Is It a Waste of Time to Learn the Biblical Languages?

Let me share today an article from Dr. Michael Kruger on Is It a Waste of Time for Seminary Students (and Pastors) to Learn the Biblical Languages?” He publishes the same article yearly for the students who might ask the question of why studying these ancient languages even matters. 

Here in the Philippines, some of the students and even pastors studying in a seminary might have the same thought. Biblical language subjects are something that they simply need to endure in order to pass the exams or even get a degree in theology. But Dr. Kruger pointed out that this thinking has “a couple of assumptions” that must be challenged and changed in order to get the utmost benefit in studying biblical languages.

Assumption 1: The ministry is incompatible with the biblical languages

As unfortunate as this may sound, this is one of the underlying assumptions that every student might have. They do not see the indispensable benefit of knowing and being competent in the biblical languages for the ministry. In doing so, they are inadvertently saying that God’s word is not at the center of every ministry.

If we keep our focus on God’s word as our foundation, then keeping up with the biblical languages should be a more natural part of our weekly activity. If we work in a “study” instead of an “office” then studying might just come more easily.

Mike Kruger

Assumption 2: Our tendency to forget specifics of the language makes it useless

I personally desire and recommend that every minister of the gospel be competent in biblical languages as long as they have an opportunity to learn (and it takes so much time!). But to think that it may be useless in the future (since we may forget it anyway) as his reason not to take its study seriously is to strip a minister of his number one tool in doing the ministry especially in preaching the Word of God faithfully with exegetical accuracy.

Prior to learning the languages, most of us simply do not know how to think on a textual level when it comes to studying the Scripture. But after learning Greek or Hebrew (even if we forget it), we now understand grammar, syntax, logical flow, and sentence structure. Moreover, we understand the way words work, how their meaning is determined (or not determined), the importance of context, and the avoidance of certain exegetical fallacies.

Mike Kruger

What about you, do you think it is a waste of time? If not, what are some other benefits of studying the biblical languages?


ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα· αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν. ~ ΠΡΟΣ ΡΟΜΑΙΟΥΣ 11:36

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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