“Quite possibly, [….] the most significant benefit of acquiring a knowledge of the biblical languages is intangible. Most of us are conditioned to think that nothing is truly valuable that does not have an immediate and concrete payoff, but a little reflection dispels that illusion. Consider the teaching we all received from birth. Has most of it been immediately rewarding? We are simply not conscious of how deeply we have been molded by countless experiences that affect our perspective, our thinking, our decisions. Similarly, a measure of proficiency in the biblical languages provides the framework that promotes responsibility in the handling of the text. Continued exposure to the original text expands our horizon and furnishes us with a fresh and more authentic perspective than that which we bring from our modern, English-speaking situation.
“In my own preaching during the past twenty-five years, explicit references to Greek and Hebrew have become less and less frequent. But that hardly means I have paid less attention to the languages or that they have become less significant in my work of interpretation. Quite the contrary. It’s just that coming up with those rich ‘exegetical nuggets’ is not necessarily where the real, susbtantial payoff lays.” (Moisés Silva, God, Language and Scripture: Reading the Bible in the Light of General Linguistics [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990], page 144.)
Quite so. In the end, as Bill Mounce has noted in a couple different places, it isn’t a little bit of Greek that is dangerous, but rather a little bit of arrogance, a little bit of pride. And when it comes to pastoral situations (though not, of course, in academic contexts), it is often the case that the number of cryptic references to Greek slipped in is directly proportional to a teacher’s amount of pride, while at the same time inversely proportional to his or her actual level of skill in that language.