Seminarians of the current and coming generations may well become the most “ignorant” generation of preachers in the later history of the Church. Now that they have succeeded in having the study of Greek and Hebrew made optional, seminarians must decide about exegesis and semasiology (semantics) before they understand the words, much less the ramifications of their decision.

Writing to his friends at Corinth, Paul expressed a concern about their being “uninformed” about the gifts of the Spirit and their use in the life and worship of the church (1 Cor. 12:1, RSV). The Greek word is agnoein. It has the sense of being unknowing, uninformed, unenlightened. The King James Version here translates agnoein as “ignorant,” and it is in this sense I use the word.

The Revised Standard Version is not a new translation but a revision of earlier English versions. The preface states that the preparation involved studying the biblical text in its original languages as well as in earlier translations, in order to make the Word of God clear so that God might speak “to men in these momentous times, and … help them understand and believe and obey His Word.”

Much current sentiment about the study of Greek and Hebrew does not lie in this direction. The 1969 General Assembly of the United Presbyterian Church gave preliminary approval to a proposal to omit study of the original languages of Scripture from required seminary courses. Other denominations have already approved similar actions.

Making this language study optional implies, of course, that it is of only secondary importance in the training of the minister. Given that implication, the seminarian is understandably reluctant to subject himself to such rigorous courses.

One line of reasoning given ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.