During the week before Thanksgiving, many of the BCS staff and some of our students attended the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in New Orleans, LA. Our Associate Professor of Old Testament, Jason DeRouchie, presented a paper that challenged members of the ETS to retain the biblical languages and original-language exegesis in their school curricula.
The paper, titled “Biblical and Historical Perspectives on Why We Still Need the Biblical Languages,” clarified why DeRouchie spent the last five years of his life co-authoring A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew with Duane Garrett (B&H, 2009). It also provided seven clear and forceful reasons from the Bible and from church historical greats like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Machen as to why the church in every generation needs men and women who can use the biblical languages in the context of Gospel proclamation.
DeRouchie’s seven reasons are listed below and are structured around the order of Ezra’s resolve in Ezra 7:9c–10—”The good hand of his God was on him, for Ezra set his heart to study and to practice the Torah of Yahweh and to teach both statute and rule in Israel.” Study the Word > Practice the Word > Teach the Word. The handout and audio version of the message (given earlier at BCS) may be downloaded.
The Uniqueness and Importance of God’s Book
1. Using the biblical languages exalts Jesus and affirms God’s wisdom in giving us his Word in a book.
The Priority of Studying God’s Book
2. Using the biblical languages enables us to observe more accurately and thoroughly, evaluate more fairly, understand more clearly, and interpret more confidently the inspired details of the biblical text.
3. Using the biblical languages allows us to use more efficiently and evaluate more fairly the best secondary tools for biblical interpretation.
The Necessity of Practicing God’s Book
4. Using the biblical languages fosters a depth of character, commitment, conviction, and satisfaction in life and ministry that results in a validated witness in the world.
The Responsibility of Teaching God’s Book
5. Using the biblical languages provides a warranted boldness, a sustained freshness, and a more articulated, sure, and helpful witness to the Truth in preaching and teaching.
6. Using the biblical languages equips us to defend the Gospel and to hold others accountable more confidently.
The Goal of a Bible-Saturated Life and Ministry
7. Using the biblical languages helps preserve the purity of the Gospel and a joyful glorifying of God by his Church into the next generation.