How a uni talk on love poetry convinced me to study Hebrew…

We heard a lecture at college yesterday on why we should try to learn Hebrew, but ultimately the convincing words in my head are Martin’s* from 6 months ago and while not even trying.

You see, at Newcastle Christian Students last year, we did a series on Song of Songs – ‘The finest love song’. Before that series I had never spent careful time in the book, or heard it explained particularly well. It embarrassed and confused me, and I avoided reading it.

Rather than try to explain the details of the talks, I encourage you to listen to them – particularly this one. A few verses explained in this talk have stayed with me in technicolor, as Martin carefully explained the Hebrew to teach us of a column of smoke rising up from the desert… Then, instead of a fragrant and loving bride prepared for her husband, we met a woman being offered like a sacrifice to a king she did not love.

This talk and series profoundly changed the meaning of Song of Songs for me, and this once obscure book became rich and deep with truths mined carefully and offered to us gently. The book came alive with these clarifications and nuances as it never had before, and I am incredibly thankful to God for giving me a reason to long for the same kind of fresh eyes with each study of his word.

Those are the kind of words used at college to explain why original languages are good to study: fresh, enriching, deep. There is (rightly) no suggestion that knowing original languages is essential or better or more godly, but there is the excitement that maybe this will be a tool to help you understand and share the bible with others, and for that I am glad.

Wintercon - 334
Marty doing some bible teaching**

So please don’t misunderstand me – this post isn’t to sound clever (I know diddly squat about Hebrew) or to make it sound like I might be embarking on a higher plane of godliness!! Rather it is to explain some of the excitement I feel (alongside fear) of tackling this language, to thank Martin for years of carefully explaining the bible at NCS, and to thank God most of all for giving us teachers who love his word and continue to wrestle with it on our behalf.

* Campus Director of NCS and husband to my trainer Jen.
** for this I might be in trouble 😉

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