Troublesome Topic: Why No Greek or Hebrew in This Mobile Website?

Here are the reasons I do not include any Greek or Hebrew words in my footnotes. Some of them are the same reasons I usually do not pronounce Geek or Hebrew words when I am preaching.

1. I am writing with common people in mind, not Greek and Hebrew scholars.

2. I think using the Greek and Hebrew words is seldom helpful.

If a person knows Greek or Hebrew well, he will not need me to say or write the word, and if he is not sure, he has the means to look it up later. Neither saying the word nor refraining from saying the word will make any difference for this person.

Saying the Greek or Hebrew word for those who are not likely to know it is not very helpful for them because it is not connected to anything they already know; it is just a strange set of sounds. The only exception I can think of is if someone is making a concerted effort to learn Greek or Hebrew.

3. Then there is the matter of pronunciation.

            If I am speaking and I pronounce a Greek or Hebrew word, how do people know it is the right way to say it? I may be teaching them to say it incorrectly. I cannot count the number of times I have heard preachers pronounce a word in Greek or Hebrew and say it in a way that I am convinced cannot be right.

            In writing I would have to provide a pronunciation guide, which apparently, few people look at or learn to interpret.

            Am I even able to give a definitive answer on what the correct pronunciation is? NO. I watched a You Tube video of a Hebrew rabbi somewhere in America trying to help the rest of us know how to pronounce Hebrew sounds. Hebrew does not write out its vowels, but it has two vowels sounds we would call “A “vowels. There vowels have names, and the name of one of those “A” vowels means “open” because the mouth is more open when pronouncing that vowel than when pronouncing the other one. Then the rabbi gave examples. He said the difference between the two vowels was like the difference between the English words “pot” and “father.” At first I thought they were the same sound, but after hearing him say both words slowly about 7 or 8 times, I finally heard a slight difference. So I learned that the differences may be very subtle, not at all like the sounds my seminary professor told me to use. I have seen various scholars use different diacritical markings (pronunciation guides) for the same word. So whom do I trust? How do I pass on to my readers a pronunciation guide with any degree of confidence if I am not a native speaker of those languages?

4. For some people using Greek or Hebrew words is a matter a pride, or it can lead to pride. I don’t want to allow myself to go that direction.

Some would argue that it lends validity to the speaker or writer. First of all I would answer that using Greek or Hebrew words and pronouncing in ways that are incorrect does not lend validity. I have experienced that while listening to a sermon. But when I am speaking, there may be someone present who thinks I am the one saying it incorrectly. Secondly I would answer that I need to let the content of my teaching establish its own validity, not the use of words that make it sound like I know one of the original languages.

            In the end I decided to not include any Greek or Hebrew words in this Bible app.

The next lesson is How To Read Through the Bible and Understand Most of It (A Reading Plan)