It's Greek to me, but now it's easy!

If you know me at all, you know I love to study the Bible in-depth. Every time I dig deeper I am further captivated at how much bigger, better, and more beautiful the Gospel is. One aspect that I love to study is the original language/words behind our English Translations of the Bible. In particular, I love Greek because that is what most of the New Testament was written in. Each time I look beneath our English translation I see a depth and connectedness that the English rarely captures. 

I do want to clarify that I am not implying it is a requirement. Actually I believe children can capture the fullness of the Gospel with paraphrases and retellings, such as the Jesus Story Bible. Anyone can hear, see, and read about how Jesus lived and grasp the Gospel. For me, looking at the Greek is a joy. My desire is to show others a very easy way to look at the Greek (and Hebrew) when studying Scripture. In doing so believe you will find quickly how engaging taking your reading of the Bible can be. 

Blue Letter Bible is the app/website I will be showing you how to use. This app is my favorite and I'm delighted now that it (finally) came out for Android. BLB has an app for your Android and Apple Devices as well as a website (that can be accessed on any device with internet.) The screen shots below are attempting to show how exactly it looks on Android/iPhone/Website (respectively). At the bottom of this post I will share verses and words that will give some great examples of why studying Greek can be so fun and interesting.

Here goes....
After opening a passage, this is what it looks like for Android, iPhone and on the website. 
(For Android the links on the bottom for iPhone are under the top left drop down.)

To access the Greek for this passage (and everything BLB offers) simply click a verse.
Select Interlinear on Android.  Interlinear/Concordance for iPhone.  
Tools or the verse reference for Web.

Now we can see the Greek, English and the Interlinear.
Now scroll down to the word "Pastor."

You are now looking at the English word(s) and the corresponding Greek word 
and the Strong's Reference number and the composing Root Words.
Tap the box for the word "pastor."

You can now see a lot on the greek word, including the definition and how to say it.
Now scroll down. 

You can see the ways it is translated in all the verses the word occurs in English.
Plus Thayer's Lexicon will give a lot more insights and connections.
For this Greek word, it is odd that only for Ephesians 4:11 the word is translated as "pastor" instead of "shepherd". Sadly most English translations do this, which in my opinion downplays the imagery of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  

Now we can see all the times this Greek word is used.
 It is very helpful being able to see the verse for context to understand how the word is used.

While I hope you found this helpful, this is just the beginning. Every time I read the Bible certain words jump out at me. Sometimes it might be because it's an unusual word or a seemingly odd word choice, other times I am just curious. 

Regardless if you want to learn more about a word or want to look up all the related references, Blue Letter Bible is a great resource. The website and apps do a lot more than this, but this is what I use many times a day. Here is a five minute video that shows what you can do. 

Here is some fun ways to try it yourself, if you want to see how interesting, telling, and even fun looking at original languages can be!

I believe you will quickly see how words can come to life and how studying the Bible can be anything but stale and boring. If you think I am exaggerating start with numbers 2 and 7. 

1) Look up Matthew 16:18 and the word "ekklesia" which is the word for Church. Look for the the occurrences Acts 19. Notice the context and who is being described. 

2) Look up Colossians 2:2 and the word "symbibazo" which the word "knit together." Look through Thayer's Lexicon and notice the first definition. This word is more vivid than what your Grandma does with a needle and thread. 

3) Look up Hebrew 9:5 and the word "hilasterion" which is translated "Mercy Seat." This is the exact word used 13 times in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) for the Mercy Seat above the Arc of the Covenant, where sin was dealt with. Now look for only other time the word is used in the New Testament (it's used only twice). Sadly translators guessed how they think sin is dealt with instead of pointing to the Tabernacle, which is what the author was doing. 

4) Look up Romans 5:3 and the word "hypomone" and look how many different English words come off this one single Greek word. Notice the depth of the word in other linked verses.

5) Look up Ephesians 4:12 and the word "katartismos" which is translated "equip". You will only see one occurrence, but click on the root word (which is really just a different tense). Notice the fullness of meaning of that word, in looking up the definition.

6) Look up Acts 26:8 and the Greek word for "incredible." Look at  definition and how it is used. What word do you think is a more natural and logical choice?

7) Look up Philippians 3 and the Greek word "skubalon" which is normally translated as "rubbish" or "garbage." Check out the definition, what does this word really mean?

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