Importance of Hebrew

November 1, 2010

The following is the sixth question posed by swbtsbloggers.

Question: Is learning OT Hebrew important? Why?

Answer: Learning Biblical Hebrew is an important step in sound exegesis. It is not to say that one must know Hebrew in order to understand the Bible; however, the profundity of the Bible is often lost in translation. Although translators work hard at the task, translation is a task that is fraught with difficulty. Every translation is an interpretation of what is being said. Since every language has a certain degree of ambiguity, the interpretive options are multiplied in translation. Learning Hebrew allows the interpreter to see more clearly the interpretive options that are available and unavailable.

More importantly, learning Hebrew allows the interpreter to see intended allusions and connections that are often more difficult to see in translation. This fact is not due to the failures of the translators, but the facts of translation. Furthermore, biblical authors take words and their shapes seriously, so that they often connect their interpretations with the forms of the words.

The interview was first posted at swbtsbloggers.