to that conclusion. Don't make it purely a matter of us trust.

JOYce ~♥~ said...

tuhmaydoe. tuhmahtoe. some say.

Appreciate those that aren't flippant/glib with What...Who is holy/perfect; amen, Dan.

DJP said...

David, it can be fun to do church as an intercultural experience!

Had a Brit pastor in the late 70s. It was fun to figure out what he meant by referring to the book of Eye-sire, or Jerry-meyer.

Stan said...

Dan,

I'm right there with you about preachers who should know what they're talking about. I just wanted to point out that I and lots of others got the impression that you were concerned about preachers mispronouncing Greek and Hebrew. I'm quite sure you were concerned about them misrepresenting them. If it was the pronunciation that was your concern, please let me know because Barkman and Kim and David and I (for starters) all thought it was about pronunciation.

DJP said...

Definitely meant mispronounce, and stand by it. Really thought I explained my rationale at some length.

Robert le Clus said...

Or you could buy a copy of Logos Bible Software. Some of their products include a Greek pronunciation addin. You right click on the word in the Greek Bible or interlinear and the computer will pronounce it for you. Oh and there is also a Greek audio bible that will read the Greek text out for you from any of your Greek Bibles. Pretty cool hey :)

Strong's Concordance helps with pronunciation too.

AND Logos is working on a Hebrew pronunciation addin. Even better :)

Robert

Mike Riccardi said...

Here are two that bug me, the first only matters in print, the second both spoken and written:

1) Galations. I know the English language has a lot of -tion words, but please.

2) Revelations. No, just one in fact. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it (not them) by His angel to His bond-servant John."

The Squirrel said...

Good words, Dan.

I'm well aware of my own failings in regards to the Greek language (and we wont even talk about Hebrew!). Whenever I've found it desirable or necessary or profitable in some way to delve into the meaning of the original languages, I typically point out my shortcomings and then I give lexical references for the meaning of the word.

I think the problems really arise when preachers, out of pride, pretend to knowledge that they do not have.

If we do not have firsthand knowledge of a subject, be it language, history, science, electrical engineering, or whatever, we should take care to get the facts right, and to cite our sources.

We are angered, and rightfully so, when we see the news media constantly getting facts wrong and often deliberately distorting them in an attempt to advance an agenda. We should be equally angry when we see preachers doing the same thing! Never make a point at the price of good exegesis.

Just my acorn's worth...

~Squirrel

DJP said...

Squirrel - I think the problems really arise when preachers, out of pride, pretend to knowledge that they do not have

Afraid you have a point.

Mike - and "Turn to Psalms 14." You don't say "Turn to Hymns 254."

Nik Papageorgiou said...

As a native (though expatriate) Greek, I always find the issue of Ancient Greek (inc. NT Greek) pronunciation a tough one. In Greece, we pronounce ancient (and medieval/middle) Greek as modern Greek, and it kind of becomes the standard. So when I hear an English-speaking preacher pronounce NT Greek words in the "koine" fashion, I cringe!

I'd argue that modern Greek pronunciation might be closer to the NT Greek, but I'd be accused of being biased. It's just hard to hear "ψυχή" pronounced SUH-KEH instead of PSI-HI...

At least I hope I'm not doing the same to Hebrew!

Joanna said...

I think taking such care should extend beyond just preaching to any time we are trying to communicate something. I've heard non-christians reject the Christian message because they have heard Christians pass on urban legends, rumors and incorrect information. Those non-Christians figure that if Christians can't get their info right about something that happened in the last decade, then they can't be trusted on something that happened thousands of years ago.

Puritan said...

You Yanks need to learn to speak and write English properly first, and not miss the "u" in "Saviour" ;0) :0)

Mesa Mike said...

Mispronounced Greek or Hebrew must be as amusing to you as when visitors from the northeast or upper midwest try to pronuncificate our place names here in the southwest.

DJP said...

Well Nik, leaving aside your opinion about Modern vs. Koine, you give me the opportunity to make something very clear, and I appreciate it.

I am not talking about differing schools of pronunciation. So, for instance, I'm not talking waw vs. vav, or omicron as "o" like "got" or "o" like "vote."

I am talking chesed as "cheesed," or prōtotokos as "pcmqutsdbn."

See?

DJP said...

Yes, Joanna. The larger issue against which I'm railing is the degeneration of the pulpit. It pains me that "preacher's story" means "fable." It should mean "verified ironclad fact."

Solameanie said...

It's all Greek to me.

(Joel skitters quickly to the nearest exit before getting plastered in the eye with a watch fob)

JOYce ~♥~ said...

Definitely meant mispronounce, and stand by it.

I read it that way. The following is interesting, too, Dan ~ mispronunciation...(then click)distortion...(aha)misrepresentation.

http://uk.encarta.msn.com/thesaurus_1861862793/mispronunciation.html

Michael said...

I don't think most preachers need to use any Greek or Hebrew words in a sermon, but they surely want to convey the full force of whatever is intended in the original language statement that's not conveyed in the English translation.

Associate-to-the-Pastor said...

Not the same, but closely related, in that I think both are often the case of a well-meaning preacher grasping to drive a point home with some 'deeper knowledge of Scripture' and failing: I don't need to hear about the 'dynamite' power of God. There are lots of faux pas, but that one is my pet peeve.

For my part, I almost never mention Greek words, because my knowledge of Greek is very primitive and theirs is non-existent. Plus, I never pronounce them right; I'm really bad at it.
And an old, painful joke I heard more times than I can count at the church I grew up in:

'There's a Greek word for that: Baloney!'

Nik Papageorgiou said...

Point taken, Dan! I was originally trying to make the same point and let my pet peeve get in the way! Shame on me.

But you are right about the decline of preaching today. I mean, in Biology you have to spend close to 10 years training and re-training under close supervision and peer-examination before you're allowed the title "doctor (=teacher)" and even more before anyone trusts you with a a lump of money to do some research (and then you're always under constant accountability).

And yet, it seems that many preachers today employ a lot less diligence and seriousness in the handling of the Word of the Eternal God, which has infinitely more value, power, significance and benefit than any protein or gene we figure out.

I just don't get it.

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DJP said...

Totally agreed, Nik.

Associate, right. I cringe whenever I hear "that's our word for dynamite" No... no, it really, really, really isn't. Please, stop.

DJP said...

Michael, if you mean it isn't usually necessary to say "Now, the Greek word here is 'sunantilambanetai,' and...", I am in complete agreement. I take it you're not saying it isn't necessary to do the study beforehand, nor to convey the meaning by explanation.

Mark B. Hanson said...

As our Pastor works through the Old Testament, he sometimes has to hold back on the correct Hebrew pronunication in the English text for our (the congregation's) benefit.

I remember when working through Kings he started using the pronunciation "bah-all'" for Baal (which is the correct Hebrew), but wound up using "bale" after a couple of sermons.

DJP said...

Right, Mark. My son (Josiah) pronounces it correctly, but I've had to tell him "Usually the English pronunciation is...."

Kim K. said...

Sometimes our pastor will introduce a Greek word - I always get the feeling he just looked it up on Wikipedia. And then he'll start using it in sentences, such as:

Are you agape-ing God today. Do you agape your neighbor. Until you can really agape God, you will never be able to truly agape your family and those you work with.

Or something like that. Grrrr, just explain the word and then use English for the application.

DJP said...

Oh, ow, stop.

0c:=

Stan McCullars said...

Does pronunciation matter if you wear really cool eyeglasses like Rob Bell?

I use New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Abridged Edition [ABRIDGED] edited by Verlyn Verbrugge and keep my findings to my immediated family.

DJP said...

Yeah?

So the real question is... how do you say "Verbrugge"?

The Squirrel said...

"So the real question is... how do you say "Verbrugge"?"

I'm pretty sure that it's just gotta be Vur-Broog-gee...

~Squirrel

Chris Roberts said...

I learned Greek at the Rob Bell School of Word Studies. Does that qualify me?

*cringe*
*run*
*hide*

I've read a couple of things from Bell and his idea of word study is just painful, of the dynamite variety.

DJP said...

I did mention that most people shouldn't even be in a pulpit, right?

So spricht der HERR said...

Bravo,

I completely agree. I've heard so many embarrassing errors come from well-respected pastors who do not know Greek (in my opinion no pastor should be well-respected if he can only read a translation of the Word he holds in such high esteem).

I think of those Arminian pastors who stress "WHO-SO-EVER" in John 3:16... how embarrassing in light of the participial phrase it was translated from:

πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων

Honestly, I am grieved that so many pastors think it's okay to just give a cursory glance at something so important and then explicate it from the pulpit as though they were an authority on the matter... I want to say so much more... and ok, let me qualify some of my comments. I do believe there are SOME legitimate excuses for not know the original languages (i.e. in the process of learning them, you've got only 6 months to live and there's really no point by now, etc.)

stratagem said...

I don't know Greek or Hebrew, but I do know about business.
I can vouch that there have been several times I have heard preachers talk about what is going on in the business world, and realized they know nothing of how the world of business actually works.
I can vouch that this expereince hasn't boosted my confidence in their overall credibility. So Dan, your point is well-taken as usual.

Brad Williams said...

I am talking chesed as "cheesed," or prōtotokos as "pcmqutsdbn."

Whew. Thanks for that clarification Dan. As a student of languages both living and dead, I must say that even when I try to say words in a living language that isn't my own, I still often have trouble. Even when the word is repeated. I can only imagince how poorly I must be pronouncing Greek/Hebrew words. But, I generally follow the rule of not saying them unless I have to say them. I don't want to look pompous or make the Scripture seem an enigma unless one is schooled in the original language.

stratagem said...

I think it is ludicrious when preachers try to pronouncicate Greek and Hebrew words they don't enuncify accurally. Hence, we sitting in the pues tend to misunderstandify their true intense.

KRG said...

I normally don't like to post just to say I agree, but this is a topic that has bothered me in the past and I say AMEN. It comes up most often some of the lay leaders are asked to preach during our Bible studies, and I sometimes hear things that are demonstrably inaccurate and it so distracts me that it makes it hard for me to learn from the text being taught. I think lay teachers should pay special attention to these guidelines.

greglong said...

Yes, please, by all means pronounce Shittim as "Shi-TEEM".

Mesa Mike said...

... and pronounce shibboleth very carefully.

Stefan said...

I knew our senior pastor was on the ball when I noticed that he pronounces words with the Hebrew "heth" (ח) with a hearty, fricative "ch" (χ) sound.

Stefan said...

As a tangent, what's quite remarkable is how our standardized, Anglicized pronunciations (not mispronunciations, but the received ones that appear in dictionaries) of all those Septuagint/GNT Hebrew names in the Bible are so light years removed from how those names would be pronounced in Greek (ancient or modern)—let alone Hebrew. (E.g., Moses, Isaiah, Malachi, Zechariah, etc.—and of course, the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!)

Stefan said...

I guess that last comment is what Mark B. Hanson and DJP were already talking about.

Caleb Kolstad said...

How do we know that we are saying it the way they said it when they first wrote it? Esp. in Hebrew? I don't think we can.

More importantly, I think this is a long post on a not so important point/issue.

The main thing is that we are accurate in our interpretation of the Holy Text (2 Timothy 2:15) and that we preach that text (2 Tim 4:1ff).

With that said, I know if we give an illustration about someone and don't say their name correctly it might distract people from hearing our story's main point. The same could be true with saying a biblical word incorrectly...

Thankfully, most evangelical congregations are gracious about things that don't really matter.

I believe if some people could, they would edit the Apostle Paul's inspired writings for poor grammar. But that is somewhat off point. I agree with almost all of your posts Dan just not this one 100%.

DJP said...

No problem, Caleb. 100% agreement is not required.

However I already responded to your first point in my 6:12 AM and 7:34 AM comments, and anticipated the other in the post itself. Perhaps it was too "long" to read the whole thing?

Sloppiness is sloppiness. If a preacher doesn't know what he's talking about, he shouldn't talk. The pulpit's credibility is not in need of further erosion.

And that is a crucial issue.

Stefan said...

"I believe if some people could, they would edit the Apostle Paul's inspired writings for poor grammar."

Writers of run-on sentences—not that I am one such, but I could be, given the opportunity—should take heart (that is, be reassured, or be confident) that they have a divinely inspired exemplar —namely, Paul the apostle, especially in his in extended greetings and blessings—to follow!

So spricht der HERR said...

Caleb,

I don't think it's simply the fact that preachers don't pronounce Greek words correctly. It's the fact that, due to their mispronunciation, they reveal their ignorance on the subject. If this is so, they shouldn't be referencing the Greek in the first place.

Also, as was said earlier, for those of us who know Greek it becomes a distraction and it can become very difficult for me to take seriously the rest of what is said, i.e. "How do I know this guy has done his research for the other parts of his sermon?"

Hope this adds to the conversation...

Rachael Starke said...

Stefan -

LOL. I tried using that same argument to one of my English professors, in defense of my own propensities in the same direction.

He replied "Sure. He was an apostle under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. You're.... not."

chopstickschan said...

And on top of that, mispronunciation could actually be swearing in Greek or Hebrew (or in Chinese, by accident, to one's mother-in-law, who was gracious about it...)

Caleb Kolstad said...

Dan,

I actually agree with your 3 major sub points. I just don't agree with your overall conclusion (100%). BTW, because my seminary Greek skills are very average i do attempt to use helpful study tools (as you suggest). For example, I just purchased The Greek Audio N.T. by Logos.

I think (my opinion) it is a little much to say "say it right or don't say it" for reasons i pointed out in my last post. Just because someone uses poor grammar or pronounces a word incorrectly does not nec. mean they have not been faithful to the high and holy task of preaching/shepherding (2 Tim 2:15, 2 Tim 4:1ff).

Together for the gospel

pastorharold said...

Why don't you re-title this as "Dan's Pet Peeve With Little Or No Biblical Support".
Yes some preachers make fools of themselves, but grammar school was never a requirement in my New Testament for a pastor. The pastor is not trying to impress you or any one else in the pew! I want to honour Christ! You have always been such a stickler for scripture to back your view; find some! But don't overlook the unlearned men without eloquence of speech. God didn't call every pastor to edit a newspaper, write books on Greek, or teach seminary. I don't understand how someone can make such a big deal over a mispronounced word?

Shawn said...

Personally, it drives me crazy when preachers refer to the Greek and Hebrew anyway. There's absolutely no need for it. God gave us a perfect, preserved, inerrant, inspired bible in the KJV. So when I hear a preacher either online or in a church say something foolish like "This word would be better translated as..." or "In the Greek this word actually means..." It shows his lack of faith in the preservation of God's word in the Bible and I either turn of the program or get up in the middle of the service and walk out.

The Bible as it is written in English is perfect, so there is no need to refer to Greek or Hebrew. I'm a laymen, I could care less what the greek and hebrew say honestly. I desire my preacher to obey God and expound the word of God in the language He has preserved it in so that I can understand it. I'll never check the Greek or Hebrew to see if he's right because I have a bible at home to check. That's all I need. Forget all the scholarly junk and just expound the bible, for Pete's sake.

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Rachael Starke said...

pastorharold,

Speaking not as a pastor, but one who depends on one to feed me with the Word each week, may I say that I care quite a lot? My sinful flesh is already too easily distracted as I sit in the pew wanting to be fed deeply from the Word. When a preacher is careless about how he pronounces words, or seems to be unaware of or is ignoring some of the most basic rules of grammar, my mind has to work that much harder around those distractions to try and get to the point he's trying to make.

Plus, I've always thought it significant that the very first chapters of both the Old and New Testaments have their theme God's revelation of Himself through Word - first in creation, then in His Son. I think God cares about how we handle words very much.

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Rachael Starke said...

Commenter With Unpronounceable Name :):

I didn't read that Dan was making that point specifically from this one. But, let's say I'm diagnosed with brain cancer, and I meet with the surgeon who's going to remove my tumor, and he invites me to observe as he performs the same operation on someone else. I peer into the operating room, and instead of using gleaming, razor-sharp scalpels and fine, precise movements, he's kind of chipping away at the patient's cranium with a rusty pocketknife.

That would give me some.... concern. :)

I agree. When you're a suregon in the middle of a war, and a soldier is brought to you in similar straits, and a rusty pocketknife is all you have, then you use it, and you pray. And sometimes God does a miracle.

But as Dan is fond of saying, and we are fond of reading, that says a lot more about the grace and mercy of God than about us. :)

Mike Riccardi said...

And, in support of actually saying the Greek words in the sermon, I have a bit of a testimonial.

I've been teaching Sunday School -- whether College and Career or Older Adult -- for some years now. Before then I taught Bible studies. Bottom line: I've had occasion to prepare thoroughly for lessons I've taught. Over the years, I've dabbled more and more in the Greek as I've been able to. But I've never really needed to know it.

Throughout those years I began listening to MacArthur's preaching pretty regularly.

And now as I'm headed off to seminary I'll be required to learn the original languages. So in preparation I've been going through Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek.

Now, aside from an ability to recognize cognates from English to Greek, what has helped my Greek vocabulary and retention the most has been listening to MacArthur. So I for one am a proponent of using the original language (though wisely and sparingly) in the sermon itself, as it is in many cases a benefit to at least some.

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trogdor said...

I found these two articles by the guy who wrote my Greek textbook to be pretty interesting regarding Greek/Hebrew from the pulpit. They thoroughly agree with much of the discussion here. Do your homework. Don't show off. And get it right!

My own personal pet peeve is a commonly-used creationism apologetic. I spent way too much time studying thermodynamics in college, including the second law. Let me just say this: if you don't actually know thermodynamics, or if you can't do math above, say, basic algebra, please stop. Chances are, the way you're using it is seriously over-reaching or flat-out wrong, and even if the other person doesn't understand it either, they probably know you don't understand it, and they're writing you off as an unthinking parrot (at best) or deceptive. Please, you don't need it. Macroevolution is so obviously ridiculous and easily shredded by arguments and facts you can grasp, understand, explain, and defend. You don't need to reach into someone else's bag of tricks and ruin your credibility by obviously bluffing. Stick to what you know. The truth is big enough to stand on its own, and it's not really aided by deception.

Sir Aaron said...

Dan:

(1)I think you make good points that even we lay teachers can apply. I'm not sure I'm 100% onboard with every tidbit of your original post, but I agree with the gist.

(2)My pet peeve is a Pastor telling me what the Greek/Hebrew really means because all of the other English translations that were done by numerous experts are all wrong. I think the KJV only guy is crazy too, but there still better be a good reason why your translation is better than all other previous published translations (and I don't mean clarification of which definition of an English word is meant in a particular text).

(3)I couldn't find the word "disbrogovious" in the dictionary. Can you please provide a definition?

(4)what passage/word do Pastors quote this "dynamite" power? I think I may have heard it in Romans once, but not certain.

DJP said...

No.

No, <><><> and others.

It has nothing to do with being humble, clay pots. It has nothing to do with preaching the plain unadorned Gospel, as opposed to the wisdom of the flesh or whatever other dodge. It has nothing to do with showing off or not showing off.

And for all that is holy, sane and true, it has NOTHING to do with the indefensible, inane and appalling promotion of any translation in any language over the God-breathed original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures.

It is about preaching the Word of God in a way that befits the preaching of the word of God.

It is about preachers, of all people, doing what our hand finds to do with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10), not with should-be-good-enough.

It is about preachers, of all people, doing all things to the greater glory of God in Christ's name (1 Corinthians 10:31).

It is about preachers, of all people, taking their charge to preach as given in the presence of God, of Christ, of the holy angels, and of the judgment of eternity (2 Timothy 4:1-5).

It is about preachers, of all people, not offering lame, sickly, good-enough rejects to God (Malachi 1:6-14).

It is about preachers, of all people, preparing and delivering as if you really believe that you will be — and deserve to be — judged more harshly (James 3:1).

And yes, I absolutely did say that most people SHOULD NOT be in the pulpit. Good grief, has none of the mediocrity-defenders read 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, 1 Corinthians 12? Frank's posts? The Holy Spirit does not give the gift of being a pastor-teacher to most people.

And yes, I absolutely do say that a lot of people who are in pulpits should not be in pulpits. Good heavens, our Archives are still online, aren't they?

I'm glad I clearly touched some nerves, and rattled a guilty conscience or two. But good grief, whoever wants to cast a vote for lazy, slovenly, makeshift, irresponsible preaching, you go for it. You're in the majority, clearly. That's why the church is where it is: NOTHING demanded of the pulpit but good times, good feelings and mild entertainment.

Just don't dare try to claim Scripture for it, and don't dare try to get away with it here while I still have access.

DJP said...

Acts 1:8 is the classic "dynamite" passage, Aaron.

Check the context in which I introduce "disbrogovious."

Mesa Mike said...

Disbrogovious is not a word you wanna try to pronounce, it not being an English word, and given the admonition not to apply the canons of English pronunciation to foreign words.

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Julius Mickel said...

the last thing i wonder about a pastor is 'does he know Greek and Hebrew'? Above that I'm often asking myself 'why did they just point out that word' when the ENGLISH said the same thing (no help at all, just impressive to somebody). I respect more the really knowledgeable preachers, that rarely ever find a need to point out something from the languages.
Either way you never satisfy the picky critics, Macarthur, Grudem, Piper and many more are constatnly disagreed with. Throw in the many disagreements between 'scholars' and it leaves you convinced that a minister soaked in the word and prayer who properly interprets the context will always be fruitful.

mike said...

as someone who has been subjected repeatedly to 30 minute sermons that were hatched during the worhip songs, by a friend of our pastor who has been at this so long, I can come up with 30 to 40 minutes anytime", this is not a hard thing to understand.
either you treat the things of the most High God, with reverance, or not.
He said that the pulpit should be a fearful place to stand, unless He puts you there, and even then He has warned so many times about treating it casually.
but we LOVE a pooling of ingnorance with our buddies.
thanks Dan, it is hard to see the things of God taken so for-granted.
mike

and %&%&^%&%^&,
brother, you will never understand what you refuse to consider.
and by the way, Jesus is not your homeboy.

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DJP said...

Mikethis is not a hard thing to understand

I sure don't think it is. Bless you for saying as much.

mike said...

furnobulax said,
I have known some average men who have labored diligently to edify their flocks and glorify God who have nothing in themselves that would make them special.

Brother as i read this post, that is what Dan was calling for, diligent labor to edify the flock and glofify God. if you think that can be done without actually caring about the details of the work that is an honor to perform, i am truly confused.
mike

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mike said...

When I said brother, I actually considered my choices and felt good with that one. Odds are, we have not met. My assumption was that you truly did love God and that as such we were.
What you read as anger, is a long growing frustration in the resistance to reverence. God is all things good, we are mostly the other stuff, when because of His work of grace, we are allowed even to clean the Kings stables, we should approach that as a true honor, and privilege.
Casually walking to the front of a room, and speaking about a subject that one has not taken the time to honestly attempt to know well enough to even pronounce correctly, shows a lack of respect for that subject. I want/ need my pastor to point me to holiness and righteousness, I need to know that it truly matters to him; I want a defender of the gospel. I fear for what I will be without it. Casual comfort, silly jokes, and made up stuff, I can get at the lunch truck at work.
mike

mike said...

happily corrected to "sister"
mike

Shawn said...

Calling me crazy because I believe in KJV only is irresponsible, immature, and unchristian. Whether you subscribe to that position or not, I'm not name calling because of it.

Knowing that KJV onlyists are unwelcome here, I won't be subscribing to this blog anymore. I know I won't be missed, that's okay. Foundations built on any other bible are already flawed and the doctrine questionable, so I cannot allow my faith to be harmed by potentially false doctrine taken from a false bible.

I will bless you all by getting out of your hair and leaving you alone so I'm not creating problems. I never want to be a point of contention to any brother in Christ, no matter which 'bible' they choose to place their trust in. I just want to learn God's word from a reliable source and from firm foundations and strong teachers. So long.

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DJP said...

Might be a bit more careful with the references for the sake of those of us who are minorities too

Huh? Please explain, I'm lost on that one.

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DJP said...

Shawn, I'm not the only one who thought you might be joking.

Feel free to do as you wish. The KJV-only position as you stated it is without merit, and deserves neither respect nor patience. I'm sorry someone convinced you of it and siphoned you off into that little corner. We could use you where the real battle is raging.

<><><> — I hope that last wasn't your idea of responding to my request for an explanation. I hope you do not plan to insinuate that someone here is being potentially offensive to minorities, and then refuse to explain yourself.

Pastor said...

My observation is that many would benefit from more careful attention to English grammar and pronunciation.

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Sir Aaron said...

Trogdor, that article hit my concerns pretty well. Exactly which creation argument are you referring too? I try to follow ICR for exactly that reason.

Dan, I stil don't get it. Additionally, I realized that most of us need a serious grammar refresher in English before tackling a new language. I really want to learn Greek and Hebrew but first Spanish, not to mention tons of protestant and church history. I think I'll need pretty much the entirety of the millenial kingdom just to overview the subjects I want to learn.

Sir Aaron said...

Shawn, that was easy. I'll wish that were always the case.

Francesca said...

Such A one; not such AN one. I am picky about English. The a vs. an rule is about the SOUND of the following word, not the spelling.

Sorry. :)

DJP said...

You fell for my little trap. Pity Shawn isn't here to relish the irony, Francesca.
See:

Job 14:3
Ps. 50:21
Ps. 68:21
1 Co. 5:5,11
2 Co. 10:11
2 Co. 12:2,5
Gal. 6:1
Phlm. 1:9




...wait for it...




IN KJV!

(c;

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DJP said...

Ah, thanks. Truly; I appreciate that.

And I didn't say it, so I'm off the hook!

As to Mike, not really sure what he meant, so I'll let him explain or apologize, as appropriate.

Again, thanks - and correct: what I am talking about has nothing in the world to do with IQ.

nextverse said...

Dan,
Love Pyro and your consistent defense of the truth and encouragement to the saints ... but ... I'm struggling here. When you say - "Say it right, or don't say it." - you equate pronunciation with preparation. Subsequent responses posted here, by you, seem to continue to press that point. That is a point I can't track with.

Consider one who ministers in a bilingual context - English and Spanish - I know what it is to work hard with good instruction to correctly pronounce a Spanish word. However - my best effort only makes clear that it is not my native language, oftentimes embarrasingly so - which is not the same thing as saying that my best effort shows I have not studied or understand the word I'm using. My audience doesn't disrespect me because of my poor pronunciation of a word, but would rightly disrespect me for continued poor use of that word. How we use the word - how we understand the word - how God intended the word be understood ... these all have significant impact on the text and the good instruction we are called to deliver from the text. Pronunciation carries none of that weight; necessarily. While it might indicate poor preparation - as you reference in your original post - it doesn't necessarily indicate such.

Paul said of his own preaching - "I did not come in excellence of speech." Clearly we would reject any suggestion that his reference was to his being "unprepared". But we can't reject any suggestion that his reference was to his poor pronuciation, enunciation, etc. We don't know. What we do know is that excellence of speech doesn't contain any power to change a life - the gospel rightly defended does, even if it is mispronounced.

All of your Scriptural references are spot on as it regards diligent study and prepartion. None of them, however, suggest pronunciation equals preparation. That is a connection you are making that is, as many of the comments suggest, not worthy of the gravity you apply.

Taken to its logical conclusion - one would have to wonder why we work so diligently to get the Bible into the language of the people instead of printing the Bible only in the Greek and working to teach/practice that language in our Christian fellowships and outreach endeavors.

Preparation? Yes! Striving to be approved in all aspects of representing the words of the Most High God? Yes! Measuring that effort in pronunciation? No!

Susan said...

1. Dan said: (I do, by the way, strive to practice what I'm preaching here. I may be current in Hebrew and Greek, but I don't really know French, or Latin, or German. Yet I've had occasion over the last 30+ years to use words from those languages — and I've done due diligence before doing so. You know, they're not just funny-looking English words. If you apply American pronunciation canons to a Latin word such as oratio, or a French word such as métier, you will mispronounce the word.)

Wow, Dan, correct pronunciation of languages (especially French) is one of my own pet peeves, although I have never thought of it in the context you presented today. To a lay person like me, however, mispronunciation of Greek or Hebrew will most likely go unnoticed--although the Hebrew pronunciation (think "ch") is quite recognizable even to me.

(As a side note, I can't stand it when we "Americanize" French words. I learned French from my high school French teacher who was ethnically French and grew up in Paris, and I am forever grateful that she took the time to teach us the correct pronunciation of the French alphabet. It made all the difference in the world. Not that my French pronunciation is perfect [by no means], but to this day I cringe when I hear people say, "Ooh-la-la!" It's actually "Oh là là!")

DJP said...

Nextverse, still struggling to see what's complicated about the post.

Study to know what you should know. Don't pretend to know what you don't know.

Prepare hard and fittingly. Or explain why a doctor or a lawyer should study harder for his work than a pastor for his.

And everything else I said.

Kirby L. Wallace said...

As a young Christian, I was put in the place of having to "teach" Bible lessons to young teenage Christians at the church's home fellowship program. I ended up in this spot because as a new convert a year earlier, I was very zealous for Bible Study, and by this time I was quite versant, and I had a kind of zeal that would rub off on people. So they made me "Bible Teacher" at a youth fellowship small group meeting.

One day, I was teaching about the episode of Nebuchadnezzar and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

I was very familiar with this story. I had read and studied it many times.

But during the meeting, every time I SAID "Nebuchadnezzar"... giggles from the girls would go the round of the room.

Finally, one of the girls said, "It's pronounced 'Nebuchadnezzar'... " and she pronounced it correctly for me. We had a good laugh about it and I continued.

I had never heard anyone SAY the name. But I had read it a hundred times. I thanked her sincerely, and continued the lesson.

My lesson was spot on and my teaching concerning this story were dead right, and I faithfully delivered it, and everyone understood perfectly what I was saying.


Triffling over a mispronounced word is just plain silly..., and says nothing at all about whether the teaching regarding the word is correct or not. And it's the teaching that matters.

I know preachers who insist on saying "mash a button" (when talking to me about what they wanted in some software that they wanted written) even though that is not only improper, it's actually impossible. But I didn't misunderstand his meaning at all.

In your example, if someone completely misinterpreted the meaning of the word, it hardly matters whether they said it right or not. Likewise, if they explain it properly, it hardly matters whether they pronounced it right or not - no one speaks it in common language anyway. It's not like they are going to go out an embarass themselves ordering at a Greek restaurant.

Not even Greeks speak this language anymore.

Mike Riccardi said...

You know, we can argue for another 100 comments about whether Dan is being too nitpicky or lacking in grace here,

OR

we can just receive the admonition to be disciplined and diligent in our study and preparation, and labor to not fall into the spot of the subjects of this post. And when we screw up, we can lovingly receive the correction and look for mercy and consider it as the kind of kindness that leads to repentance and a renewed resolution to discipline and diligence.

I vote 2.

CR said...

Sir Aaron: Dan, I stil don't get it.

Sir Aaron - this discussion, I think, blog really applies to pastors and preachers in the pulpit, not the laity like you and me. I mispronounce (if I can even pronounce them at all) Greek words all the time. However, because I want to learn the meaning and context of the words, when I have time and I want to go beyond the study bible, I look things up on my lexicons.

But you and I are not pastors or preachers. I would continue to look up the words in the lexicons, e.g., and understand the meaning, but I'm not worried about pronouncing them correctly, in the Greek, for one reason, among others, I'm not a preacher.

Rachael Starke said...

Providentially, at dinner tonight, my husband was talking with our 8 and 6 y.o. daughters about the Lord's Prayer. Our 8 y.o. recited the opening verse as:

"Our Father, who art in Heaven."

My husband stopped her and said "well, if you're going to use the Old King James, the proper form is "Our Father, which art in Heaven."

I kind of gave him the right eyebrow of skepticism, to which he replied:

"Honey, nobody minds when you get it right."

mike said...

I have been offline for the past 5 hours, and just looked back in.
I live and work in San Bernardino county CA. the community is somewhat diverse ethnically, probably more Hispanic than any other. a couple of years ago, it was pretty common to see “Jesus is my homeboy” T shirts. It has no specific ethnic connotation that I am aware of, and the young men I work with (in the construction field) use the term homeboy extensively.
The problem with the shirt, similar to the tone of some of the discussion today was the irreverence. If Jesus Christ is my homeboy as the term is used by the men to whom I have spoken, then He has my back, and I have His. We are somewhat equally important to each other, in our mutually dependant relationship. In fact, Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and I am a wee little sheep in His flock. I am totally dependant on Him, not so much the other way around.
I am aware of a similar irreverence from the pulpit in many churches. God spent a significant amount of His word letting us know how He chooses to be worshipped, and it is the height of arrogance to believe that He must accept whatever offering we may choose to bring.
I believe that it is an honor and privilege to serve the most high God in any form, but to stand in a group and proclaim, “thus sayeth The Lord” is NEVER to be taken lightly. To not attempt to know the subject well enough to pronounce the words correctly belies a problem, and I do not believe that anyone was attempting to hold up education or IQ as a standard in anyway.
I was reacting to the statement:
” You know, if we are calvinist mostly, why do we worry so much about everyone being so smart and great at communicating?
Unless, we are worried someone might think we aren't so smart.”
My point which undoubtedly could/ should have been made more clearly was that the priority of the pastor is to present the word of God clearly, reverently, accurately, and as if it was the most important thing he will ever get to do on this earth. Not to impress or depress the masses.
If it is not that important to him, then how will it ever be to those that he disciples.
Mike

Phil said...

The logical conclusion is then that we must deliver a flawless sermon without any mistakes in pronouncing any word.
Not that I disagree that we should do our due diligence, but this seems a bit strident.

steve s said...

You guys need to appreciate just how hilarious it is to an Englishman to witness a bunch of North Americans, who mostly fail to pronounce even their 'native tongue' correctly, arguing about whether we need to get the Greek or Hebrew 'just so'.

If I were French, I'd have laughed my head off. Especially if I'd graduated from NODER DAIME!

steve s said...

I hope the 'gentle ribbing' nature of that post wasn't, somehow, lost in translation. ;-)

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DJP said...

name-thingie, nobody's offended, we appreciate the caution and the explanation. No harm, no foul. I know one can carelessly say something he'd never imagine to be needlessly offensive, and I'd want to know it if I had.

To the rest: this is about the last place I'd expect to find so many defenders (read: any) of sloppy, careless mediocrity and irresponsible research and misinformation-flinging in the pulpit.

Regardless, I reaffirm: Study to know what you should know. Don't pretend to know what you don't know.

Prepare hard and fittingly. Or explain why a doctor or a lawyer should study harder for his work than a pastor for his.

And everything else I said.

The glory of God, the judgment of God, and earning (rather than abusing) the trust of our hearers — who (as I explained) may contain some who recognize when we make it up — should be sufficient motivation to give our best efforts.

If not, there is plenty of easier and less-momentous work to do.

Joshua Bovis said...

Dan,

I hear what you are saying. Two things:
1. I will only refer to the original languages if it gives listeners a better understanding. But in my humble opinion I don't want people to think that they have to know Greek and/or Hebrew to have confidence in their Bible translations (be it NIV or my favourite - ESV)
2. As for pronunciation - I think you may be overstating it. I am Australian, so I imagine if I ever preached in North American, you would say I pronounce English incorrectly! ;)

I enjoy your posts!
Blessings

DJP said...

As to the first, I totally agree.

As to the second, if I may say friendly, you completely miss my point. See my 7:34 AM, July 07, 2009 comment. Has nothing to do with accents or slipups. Has everything to do with posturing and shoddy preparation.

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stratagem said...

Shawn

I have a copy of the original KJV 1611. The original 1611 version (and many thereafter) had the Apocryphal books in it, sandwiched between the OT and NT. Are you saying that those books are inerrant? Wow.

The Squirrel said...

Steve S - "NODER DAIME!"

LOL - thanks for the smile!

:o)

~Squirrel

So spricht der HERR said...

Shawn,

You said earlier you were a layperson. My question to you is: Then what business do you have making a scholarly claim, namely, that the KJV is perfect (which is impossible. ANyone who knows another language knows that exact translation CAN NOT EVER, EVER, EVER happen because it is definitionally impossible.)

Sir Aaron said...

CR: I didn't say that I didn't understand the post. What I said is I don't understand Dan's use of "disbrogovious." I read and reread the posts and just don't understand the joke or the play on words or whatever he was trying to do.

DJP said...

groan

I asked you to read the context, it explains.

I had been asked whether we knew the original pronunciation of the Hebrew and Greek (as if that had been my point).

I replied: "I don't think any living person knows how any word was originally pronounced, unless he made it up. I think that's just disbrogovious"

I made it up. Now only I know how to pronounce it.

Sir Aaron said...

Rachael: Your kids should have responded that they were quoting the 21st Century King James Version.

christianlady said...

Whew, this long list of comments is an interesting read and at times funny.

I will say, as a Christian woman who wants and needs good teaching, I appreciate a pastor who takes the time to "get all studied up" before preaching and teaching me. I long for the perfect truth to be taught from the pulpit in a clear and honest method. I do expect pastors to know more than I do (and I believe many do) and to take their vocation seriously. I believe Dan is right to point out how few are truly called to be pastors, and if you aren't supposed to be there please get out. Pretenders, lazy pastors, and those with no passion for their work harm the flock. I for one am tired of it. If a pastor is called to be there...good preparation would really help congregants contrast sheep from wolves. If you are called to be a shepherd, you have a responsibility to be vigilant and to take care of your flock. If you work hard and give your best, you will contrast so many sloppy culturally relevant false teachers out there. The sheep you are in charge of may well be spared pain and confusion when a wolf "pastor" comes along.

You know, some of the "best" of those wolves study and use words well to trick very educated Christians and future pastors. True shepherd pastors should not take their jobs lightly. Too many of the sheep get hurt with slop.

DJP said...

Amen, thanks, and well-said, Christianlady.

I've appended a related parable over at my place.

Sir Aaron said...

Dan: Sorry for trying your patience. Maybe you should make your jokes a little easier for the common man to understand.

DJP said...

When they're not, it's a measure of my high opinion of my readers. Seriously.

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DJP said...

Thingie: There was, I trust unintentionally, an off-color insult in that comment. If you've no idea which, email me.

Feel free to repost your comment without it.

Sir Aaron said...

It just occurred to me that many(if not most) Preachers/Pastors are paid so that they may devote full-time to such preparation.

christianlady said...

Now imagine, in your parable, the patient is your child. Now you can see why it's important to us sheep that the shepherd be prepared and not be a wolf. I care for my own soul and my own understanding, but even more I care for my children...

DJP said...

Yep.

My first pastor, the man who convinced me I must "master" the Greek NT (still working on that), often said it baffled him why nobody'd let a door-to-door salesman remove his appendix, but they'd entrust the care of their souls to some untrained, ill-prepared amateur.

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DJP said...

Yes... well... that was my second thought, of course....


ahem

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Larry Geiger said...

The syntax of the heading lead me to think that "before you say that word" is referring to the word "Pastordude". I'm pretty sure of the pronunciation, but I'll leave it to you to properly explain the etymology.

stratagem said...

True shepherd pastors should not take their jobs lightly. Too many of the sheep get hurt with slop.

I really like that. Sheep should be fed sheep-food. Slop is for pigs. So if a pastor feeds slop to the sheep for long enough, they may become pigs.

So spricht der HERR said...

Leave it to Spurgeon to once again anticipate the on going decay of men behind the pulpit... I know he'd say that we're entertaining the goats and starving the sheep... I wish "Christians" would be more concerned with the glory of God than the empty praises of men... the church has too many wimps nowadays...

Stefan said...

Steve S:

Of course, you know that it's the English pronunciation that diverged in the 19th century, especially with the dropping of final r's and the lengthening of a before some consonants—and than exasperated in the artificial Received Pronunciation of BBC newscasters, Sandhurst graduates, and denizens of the City of Westminster. And let's not even get started on Estuary English!

It is we North Americans who speak English properly!

;)

Stefan said...

Sorry, it is us North Americans who speak English properly.

Evidently a self-contradicting statement. ;)

recreatedinchrist said...

Unless there are any first century Greek speakers alive today; then there really isn't anybody who can correct anybody on its pronunciation --- at least that's what my Greek prof "Dale Wheeler" constantly would tell us.

He also told us, if he was ever sitting in a pew where we were preaching, and we said: "the Greek says . . . ;" "that he would take off his shoe and throw it at us." His concern was that this would only discourage people from studying the bible (in the English) for themselves (since apparently one must know the bib languages to "actually" do so).

I agree with Wheeler, and the same points and depth of language can usually be brought out by appealing to various English translations (the same principle for Hebrew as well). So I don't think we need to "dumb" anything down, just be more tactful in our approaches; who cares if you have a biblical linguist in your congregation, he/she will probably be more "impressed" if you are able to communicate the depth of the original language in English, much more than being able to pronounce a Greek word (which no one can definitively do anyway) in the first place.

Bobby Grow

DJP said...

First and last sentences already responded to in 6:12 AM, July 07, 2009 comment, which has been repeated several times.

As to the rest, yep, said so in the post.

So spricht der HERR said...

recreatedinchrist,

point taken, but just remember: people who are put off by pastors referencing the original languages might need to check themselves for pride also and may need to ask themselves "why am I distressed/ offended/ perturbed/ etc. about this?"

Because to me:

if your faith is seriously affected because a pastor makes note of a very important nuance or word in the original language, maybe your faith needs to be shaken, because something is not right in that situation!!

... and blaming the pastor that already works his tail off is getting old, especially in light of a church that is growing more and more intolerant of solid Biblical doctrine...

mike said...

i was at an open house with our pastor and his wife. in response to a question regarding our church core beliefs, Elizabeth (pastors wife) answered and quoted a supporting scripture. Pastor made a slight face, paused and interjected, "that isn't exactly how that verse goes", and then quoted it corrected. He was not puffed up or showing off, it was just obvious that he was incredibly uncomfortable hearing God's word mishandled, even slightly.
My wife and I are new to this church, but that was a very welcome experience for us.
we want and need for that man to be that exacting in his convayance of the gospel.
mike

Bobby Grow said...

Dan,

Thanks for pointing me to your earlier, response . . . missed that. And you're right, we do have accents, breathing marks, circumflex, etc; so at the least we can know how to inflect, but not more.

As far as dealing with the rest of my point, per Wheeler's admonition, I really don't see that in the body of your post; except for the fact that you seem to disagree with that.

So spricht der Herr,

I hear your passion, but the point wasn't to accommodate lazy apathetic mush brain Christians (which seems to be your gripe [mine too]); instead it is to encourage pastors to let their people know that they too can study the Bible (and if they cf. multiple English translations, they can pretty much get as much nuance as BDAG might provide --- but they will have to be persistent in their study).

What I'm tired of is listening to Protestant Christians trumpet the Reformation principle of the Priesthood of All Believers, and then at the same time have pastors (who know enough Greek and Heb. to be dangerous) get up and pontificate in ways that reflect a Latin mass which requires "keys" that only the Magesterium has; in order to accurately handle the Word of Truth! This is the impression that can be given if the pastor is constantly saying "the Greek or Hebrew says;" which then makes scripture and its meaning appear esoteric and unattainable, reserved only for the hard working pastor (who has been trained). Functionally, this approach is no different than the Catholic approach, and thus this is why I vehemently oppose it.

Understand me, I'm not saying the pastor shouldn't break his butt working over the scriptures in the "Originals;" but instead, that when he communicates the "creme" of His findings he should do it in such a way that the laity should be encouraged that they too could actually spend the time and do the work that their pastor has, and come to the same conclusions (or not) as he has. So is the Priesthood of all Believers.

Recreated in Christ

So spricht der HERR said...

Yeah, that hits close to home with me. I had a friend on my old floor in college who was repeatedly told by this Greek student that "he can't really know his Bible unless he knows Greek". It totally shattered his confidence in Scripture and it took him a long time to trust in the Word of God again.

Seeing that happen has made me sensitive to what I say when I'm preaching and your contrast between the reformers and us to day is something that I think you are dead on about and it sickens me, the esoteric way some pastors present things.

However, I just think it's going too far to say that a pastor cannot even mention the Greek and its importance from the pulpit. I certainly don't want my [future] congregation to be under the impression that Greek is really not important... maybe for some, but its very important for those in teaching positions... but I'm sure you wouldn't disagree with me on that point.

Anyway, your opinion is appreciated and I mostly agree, but for now I can't completely sign off on "not saying 'the Greek says' from the pulpit'.

- So Spricht

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So spricht der HERR said...

%S%^S%%S%S%%S,

I like your "and" notion.... I think I agree.

:-)

Bobby Grow said...

So Spricht

Okay, you're taking your chances. Just hope that the Dale Wheeler isn't ever sitting in your church; get ready to duck! Then once he's knocked you off your "soap-box" he'll proceed to school you in why you should never say this from the pulpit (largely in agreement with my sentiment, but much more forcefully) ;-).

It's not that the "flock" should remain naive, or understand that there is a beautiful depth to the scriptures; it's just that the pastors job, I think, is to encourage his flock to study the scriptures for themselves (since the sermon, given time constraints, is more like a "teaching session/pep rally" anyway). But we probably agree more than not . . .

&lgt&,

Actually I'm not sure even the "English" will work for you ;-). Understand, I'm not denying the importance of the pastor explaining the "Greek or the Hebrew;" instead I think its important for pastors to let the congregants know that the "English" translations actually can capture (when cross referenced) meaning and even the depth of the Hebrew and Greek just as well (at least lets hope so or we have major problems). Isn't this the point of TRANSLATION in the first place? To convey from the original into a receptor language in ways that actually capture the original's sense and meaning.

All I am cautioning is that pastors remain cognizant of what saying "the Greek or Hebrew says" can have upon an "always" (for the most part) English speaking audience. It can have nasty and shattering consequences.

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DJP said...

Fourth paragraph, Bobby.

Whether or not ever to utter a Greek or Hebrew word from the pulpit, I would point out, is well afield of the point of the post.

Julius Mickel said...

Dan this statement (quote)"but they'd entrust the care of their souls to some untrained, ill-prepared amateur" reeks of pride. Sure if you know it then you can pompously speak that way but there's not a lick of evidence that a preacher who knows it has an edge over those who don't.
Why then the need of so many helps and commentaries, you have the grasp of the original and that's all you need, right?
Give me a scholar like Grudem who doesn't make those without his training feel inept, but upholds the clarity of scripture. Too many reformed guys playing the role of critic and spending little time seeking to be convicted of the Holy Spirit and conformed to the image of Christ.
I don't think ANYONE REALLY believes the study of HEBREW and GREEK is important unless they are TEACH it in their church (like greek 101 etc..) unless they want to be looked up to while withholding what they claim to be important.
iastor If you have the time to study then God bless you, but if for whatever reason you don't then may you continue to rely upon the power of the Spirit, spend more time in prayer as Mcheyne said 'my people need most my holiness'
In another post people will defend tooth and nail the need to forgive a man his faults because of growht i grace, yet let him mis-pronunce something and we turn him off? No you'd better not let the enemy distract you so easily, get over those silly technicalities (this does bother me much because i have seen men do this in church and they totally miss the message, it's not discernment, it's pride)

Joshua Bovis said...

"As to the second, if I may say friendly, you completely miss my point. See my 7:34 AM, July 07, 2009 comment. Has nothing to do with accents or slipups. Has everything to do with posturing and shoddy preparation."

Thanks for refering back to your post
I am not talking about differing schools of pronunciation. So, for instance, I'm not talking waw vs. vav, or omicron as "o" like "got" or "o" like "vote."

I am talking chesed as "cheesed," or prōtotokos as "pcmqutsdbn."


My apologies, my poor attempt at humour. Did you know that since us Aussies have what is known as 'non-rhotic accents'- 'porn' rhymes with 'pawn'. Door 'rhymes' with 'claw'

Anway totally on the same page with you.

Joshua

Bobby Grow said...

&lg&,

I was just messin' with you because of your unique "call-sign."

I had no problem reading your thoughts. You're a fine communicator!

Dan,

Whether or not to pronounce a Greek or Hebrew word may not be the main point of your post; but it certainly is a substantial point of what you're getting at . . . or at least it is a major foil for your main point.

But if you believe it is far afield of the main point --- then so it is (you have the right as the encoder to determine what you mean). And so I must depart . . .

DJP said...

Joshua, all's well, nothing to forgive. I find the Australian accent fun and elusive. Sometimes I've thought that Australian is to British as Texan is to Californian. It's similar, but kind of wilder. I hope that isn't heard as in any way insulting, it isn't at all meant to be. I enjoy both.

Now, telling Australian apart from New Zealand... that's a tough task for these ears.

But now it is I who am far afield.

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Bobby, thought it was funny. My husband always says that to me english is my second language, apparently I don't have a first..

To others, could any one translate this?
πομπώδησ
:)
name-thingey

DJP said...

Ask Steve Miller.

(c;

So spricht der HERR said...

Julius,

Your condemnation reeks with pride as well. You're isolating a whole group of people and labeling them prideful because they see the original languages as that important... I'm tired of this sweeping trend of epistemic humility among some Christians. Seriously, get off your high horse, disguised as humility, and thank God for blessing the church with all sorts of people who are different from each other. If our pastors, generally speaking, do not know more than their congregations, there is a problem. Equally, there is a problem when the congregation does not know enough to keep him in check. It's a balance: one body, many parts.

I'm getting really tired of people who like to voice to others how humble they are. "I'm not like that tax collector over there..." now the montage is "I'm not like that smug Pharisee over there..."

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Julius Mickel said...

So spricht der Herr,

Perhaps i needed to be more clear but I was simply reiterating what bobby grow was stating (though i didn't read his post before now).
I do hold high the call and demands of the pastorate, yet it's possible to isolate unneccesarily pastors who don't have such schooling (that is PRIDE) and that is unfair (so to that extreme I would defend such ministers over and over again). Likewise I believe the scriptures are not complicated and however it's presented it should not make the average pew person feel incapable of grasping the meaning of scripture- yet the Pastor should be able (in whatever he believes IS necessary) and strive to teach others (pass on) what he knows and has been taught.
As regards ignoring godly men and godly messages because they miss something small, I know this too well have seen it and have done it and it's never been fruitful, to that end i would warn others to be careful of.
I would not want to discourage the usefulness of Greek and Hebrew, but have seen some use it as badge against those who didn't know it, something which I love about the Puritans that they viewed education as another means of pursuing God not as way to impress others (speaking of those who do). As John Owen said of John Bunyan that he would trade all his learning to be able to touch hearts like the tinker (Bunyan).
Perhaps this doesn't apply to anything that has been said thus far, sorry.

So spricht der HERR said...

Julius,

Thanks for responding. I agree with your last post, except for the comment about Scripture being uncomplicated, assuming I understood it correctly. If that were so, commentaries would be pretty much useless.

I couldn't agree more on two things:

1.) Uneducated preachers using Greek.

This shouldn't happen. Do what you can and use the training you've received and the gifts that God has given you. Don't try to impress others or try to be something you're not, you're doing a disservice to your hearers and those who do know Greek (or Hebrew) will find it to be a distraction.

2.) Pastors lording their knowledge over others.

This is grievous to the Spirit and needs to stop. It is because of so many pastors like this that some people are so turned off to anything "intellectual" or "scholarly". This is PRIDE indeed, which the Lord hates.

Another thing I agree with, though only partially, is the foolishness of dismissing a preacher who makes a mistake. We all make mistakes and we need to be mindful of this. Something could slip a preachers mind, etc.

However, if these errors accumulate or they are errors which clearly demonstrate a serious lack of discernment or preparation on the preachers part, one should become wary.

SoSpricht

Julius Mickel said...

SoSpricht
Amen

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Joshua Bovis said...

Joshua, all's well, nothing to forgive. I find the Australian accent fun and elusive. Sometimes I've thought that Australian is to British as Texan is to Californian. It's similar, but kind of wilder. I hope that isn't heard as in any way insulting, it isn't at all meant to be. I enjoy both.

Now, telling Australian apart from New Zealand... that's a tough task for these ears.

But now it is I who am far afield.


Easy to tell the difference between Aussies & Kiwis! It is all in the vowels. Kiwis don't pronounce them properly (if at all). Example 'fridge'= Frudge or Fr'dge.

Oh by the way, have you heard? I am a heretic according to Schiori. You are too!

Mesa Mike said...

.. and you are to be Schioriated because of it.

Heretick!

DJP said...

Not knowing who or what a Schiori is, I don't know how disappointed in myself, or alarmed about you, I should be.

DJP said...

Oh doy, I just linked to her at my blog. The name didn't register.

Yeah, well, turns out I'm not upset to be anathematized by such as Schiori. In fact, she'd alarm me if she didn't.

Carrie said...

Dan - if you're really interested in "Kiwi" pronunciation, this funny little chart will get you started.

http://korudesignz.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/nz_alphabet.jpg

(Love love love your blog, by the way)

-Carrie

DJP said...

Oh, Carrie, I love it. I may have to put that up this Friday on my blog for Hither & Thither. Thanks!

Carrie said...

Oooo, that would be so exciting! And you may credit me for the link if you wish; I won't get mad.

DJP said...

You need to make yourself a profile, Carrie.
(c:

Time to close the thread. Amazing how such a simple, straightforward post could prick so many consciences.

And yes, I suppose it's possible to (violate what Matthew 7:1 really means) and attribute all sorts of eeeevil motivations to me.

Or you could just let it mean what it says, and deal. In favor of that route (in addition to Scripture) is the fact that I've said it over and over and over and over again, in many different ways.

And in closing, one more time:

Study to know what you should know. Don't pretend to know what you don't know.

Prepare hard and fittingly. Or explain why a doctor or a lawyer should study harder for his work than a pastor for his.