Saturday, March 19, 2011

Some Thoughts on Keeping Your Greek

keep your greek

I agreed to review a copy of Constantine Campbell’s Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People in exchange for a review copy. I just wanted to share several thoughts on the book rather than a detailed chapter by chapter review.

First, because of where I am in my walk with God, I can’t help but read this book through a spiritual formation lens, asking what bearing the spiritual discipline of reading Greek has on our souls as we live before God. While in Seminary studying the languages, it seems that most of the reasons given for us to study Greek have to do with teaching and preaching, which of course is true and valuable. But what greater motivation can there be than to work out how it not only benefits our minds, but our imaginations and hearts as well? I would like to see Greek texts take into account the principles and processes of Christian spiritual formation; I would also like to see spiritual formation texts include spiritual disciplines that have to do with specifically the biblical languages.

Reading this book made me want to see a further book written entitled, Greek for Ragamuffins, which would describe how the discipline of reading and interacting with Greek would benefit those who are experiencing a particularly dark and confusing time in their lives. Would that be possible?

Second, what I appreciate most about the book is the amount of grace on the pages. Studying Greek and Hebrew in Seminary is such a rigorous, even legal affair; no wonder so many come out of it never wanting to keep it! There is so much to memorize in short periods of time, with limited benefit along the way. Language teachers that are harsh toward their students add to this negative experience. Judging from this book, Constantine Campbell would not be one of these teachers! He clearly has understanding and compassion for people who have a lot going on in their lives.

I remember having many great eye-opening experiences with the languages, and look forward to more. I can rely on Campbell’s book to remind me that starting small and simple has greater long term effects than trying to go back to our seminary pace. It makes me want to take up my Greek NT again. Thanks Dr. Campbell!

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