The Place of Greek and Hebrew In A Minister’s Education -- By: Michael Burer

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 01:2 (Aug 1997)
Article: The Place of Greek and Hebrew In A Minister’s Education
Author: Michael Burer

The Place of Greek and Hebrew In A Minister’s Education

Michael Burer

Th. M. Candidate
Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX

This article originally appeared in The Threshing Floor, a student publication of Dallas Seminary, on April 10, 1997. It has been edited since what Michael has to say could have been said by any number of students studying at one of the better seminaries in America. I say “better” because the worst seminaries have already capitulated: Greek and Hebrew are no longer part of their required curriculum. If there is to be another Reformation—and I think one is sorely needed—knowledge of and hunger for the biblical languages will again form a vital component in its formation. Rather than a reaction to the excesses of Roman Catholicism, the next Reformation will be a reaction, in part, to the anti-intellectualism that has infested and corrupted evangelical theology, evangelical ministry, and evangelical life. The footnotes are my addition.

Daniel B. Wallace
Associate Professor of New Testament Studies

Dallas Theological Seminary.


There is a growing tension on many conservative seminary campuses that is affecting the whole direction of these schools. It is not evident when you first arrive on campus, but for students studying there, the influence becomes unmistakable. It noticeably affects the attitudes of various students. The tension has even influenced whole departments and thus the schools as a whole. It is the tension between content and practice as it relates to the original languages of the Bible.

Traditionally, ministerial training in the United States was very rigorous academically. Think back to great men like Jonathan Edwards. Although obviously a highly gifted man, he was not very far from the norm. Ministers regularly knew Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and they were trained to use their minds in the ministry as much as their hearts. However, with the advent of the second Great Awakening, the emphasis upon ministerial training began to

change. The educational changes in the secular world also affected the Christian scene as traditional theories of education gave way to ideas that emphasized process and practice instead of content. Through these forces a subtle anti-intellectual emphasis entered Christianity. These changes show up today in the tensions that are currently present on many conservative evangelical campuses.

Ministerial students everywhere, as a rule, no longer seek to learn the Biblical languages to the best of their ability. Instead they want to cut to the chase and ...

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