When drawn into an argument with ignorant and elitist clergymen, Christian scholar and leader in the Protestant Reformation William Tyndale declared, "If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost." I question whether the clergymen knew Tyndale was referencing the preface famous scholar Erasmus put on the Greek New Testament: "I would to God that the plowman would sing a text of the Scripture at his plow and that the weaver would hum them to the tune of his shuttle."
500 years later, Dr. Robert Plummer of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary continues Tyndale's cause, and he's doing it by teaching the original languages in which the Bible was written. I was fortunate enough to sit down and have a conversation with Dr. Plummer to discuss the areas in which he's advancing that cause, including co-authoring his book, "Beginning with New Testament Greek: An Introductory Study of the Grammar and Syntax of the New Testament." Dr. Plummer also founded Daily Dose of Greek and Daily Dose of Hebrew, and the banner on both websites sums up their mission clearly: "God inspired words. We're here to help you read them."
This work is even more revolutionary than it seems at first blush because both Daily Dose of Greek and Daily Dose of Hebrew are free services. We're blessed to live in a time when technology has made getting an education in almost any part of the world easier and cheaper than Tyndale or Martin Luther or anyone involved in the Reformation could have dreamed of. You don't have to go to seminary or a graduate school to get a world-class education in these languages. You don't even need to have stepped foot in a college or even necessarily speak English: Daily Dose of Greek lessons are also offered in Spanish and Korean.
During our conversation, Dr. Plummer said, "Through [Daily Dose of Greek], I hear from hundreds of people around the world, and I hear from construction workers, from medical doctors, from retired engineers, and I tell you there are hundreds if not thousands of people, ordinary faithful Christians, sometimes alone, sometimes gathering with a small group, reading the bible together in the original Hebrew and Greek. It's just a wonderful thing that's going on."
Do you feel drawn to the original writing of the apostles? Does the idea of reading well-worn passages with fresh eyes appeal to you? Do you have 3 minutes a day? Dr. Plummer has given us the tools for free. If you're convinced to pick those tools up and unearth new treasures in the Bible, you can start right now by visiting dailydoseofgreek.com.
- Daily Dose of Greek/Hebrew is for the average Christian, not just seminary students
- Learning Koine Greek can bring you closer to the apostles' original writing; what languages were used around Jesus and what did he actually speak?
- 3 minutes a day is enough to learn Greek or Hebrew; the tools you need to learn effectively, many of which are totally free
- Get a study buddy; the modern miracle of educated laypeople around the world
- What happened when the message of the bible stopped being mediated through institutions
- Why Greek should be like underwear; the importance of graciousness and respecting English translations; the snowball effect of mistranslating a single phrase
- You can be reading Greek in 1 year; the different approaches to learning Greek
- The pitfalls of over-reading some words; why contextual awareness is important
- The treasures unlocked by reading the Gospels in Greek; reading in Koine Greek is a way to read passages again for the first time
- Going Deeper with New Testament Greek is great for complete beginners, but it also contains state-of-the-art linguistic analysis
- How ancient authors structured their writing without spacing or punctuation; the power of reading the original papyri
- How to start your journey into Koine Greek; you don't have to be a genius or have a lot of education to learn
Jerry Bowyer is financial economist, president of Bowyer Research, and author of “The Maker Versus the Takers: What Jesus Really Said About Social Justice and Economics.”