Introduction

I am, by avocation, a student of biblical Hebrew and Old Testament. I’ve been studying, teaching, and translating biblical Hebrew for over 15 years. Knowing biblical Hebrew has shown me that reading the Holy texts in contemporary Western English is to not take serious the words of our LORD. Indeed, here’s what Martin Luther had to say about biblical Hebrew:

“The Hebrew language is the best language of all, with the richest vocabulary . . . . [and] If I were younger I would want to learn this language, because no one can really understand the Scriptures without it. For although the New Testament is written in Greek, it is full of hebraisms and Hebrew expressions. It has therefore been aptly said that the Hebrews drink from the spring, the Greeks from the stream that flows from it, and the Latins from a downstream pool1.” (Martin Luther, Tischreden)

If biblical Hebrew is so great, why then learn biblical Greek? Because it is better to drink “from the stream that flows from the spring” of the Hebrew language than modern English 2000+ years removed from New Testament times and culturally so disimilar as to be as alien to English as martians to terrans.