Why I Don’t Learn Biblical Languages

Many people have taken up the study of ancient languages such as Greek and Hebrew to understand the Bible better. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  One can learn hidden insights by reading it in the original languages. I started learning Greek, but then stopped. I realized something. Understanding the exact context and content of a scripture is still secondary to the source that gave it: revelation. Many religions believe in a concept called sola scriptura. This means that they believe that the ultimate source of understanding the Gospel comes from scripture. As Latter-day Saints, we very much believe that revelation is on-going. What is more authoritative? The thing given or the thing that gave it? To me, it is the thing that gave it. In other words, revelation. Thus, I feel like it’s more important to understand how the Spirit works and speaks to me than it is for me to learn Greek. That, and I don’t really get how the first declension works. But I digress.

Here is a great quote from an article1 I was reading that explains it really well:

“The united voice of the current Brethren. Because the words of the Lord never cease, we look to the Brethren to declare his current voice and will to his church and people. We do not believe in sola scriptura (by scripture alone), but in sola prophēta (by prophet alone). One of the roles of the prophet, as President Gordon B. Hinckley said when he was President of the Church, is to ‘declare doctrine.’ Those who also hold all the keys of the kingdom, namely the First Presidency (D&C 81:2), “receive the oracles for the whole church” (D&C 124:126). Sustained by the key-holding Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (D&C 112:30), ‘with divine inspiration’ these two highest governing bodies of the Church ‘counsel together to establish doctrine.'”

However, straining a bit at understanding absolutely does help bring revelation.  This year, we are studying the New Testament.  I do use an app called “Parallel Plus” to display several different translations side-by-side.  Having that comparison available helps bring about the pondering that leads to revelation.

[1] – https://rsc.byu.edu/vol-17-no-3-2016/doctrine-models-evaluate-types-sources-latter-day-saint-teachings

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