The Advantage in Knowing the Biblical Languages -- By: John H. Bennetch

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 100:397 (Jan 1943)
Article: The Advantage in Knowing the Biblical Languages
Author: John H. Bennetch

The Advantage in Knowing the Biblical Languages

John Henry Bennetch

Greek and Hebrew have never failed to appear on the pages of Bibliotheca Sacra. Right or wrong, the magazine chooses to emphasize the Biblical languages. This insistence became part of the editorial policy from the beginning and a part fundamental enough not to be changed during the course of a century. At present the early emphasis has been magnified, if anything. Starting with the editorship of Lewis Sperry Chafer, who assumed his responsible post three years ago, two serials commenced and have continued regularly issue after issue. Both Zechariah from the Old Testament and 1 Peter from the New Testament are being expounded in the original languages. Besides the connected expositions, additional reference to the original has never been omitted whenever necessary to an argument. The Centennial Number, of course, cannot include the usual instalments from either of the projected series because space is lacking. But they will be forthcoming in the other three issues of the Centennial year, and proceed after that without further interruption.

No one of the seven editors in the lengthy career which Bibliotheca Sacra has enjoyed, distinguished himself chiefly as a linguist. Robinson was geographer of the Holy Land; Edwards a sacred journalist; Park the theological professor; Wright a scientist and apologist; Kyle the archaeologist; Rollin Thomas Chafer an able hermeneut; and his brother, the present incumbent, a theologian of theologians. Yet each felt it needful to use or promote Hebrew and Greek learning. Why did they? They realized very well, did they not, how the study of the Biblical languages is falling into disrepute and has been on the decline for a long time? No doubt these scholars were alert to the trend in ministerial education, judging from what was written for the quarterly from year to year, starting as far back as 1844.

B. B. Edwards himself composed the article in the

January 1851 number of Bibliotheca Sacra, entitled “Collegiate Education-Mathematical and Classical Study,” in which it was declared, “The subject of collegiate education in the United States is intimately related to the prosperity of Theological Seminaries and to the usefulness of the Christian Ministry. Hence we have opened our pages, not unfrequently, to classical criticism, and to topics of a more general nature, bearing on the studies, libraries, revenues, etc. of the colleges of our country. The seminaries are fed from the colleges. If the latter are flourishing, the former will not be likely to languish. If pursuits of a commercial, mechanical or business character, present irresistible attractions to the sel...

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