I keep getting asked if learning Greek (or Hebrew) was worth the pain. After investing so much energy in the original biblical languages over the last three years, I sure hope so…
Sometimes it can be gold. Really. Andrew’s recent post demonstrates as much. (Although, his discussion of the mechanics of Greek grammar just opens up the options; it’s wider contextual and theological arguments that prove decisive — and rightly so!)
I’ve seen some great fruit from it myself. It’s my standard practice when preparing to preach from the New Testament to begin by translating and flow-charting the Greek. Here’s the flow-chart I prepared on the passage I preached from last week (the layout is a bit idiosyncratic and only really meaningful to me, but hopefully you get a sense of how it visually exposes the structure of the passage — ultimately, its three points became my sermon’s three points):
Of course, things aren’t always so neat. Backing up to preach on 1 Peter 5.6-14 this week, my flow-chart is a dog’s breakfast. Rather than clearly revealing the flow of thought in the passage, the grammar and syntax there seems to be largely a matter of convenience. Picking the lock of that passage to get at its logic is going to need different tools … and a bit of jiggling.