A few years ago one of my NT professors told me secretly that he did not believe knowing Greek and Hebrew was really all that important for most pastors. He argued most would never achieve the level of expertise required to make an informed decision on the many linguistic difficulties of a text and would rely on commentaries for advice. Furthermore, he argued that there are so many different English translations now original language knowledge is far less important. I disagreed and went on to do Hebrew and Greek.
I have recently been thinking about what this professor of mine said and wondering why we think pastors should know Greek and Hebrew. Is it really that important for preaching? Is it possible to determine from four or five good English translations what might be a faithful understanding of what the text says? Personally I rarely focus any part of my sermon on a word study, so do I need to start with the Greek or Hebrew when preparing a sermon. Am I better served in fact by beginning in my native tongue?
I have my own opinion on this and will share it at a later time. I do think langauges are important for pastors but my reasons maybe different to others. Therefore, I am wondering what you think. Are Greek and Hebrew important for pastors and if so, why? Why did you learn Greek and Hebrew and why did or didn’t you keep it up?