Invitation to Biblical Hebrew
A Beginning Grammar
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Reviewer: Discerning Reader Team
Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg gives credit where it is due. He once praised some of his early coaches saying, “They instilled in me how to do things the right way, having good fundamentals, having good work habits – and even how to put on my socks.”
When it comes to learning Biblical Hebrew, getting your socks on correctly is of little value. However, learning the fundamentals of the language and applying good work habits will bring sure success. This is the premise of a new Hebrew grammar written by Southern Seminary professor Russell T. Fuller and Kyoungwon Choi. They desire for students to actually use Hebrew in ministry, rather than being limited to English translations of the Old Testament. This goal will not be achieved without a solid grounding in the basics of phonology (sounds) and morphology (forms).
But can you learn Biblical Hebrew on your own? Perhaps you took some Hebrew in seminary, and now you cannot recall anything beyond the alphabet. Or perhaps you have never taken a language course at all. Don’t fear. If you have a desire to learn Hebrew, let me encourage you to purchase this grammar, along with the workbook and DVDs. Utilizing the deductive approach, the authors instruct you in a concept and then turn you loose to practice it through pages of drills and exercises. As long as you master each chapter before going onto the next, you can work your way into a solid understanding of the grammar and syntax of Biblical Hebrew.
And why is learning the original languages important? Without a solid grounding in them, our preaching ministry will lack certainty and confidence. As John Piper says, “The confidence of pastors to determine the precise meaning of biblical texts diminishes. And with the confidence to interpret rigorously goes the confidence to preach powerfully. You can’t preach week in and week out over the whole range of God’s revelation with depth and power if you are plagued with uncertainty when you venture beyond basic gospel generalities.”
Pastors, we must become “iron sharpening iron” in these matters. Biblical languages may come easy for some, but for the rest of us the difficulty involved should cause us to join hands together in our fight against pastoral sloth. We should be encouraging one another to learn, to use, and to not forget the Biblical languages.
Pick up these resources, and give yourself the tools necessary for learning the original language of the Old Testament.