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Distinctives: Biblical Languages

Every seminary has its own unique heartbeat, values and distinctives. At Baptist Bible Seminary, our six distinctives will serve you well as you prepare for a life of ministry for Jesus Christ. This month, we highlight our emphasis on the study of biblical languages.

When you study at BBS, many degree programs have a foundation on biblical Hebrew and Greek. This original language footing allows you to plunge deeply and accurately into God’s Word in both testaments.

BBS’ biblical language distinction is certainly counter-cultural. Even many Master of Divinity programs have dropped their language requirements. Now a student can receive a Master of Divinity without ever having taken a course in biblical Hebrew or Koine Greek. This is unfortunate, because that student is forever tethered to a translation instead of having the skills to study the original biblical text. That student who has not studied the original languages is at a severe disadvantage when commentators make convincing arguments based on Greek or Hebrew, because they cannot evaluate the pros or cons of the argument. While a computer program in Bible will help one gloss and parse a Hebrew verbal, it does not build confidence with the language to engage with the latest journal article or with the preacher waxing eloquent on Sunday using the Granville Sharp rule inaccurately. 

Not having a biblical language requirement might make obtaining a Master of Divinity easier and quicker. However, a degree program without biblical languages leaves a hole that cannot be filled. Those who take the time and put in the effort to understand Greek infinitives and the Hebrew Piel verbal stem learn that over time:

  1. They have a deeper confidence in handling the Word of God.
  2. They are able to interact intelligently and critically with the authors of both commentaries and journals who offer language based arguments.
  3. They realize that as potential teachers and pastors, they owe it to their future students and congregants to apply themselves fully and completely to the Word as God gave it to His original audience.
  4. They develop a deeper and richer appreciation for the Word of God and He who inspired it. (And that by itself is well worth the sacrifice of learning the biblical languages.)

by Mark McGinniss, Ph.D., Baptist Bible Seminary assistant dean


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