The Hebrew and the Greek

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You call yourself a student of the bible, and do not have the original Hebrew/Greek translation? Are you serious? I forgot, its KJV, or nothing for Paul.1

The Interlinear Bible is the OT in Hebrew and the NT in Greek, translated in literal English by Jp(sic) Green.You would no(sic) this if you had one. It is not a study bible, it is the original Hebrew/Greek translation of God’s Word! Every serious Bible student would have this original translation and would no(sic) this.2

I get challenged from time to time about where I stand on the Scripture, as I am King James Version only. Specifically, I use the 1769 Edition of the KJV, which is the last edition and incorporates standardized modern punctuation and spelling. I hold to the King James Version for several reasons that are well-grounded Scripturally, of which I will address a couple. Unfortunately, it means that I am going to get hammered as being “backward” and a “stick in the mud” as I steadfastly refuse to use any modern version, except to show the corruption of those versions. Worse yet, I am even more uneducated and unlearned as I also refuse to use interlinear bibles, commentaries and such like, choosing to remain with the Bible and a couple of authoritative unabridged English dictionaries and a thesaurus.

In the minds of some, this makes me ignorant, presumptuous and a bit of a dunce. However, that would fly in the face of certain facts about my abilities as a technician, able to grasp complex technical subjects like interferometric principles and laser interferometry, machine geometry and design, electronics, control systems, etc. It also is to have an attitude devoid of understanding some very significant things the LORD God has declared in His word. What I am stating here is plain: I deliberately chose this particular route to take against advice to the contrary, as I see certain things in Scripture that confirm and validate what I believe. With that stated, here is a portion of my case laid before you:

First, it is essential to understand that the LORD God is the Author of all languages, no matter when and where they come into existence. The LORD demonstrated this at Babel:

And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:5-9)

Additionally, the LORD God performed the reverse of Babel on the day of Pentecost:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. (Acts 2:1-11)

At Pentecost the LORD did not undo the languages. Rather, He ensured that everyone present, regardless of where in the world they originated from, heard what was spoken in their own language, even down to the particular dialect they spoke. Thus we find the LORD fully capable of controlling and commanding not only the language, but the way we hear what is spoken, regardless of what language the words are spoken in.

The day of Pentecost had a specific and express function for the New Testament church, but is also applicable to the issue of what Bible we use and whether we need the Greek and Hebrew source texts to refer back to. At Pentecost the LORD made it very plain to all who heard, and to the apostles who spoke, that He intended to have His word in every language on the face of the earth. That is, after all, the only reason for having anyone speak in tongues on that particular day or any other day. We find this confirmation to spread the Scripture throughout the entire world confirmed and reinforced by the Lord Jesus Christ when He stated:

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:45-47)

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:16-20)

Now, it would be quite the stretch to believe the Lord Jesus Christ plainly commanded and intended for the gospel and all of the word of God to go to every single nation on the face of the earth, and then believe that everyone needs to learn ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek so they can understand what the LORD God requires of us, and what Jesus Christ did for us. Somehow, that simply does not work — at all. Thus we are forced to ask another question:

Did the LORD know that His word would need to be translated?

The answer is an obvious “Yes.” Certainly He knew. The only other option would be to require everyone on earth to learn ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek. Certainly we find that not practical, nor do we find anywhere in Scripture the LORD God requiring any particular language to be learned before one can learn of Him. Instead, what we do find is an outreach to every nation on earth, regardless of the language spoken. The particular preservation of the Old Testament Scripture was in Hebrew as the LORD’s covenant was with Israel.3 After all, what could we make of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon? Certainly it would be far, far from reason to assume that his court and kingdom spoke Hebrew, or that he allowed Hebrew to be spoken in His court during the conduct of business. Rather, they spoke Chaldee, or Aramaic and conducted business accordingly. So then another question arises which we ought to consider seeing the following declaration is in the Scripture:

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)

And again:

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalm 12:6-7)

Since all the words of the LORD are pure and unadulterated, how did the LORD God intend for everyone in the world to have His word? Certainly the LORD God knows of the problems inherent in translating anything from one language to another, and certainly He has a plan for insuring that all who want His word can have it. If we care to note the passage from Psalm 12, where it is stated:

Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalm 12:7)

We will understand that the preservation of the Scripture lies within the province of the LORD God, and is not given unto man. Moreover, we should understand that the Scripture is not given to man to have and to hold, rather what is given to man is actually a copy of the Scripture, and not the original. Whether we wish to understand it or not, the original is held inviolate in Heaven:

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalm 119:89)

And again:

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)

Thus man has absolutely no power to change the original which is in Heaven. Moreover, all that results in men changing the Scripture to suit themselves, is to bring utter condemnation upon their own heads. Because the Scripture is so held inviolate, the Lord Jesus Christ made it utterly clear the standard by which man is to be judged:

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47-48)

If then, these things are true (and they are) and the LORD God is a righteous Judge, then He will insure that man always has access to His written word — the Scripture. Moreover, we can plainly see that the LORD fully intended for people to have His word in their native language so they know and understand how and why He judges them. Here then we turn to the problem of translating the Scripture, and yet retaining the purity of the word of God. However, before proceeding, we should consider how the LORD God views His own word, and consequently what our view of His word ought to be:

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)

By this we should understand that mishandling the word of God — the Scripture, is worse than blaspheming the name of God. Therefore, we should be the more careful and cautious how we handle the Scripture, lest we outright condemn ourselves.

What this means is that those who do any translating of the Scripture into another language must be led and guided of the LORD God to do the translating, and must do it on a proper basis, else the work they undertake will not be blessed and will not result in an accurate and proper translation. Moreover, we do have examples in Scripture that demonstrate plainly the LORD’s ability to use individuals to present His word in multiple languages accurately. First, we have the several incidents recorded in Acts where Hebrew, or other known tongue was spoken and it was recorded in Greek. (Acts 22:1-2, 26:14, 10:44-46, 19:1-6) And, we have the apostle Paul’s own testimony of speaking the word of God to others who did not speak Hebrew, in which he effectively and accurately translated what is stated in the Old Testament:

I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. (I Corinthians 14:18-20)

Here the apostle Paul testifies to the Corinthians that he spoke the word of God in several different languages, and refused to speak in an unknown language. This would not, and should not be surprising as the ministry of the apostle Paul encompassed a number of countries, and the LORD God equipped and enabled him to carry out that ministry. The one “language” the apostle Paul refused to speak was the “unknown” tongue, as there was and is no profit in it.

What this plainly demonstrates is the ability of the LORD God to carry forth His word into many different languages utilizing the individuals He has called and gifted for particular ministries. Moreover, the LORD is able to do so and maintain the purity of His word, all without the need for interlinear Bibles and constantly referring back to the Hebrew and Greek. Rather, what the LORD plainly intended was the translation of His word into every language on earth.

Though there is much more to be said about this, particularly as to why I hold to the King James Version only, for now this will suffice as I certainly am no better than the Waldensians, who had a Bible in their own language, and their doctrine was sound for quite a long time. However, we should also note that merely having a right Bible, or the correct underlying Scripture text, or even having the originals (which do not exist anymore) does not in any way guarantee that one will have right doctrine. Rather, having right doctrine is a matter of attentiveness and obedience to the LORD and His word, not merely possessing it and reading it.

There is one further item of note here as to why the particular interlinear Bible Aaron chose to use is J.P. Green’s “literal” interlinear. It really is quite simple, and it has everything to do with the doctrine interwoven in the English text of the “literal” interlinear Bible:

FOUNDER OF SOVEREIGN GRACE PUBLISHERS, INC
JAY P. GREEN, SR.4

Hmmm . . . . a Bible that would validate Augustinian/Calvinist/Reformed/Sovereign Grace/Primitive Baptist theology. What better way to insure your doctrine is “valid.” After all, the “Bible” says so.

Oh, and Mr. Green had to attack the King James Version to support his new version (else why would we need a new version):

Although it is admitted that Erasmus has added to his Received Text two or three readings from the Latin Vulgate, without Greek manuscript authority (e.g. Acts 9: 5, 6), and one from the Complutension Bible which as no Greek manuscript authority (1 John 5: 7), we have not deleted these from the Greek text as supplied by the Trinitarian Bible Society – though we do not accept them as true Scripture.5

And, we also see that J.P. Green ignores the Formal Translation method and lumps it in with Dynamic Translation, smearing both the KJV translators and the Bible they produced (Should we wonder why?):

THE ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS

There are two translations in this volume, one appearing as the literal translation of the Greek words, with English equivalents directly under each of the Greek words, and the other, The King James 2 Version, on the side of the page, which serves to provide a straight-forward translation for the purpose of making it easy for the reader to see the proper word order in English, and to thus easily essiminate the message given in God’s word on that page. Both translations are accomplished in a word-for word translation.

The ‘conceptual idea’ form of “translating” the word of God has been rejected, studiously avoided because no person has the right, nor the inspiration, to rewrite God’s word to conform it to his own concepts.

Those passing off their conceptual ideas are, in our opinion, despising the words originally given, and carefully preserved……. It is hoped that these literal word-for-word translations will demonstrate that a true word-for-word translation can also be a readable and easily understood representation of the Scriptures.6

Now we have somewhat of the rest of the story. . . .


  1. e-mail from Aaron dated 20 Feb. 2009
  2. e-mail from Aaron dated 19 Feb. 2009
  3. There are the minor exceptions of part of the book of Daniel, minor portions of Ezra, and a verse in Jeremiah.
  4. J.P. Green Study Archive @ PreteristArchive.com – The Internet’s Only Balanced Look at Preterism – WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
  5. J.P. Green Study Archive @ PreteristArchive.com – The Internet’s Only Balanced Look at Preterism – THE GREEK TEXT IN THIS VOLUME
  6. J.P. Green Study Archive @ PreteristArchive.com – The Internet’s Only Balanced Look at Preterism – THE ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS
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One Response to “The Hebrew and the Greek”

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  1. Aaron Says:

    Man made traditions, Religiosity, Denominational thinking have to be put away for apostolic revival in these last days. Anyone and everyone knows that a serious bible student will study the original way it was written in Hebrew/Greek in addition to their KJV, or other English translations. I have no problem with the KJV, I just expand my interpretation of God’s word through its original translation. There are a number of sites for studying Hebrew/Greek online. The one I use most often is greekbiblestudy.org as it has the KJV and other translations right next to the original Hebrew/Greek.

    Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer, wrote the following in regard to the importance of understanding Greek and Hebrew when studying the Scriptures: “The languages are the sheath in which the sword of the Spirit is contained.” God sovereignly chose to have His Word written in Hebrew (the Old Testament) and Greek (the New Testament).

    Our modern English translations are excellent. Most of the major English translations available today are superb renderings of the original Greek and Hebrew. However, in any translation, not everything that was communicated in the original language can be precisely conveyed in another language. Some nuances do not transfer well from one language to another. As a result, a translation rarely is a perfect rendering of the original. (This is one reason why the Amplified Version was published.)

    An example of this is the “aspect” of Greek verbs. English verbs have tenses—past, present, and future. Greek verbs have these same tenses, but they also have what is known as “aspect.” Present-tense Greek verbs mean more than the action is occurring presently. A Greek verb can also carry the meaning that the action is occurring continually or repeatedly. This is lost in English unless the aspect word “continually” or “repeatedly” is added to the translation along with the verb. A specific example of this is Ephesians 5:18, “…be filled with the Spirit.” In the original Greek, this verse is telling us to continually be filled with the Spirit. It is not a one-time event—it is a lifelong process. This “aspect” is lost in the English translation.

    With all that said, the Bible also makes it clear that the Spirit is the author of the Bible and that He will help us to understand the His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 14:26). You do not have to know Hebrew and Greek in order to understand the Bible. God’s intended message for us is accurately communicated in English. You can have confidence that God can reveal the meaning of His Word to you without your knowing Greek and Hebrew.

    Perhaps this is a good analogy: reading the Bible without knowing Greek and Hebrew is like watching a 25″ television, while reading the Bible knowing Greek and Hebrew is like watching a 60″ plasma HDTV with stereo surround sound. You can understand what is going on with the 25″ television, but the 60″ plasma HDTV with stereo surround sound gives added depth and clarity. With the help of the Holy Spirit, anyone can accurately understand the Bible in English. However, knowing Hebrew and Greek helps to better understand the nuances and richness of the biblical texts. (Got Questions.org – Why is it important to know Greek and Hebrew when studying the Bible?)

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