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Biblical Languages - Greek and Hebrew: Home

A guide for students learning Biblical Greek and Hebrew, with resources beyond the classroom.

About This Guide

This guide is designed to provide some supplemental resources and aid for students in DIV 1310-1312, the New Testament Greek courses; as well as students in DIV 1330-1332, the Biblical Hebrew courses.

This guide is also designed to provide helpful tools for anyone working with Greek and Hebrew texts.

Language Study and Word Study

Learning Biblical languages doesn't necessarily mean being able to read all of the Twelve Prophets in Hebrew or translating epistles on the fly.  Many of the resources here will also help you engage in "word studies."  When doing word studies, you look at different ways that Greek and Hebrew words are used, in an effort to better understand Biblical concepts.

How do word studies using Greek and Hebrew help us understand the Bible?

Here's an example.

The Hebrew word koach - meaning "strength, power, or might" - appears in all the following verses, translated differently each time in the NIV.

Leviticus 26:20 "Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit."

Exodus 9:16 "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

Joshua 17:17 "But Joshua said to the house of Joseph--to Ephraim and Manasseh--"You are numerous and very powerful. You will have not only one allotment."

There are a lot of Hebrew words that are translated into the NIV as "power:" gebuwrah, oz, mashal...and each of these can have very different connotations, the same way we might say that Barack Obama holds power, or Andy Roddick's serve has a lot of power, or Harry Potter has magical power. English-language concordances won't always help you to get at these distinctions in the same way using the original languages will.

The word koach is used frequently to describe the power of God in Exodus and elsewhere, but it appears to refer to tangible strength rather than dominion or rulership.  Understanding the connotation of this word helps us to understand the meaning of the Bible.

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