Peter Gentry on the Biblical Languages

PGentryThe following article is reproduced from The Gospel Witness 65.6 (1986): 22 (102) with permission. The Gospel Witness is a publication of Jarvis St. Baptist Church in Toronto, Ontario that would devote one issue per year to Toronto Baptist Seminary. Dr. Peter Gentry taught the biblical languages faithfully at Toronto Baptist Seminary from 1984–1999 and 2008–2017, and he still teaches at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Enjoy!


By Professor Peter Gentry

During the past fifteen to twenty years many Bible colleges and seminaries have reshaped their curricula and programmes, cutting content-oriented requirements like Biblical languages, church history, exegesis of the original text and systematic theology in favour of method-oriented requirements such as Christian education, counselling skills and psychology. Certainly a balance between content and method must be maintained, but the present trend tends toward highly skilled communicators and counsellors with nothing to say. Continue reading “Peter Gentry on the Biblical Languages”

John Wesley on the Biblical Languages

John WesleyWith this post, I want to begin a series “X Christian from Church History on the Biblical Languages.” I often share these sorts of quotes with my seminary students, and I thought they might be helpful to others as well. These posts are intended to be short, mainly consisting of a quote, which can be rather long at times, with brief commentary from me to provide some context. Continue reading “John Wesley on the Biblical Languages”

Inner-Biblical Exegesis between Old Greek Isaiah 9:9 and Genesis 11:3–4?

The Old Greek (OG) translators are often times (mis)understood to be mechanical in their approach to translating the Hebrew Text (HT), often pictured as giving a plain, or even rigid, word for word rendering of their Hebrew source. Of course this description is closer to the mark when describing Song of Songs or Ecclesiastes or even Numbers etc. But not all translators went about their task in this way. Some of them wove deliberate interpretation or exegesis into their translations (of course all translations are interpretations to a degree so that we should think about translations on a continuum from less to more interpretation). The Isaiah (image: Codex Marchalianus) translator is an example of a more interpretive translator, and I was struck by what appears to be a beautiful example of his technique in 9:9. Continue reading “Inner-Biblical Exegesis between Old Greek Isaiah 9:9 and Genesis 11:3–4?”

Right Use of Seminary Education

I agree completely with a recent post by Jim Hamilton on the right use of a seminary education. I will continue to emphasize that the student who desires to be a pastor must be able to access the Bible and in order to do that he must learn the languages, and a seminary is the primary place to learn Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek.

Some students love history and theology courses and spend all of their elective hours on these subjects. I understand that desire, and it is a good one, but students must realize that they will be feeding their flock from the Bible primarily, and therefore, they should devote numerous hours in seminary to the learning of the languages. The church needs competent pastors who teach from the Scriptures, not pastors who are good at reading secondary literature and who can report on it (note: this is an important skill too).

I will pass on some advice regarding course distribution, which I followed as a seminarian. Begin with the languages and continue with the languages (regular exegesis courses after beginning language courses). Take history classes alongside these ones. Add biblical theology courses near the middle to the end. View systematic theology classes as summative courses and take them near the end of your time in seminary. Make sure to sprinkle the general required courses all throughout, so that you are not stuck taking allot of those courses in one semester (I speak from experience on this one).