Should I study the Bible in original Hebrew and Greek?


I started studying the scripture in Hebrew and Greek a little over a year ago, and I am amazed by the way that it has made me grow in such a short period of time. Many times it felt like this careful and rigid means of reading the Bible in its rawest form is and should be the only way that everyone should read the Bible.

Out of pure devotion, I started encouraging more and more believers to do the same, giving them passages to study in their original language and exercises to help them squeeze more out of the scripture. Much to my surprise, it didn't work out too well for a very large chunk of Bible readers I was teaching.

Out of ignorance, I quickly judged that maybe those who didn't enjoy the careful study of the Bible weren't just hungry enough for God or just weren't "Christian" enough to do it. Never was I more wrong and flawed in my thinking.

It's not in everyone's nature

Many people who move in the gifts of teaching, exhortation and knowledge love to read the Bible for all its worth and get excited with the careful study of the Bible in its original language. If the idea of reading Bible in that manner excites you then I strongly encourage that you continue to do so.

However, to expect everyone to fall in love with God's word in that way would not only be unfair but also judgmental and narrow-minded. 1 Corinthians 12:20 reminds us, "As it is, there are many parts, yet one body."

And as the members of the body of Christ have different functions, they also have different ways of doing things -- doing ministry, discipleship, life and even devotions.

Whatever leads you closest to God

Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."

The thing is commendability, excellence and praise-worthiness can look different for many people. In the area of Bible reading, it may be simply digesting the Bible as a love letter or breaking it down the way a lawyer would break down an article. In whatever way God has wired you, do it that way. Do not force something that does not lead you closer to God and only draws you away from enjoying Him and His presence.

It's not what you know, but what you do with what you know

More importantly, the healthiest form of Bible reading is that which leads you to higher levels of practice, not higher levels of knowledge. As important as knowledge and enlightenment is, all these things mean nothing if we do not apply it in our lives. So if studying the Bible in Hebrew and Greek helps you bring more application to your life, go for it.

Philippians 4:8 tells us, "What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."