Thursday, July 03, 2014

Why Learn New Testament Greek?

There are many reasons for learning New Testament or Koine Greek. Some people just don't have anything better to do with their time. Bored of TV sports, reality and game shows, and video games, they say to themselves, "Gee, I think I'll learn Greek." Now, I will grant you that this doesn't happen very often, and some of these people are institutionalized. The Nielsen ratings for New Testament Greek are also pretty low compared to Monday Night Football and Wheel of Fortune, the last time I checked.
Other people learn New Testament Greek in order to speak it conversationally. They are usually very disappointed to discover that it is a dead language. It used to be pretty popular around the time of Jesus. But now, not even Greeks speak it anymore, and New Testament Greeks are all dead. 
The friends and relatives of people who have learned New Testament Greek are amazed to find that Greek students often just stare at them blankly when they are asked to “say something in Greek.” This occasional problem can be solved, however, if the Greek student will memorize some simple sentence or phrase, such as, ᾽Εγώ ἑλλενίζω, σύ ἰδιώτε!, which translated means, “I am speaking Greek, you idiot!” (It may be better to leave the phrase untranslated.)                           .
We move closer to discovering the real reasons why people learn New Testament Greek if we observe the unusually high correlation between people who learn Koine Greek and people who go into some Christian ministry. When Americans were asked in a recent Gallup poll, "Do you know Koine Greek?," over 50% of those responding affirmatively were Christian ministers. The majority of the others were seminary drop-outs. Here are the complete results:
GALLUP: Do you know Koine Greek?

NO: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . .  20.0%
YES:  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1%
WHAT IS KOINE GREEK?: . . . . . . .79.9%
     Christian minister:                         51%
     Seminary dropout:                         29%    
     Retirees with nothing better to do: 10%  
     TV Evangelist:                                 5%                     
     Life burnout:                                    5%
These results are significant. They show that if you learn New Testament (Koine) Greek, you will be in the elite, not 1%, but in THE ELITEST .1%. Further, there are undoubtedly strong correlations between those in this group and their spiritual depth and heavenly reward. (The data is not yet available for these correlations.)

In short, these are the main reasons to learn New Testament Greek.