To Those who Love Greek and Hebrew…

Do you love tough theological issues? Do you have a desire pull your hair out at all hours of the night? Do you want to be in academics for the rest of your life? Would you like to give an entire people group the opportunity to worship Christ forever?…

How about Bible Translation!
When we were in seminary, the Greek and Hebrew classes seemed to be among the most popular (and the most feared!). Yet applying the languages to Bible translation seemed to be the least popular (yet still the most feared!). Why would this be? If you are among those who love the languages, what other profession will have you using the languages as much as Bible translation would? As you consider what to do with the great love you have for the languages, we ask you to…
1. Consider Making Bible Translation your “Default”
Most people say that they’ll stay in North America unless they feel a specific call to go overseas. We challenge this and ask you to consider going overseas unless you feel called to stay in the US (I mean, why not?). Your appreciation and knowledge of the languages is insanely unique. You must be among the .01% of people in the world that have your desire and your education in the languages. Steward this gift well and consider using it to serve a Bible-less people group.
2. Consider the Need
If you’ve spent any time browsing through our blog, you’ll have noticed that we consistently bring up the tragic imbalance of resources. Since 1990, Americans have translated or revised 29 versions of the Bible into English. We have multiple different versions of the Bible, Bible software, Bible commentaries, Bible covers, Bible highlighting pens, Bible apps, multiple Bible schools…and all the while there are 2,100 languages without ANY portion of the Scriptures. Most do not have seminaries, VBS’s, healthy churches, and so on. We have been so that we can be a blessing.
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16
We challenge you to leave what is potentially prestigious and comfortable and translate the Bible for those who are living in complete darkness.
3. Consider your Impact
When you die, what will you leave behind that will continue to serve your fellow man? How can you impact generations for possibly thousands of years when you are only on this earth for 60-70?
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” 1 Peter 1:24-25.
We don’t want people to remember “Dave and Stacey Hare” we want people to know and remember God. And the way in which they will know God is through his Word. His Word remains forever. It is such an honor to think that every verse we translate into our target language will never be erased or undone. It will remain forever. What a joy and an honor to be a part of something so much bigger than us.
You might be thinking…
  • I can use the languages as a preacher. This is true and awesome! And God calls and uses many men here in America, who have taught us so that we can go out. However, please remember that the people in your congregation are able to read their own very accurate English translations and also listen to gifted preachers online. On the contrary, there are thousands large people groups that do not have that privilege.
  • I can serve the Kingdom by being a professor. Our professors have shaped our faith and our thinking in countless ways and we praise God for them. If you are still in school, take an informal survey of your peers. How many of them are planning to teach in schools in the States vs. teaching overseas? Our experience has been that most students pursuing a career in teaching are planning to stay here in the US, and many are having a hard time finding positions because the market is so flooded. On the contrary, there are 2,100 language groups still waiting to receive the Word of God in their language. The Bible translation market is far from flooded. Let’s try to even things out a bit.
Please don’t miss the point, don’t pick apart our arguments. We know and understand that there is a need right here in the US for teachers and pastors. We know that if it were not for the teachers and pastors in our lives we would not be able to translate the Bible. If God is calling you to be his faithful servant to the United States, please obey him! But if you love the biblical languages, desire to use them all throughout your life, take a moment and ask the question, “Why would I not be a Bible Translator?”
Well, that’s our appeal to our fellow Greek and Hebrew students. Feel free to post a comment to balance us out or bring up a point we’ve overlooked.

Author: David M. Hare

Dave is a husband, father of four Africans, and is currently helping the Kwakum people do Oral Bible Storying and Bible translation in Cameroon, Africa.