Thursday, March 3, 2011

From Knowing to Experience

I completed the Master of Divinity program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 2004.  Most seminaries do not require the extensive work in Greek and Hebrew for the general M.Div. like Gordon-Conwell does. 

At GC 1/3rd of your classes will be working with the Greek and Hebrew languages if you pursue an M.Div.  You are required to take two classes to learn Greek, then one to learn how to use it, then two more classes to show you can actually put what you have learned to work (called exegesis).  That's five classes just in Greek.  Then you have to take two classes to learn Hebrew and two more to show that you know how to use it.  That's four classes in Hebrew. 

That's 9 classes that you will be working with either the Greek or Hebrew languages at Gordon-Conwell.  If you pursue an M.Div. full time at GC most semesters you will be working with Greek or Hebrew.

I did not enjoy those classes.  They were hard and I did not have either a natural like of them nor a natural gift of them.  I'm proud to say that I got a C- in Greek 2 which was a blessing (because if you get a D at GC you have to take the class over).

Even though I didn't like the work, I knew doing it was important.  I knew that learning those languages was an essential skill to studying and understanding the Bible in a way that was faithful to God and to the original authors.   

Here's where what I knew turned into practical experience. 

I was recently reading a book that said a Hebrew word is used in Genesis 2:7.  I was carefully excited.  I was excited because what the author was saying would've fit my sermon for this Sunday perfectly. 

However, when I looked it up in several different resources I found that the author is absolutely 100% wrong.  It is not a subjective wrong either, the word he said that was used in the original Hebrew language is not the word in that text.  I even e-mailed a friend to confirm because I couldn't believe this author would make such a big mistake.

I am no scholar with the Greek or the Hebrew languages.  In fact, I would say my ability with each of them at this point is elementary.  However, because of the language requirements as part of the M.Div. at Gordon-Conwell I know enough to be able to maintain language integrity and it kept me from sharing something from the pulpit that would not be biblically accurate.

I am so thankful for when knowing becomes experience.


Marlin said...

Pastor Rich, Miss you so much. Ralph and I were just talking about you yesterday. Have a very blessed spring. Marlin

Marlin said...

Pastor Rich, Ralph and I really miss you. So glad that all is going so well for you and your family. We were just talking about you yesterday. God's blessings to all of you. Marlin

Rich Tuttle said...

Thanks for contacting me. We are doing well. Blessings to you and Ralph.