The Minister and his Greek NT

Rod Decker has provided a PDF version of A. T. Robertson’s classic booklet/essay on The Minister and his Greek NT (here). Here’s an excerpt:

Every preacher wishes to be original. That is a proper desire, within limits. One does not care to be bizarre or grotesque. He cannot, if loyal to Christ, be original in his creed. But he can be individual in his grasp of truth and in his presentation of his mes- sage. Originality is relative after all. The ancients have stolen all our best ideas from us. But one can be himself. That is precisely what people like most about us.

Now, the Greek New Testament has a message for each mind. Some of the truth in it has never yet been seen by anyone else. It is waiting like a virgin forest to be explored. It is fresh for every mind that explores it, for those who have passed this way before have left it all here. It still has on it the dew of the morning and is ready to refresh the newcomer. Sermons lie hidden in Greek roots, in prepositions, in tenses, in the article, in particles, in cases. One can sympathize with the delight of Erasmus as he expressed it in the Preface of his Greek Testament four hundred years ago: “These holy pages will summon up the living image of His mind. They will give you Christ Himself, talking, healing, dying, rising, the whole Christ in a word; they will give Him to you in an intimacy so close that He would be less visible to you if He stood before your eyes.”

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Love the way it begins: “It ought to be taken for granted that the preacher has his Greek Testament.” I would add: “…and reads it through the lens of his Hebrew Bible.”

  2. That is vintage McKinionspeak, love it. Since you mentioned it this is the time to tell everyone to read John Sailhamer’s article The Messiah and the Hebrew Bible in JETS 44, No. 1 (March 2001). It just might change your life.

    Randy, have you read John Bright’s The Authority of the Old Testamet (1967)?

  3. This is convicting — “There is less excuse than ever for the man with college and
    seminary training who does not turn his knowledge of Greek to
    tremendous account. His tools are far superior to those of a former
    generation.”

    How much more so now than when this was written! It seems that the excuses get fewer and fewer as time goes on. I doubt that Robertson could have imagined Bibleworks.

    I realize that it’s easy to be idealistic about this while in seminary, but I’d hate to spend so much time learning the languages just to forget them in a few years because I didn’t keep up with a relatively modest amount of regular effort. I don’t want to just throw away this privilege of learning Greek and Hebrew.

  4. Jason,

    You’re right about not wanting to squander your training in the languages. I would make the argument that genuine expository preaching depends upon the languages. I realize that not everyone has such training but like you said the excuses are sometimes hard to justify. You can even purchase the entire first year of Basics of Biblical Greek lectures on video from William Mounce. Keep up the hard work in seminary, master the basics because they never get old.

    Blessings,
    PSL

  5. You’re right, Paul. Great article. I’ve read some Bright, but not that. I’ll look it up.

    Thanks for linking to the article; it is something I haven’t read before. I’m sure some of it will make its way into my annual pep-talk for my entering Greek and Hebrew students.

    By the way, this year’s adjustment was based on an old quote Dr. Barrick used to use: “Reading the OT in translation is like watching a color movie on a black and white TV.” I have now modernized it a little more and state, “Reading the OT/NT in translation is like watching college football in standard def instead of high def.”

    BTW…go Rebels.

  6. Randy,

    WAR EAGLE! Oct. 31 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

    PSL

  7. […] The Minister and his Greek NT « Expository Thoughts. AKPC_IDS += "2440,"; […]

  8. Posted by Scott McClung on September 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Nice quote. The ability to be genuine and new yet still keep to what IS rather than branching off, is an art form in itself.
    I imagine as a pastor, this can be a challange. You teach the same bible lessons you have been teaching and reading for 20 years and most of us Sheep just eat grass and don’t pay much attention (yes, a goat in my case). Trying to keep it real and authentic could become a chore without the fact that the message is SO REAL.
    Thanks,
    Scott

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