Summary of How Biblical Languages Work – Chapter Seven

             In chapter of seven of How Biblical Languages Work, we see the need to consider dialects and change. It must be understood that a language is more than just words and grammatical structures. When studying the scriptures and Biblical languages, we must also consider the fact that the way something is said and the way speech is changed and adjusted is also important. There are variations in how people speak. Some of the factors that cause such variations include: age, geographical region, occupation, social situations, and social status. One common example is the fact that we may not speak to someone older than ourselves with the same style and words that we may use with someone our age or younger. Remember, Hebrew and Greek are no different than any other language. These variations in the way people speak should be considered when interpreting scripture.

                The author also considers the terms ‘dialect’ and ‘accent’. A dialect is language used in terms of geography or various social parameters. This should be remembered as you read scripture. The dialect of the language must be considered. As a result of dialect, we have accents. This effect’s the way words are used and pronounced in various geographical locations.

                Social attitudes also have an effect on language.  There are some words that are offensive and impolite in one culture that may not be in another culture. This is why a careful of study of the society of Biblical times is very important in determining the meaning of the words of scripture. The question must be asked as to what the word would have meant at the time of its writing and not what it means to us today.

                 The author points out that Hebrew and Greek are no different than any other language. As changes continue through time, words can change meaning. As students of the Bible, we must understand these changes and understand the way context influences meaning. We should also be thankful for the various translations of scripture made available to us today. As language continues to change more new translations may be needed in order to communicate the Word of God properly in the language of the day and in order to avoid misinterpretation of God’s Word.

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