Friday, April 19, 2013

Lost in Translation

I have been studying ancient Greek for school for the past 2 semesters, and really enjoying it. I expected it to be difficult, but was pleasantly surprised by a few things that took the edge off. One was that there are many words that we use in English that have Greek roots - eg "foto" = light, so many times you can deduce meanings. Another reason Greek hasn't been as bad as I expected, is that there are many similarities between Greek and Hungarian grammar as regards verb conjugation.

Yesterday I was doing a word study on μαθητευω (to disciple, as a first person verb), and ran across this commentary of Matthew 28:19-20, which I found insightful:

Interestingly, the usual misionary terms are not employed here: ‘preach’, ‘convert’, ‘win’, and the like. A slower, lower-profile verb is used, an almost scholastic, schoolish word, ‘disciple’. To disciple means ‘to make students of’, ‘bring to school’, ‘educate’... or in modern-Enlish terms, ‘to mentor’, ‘to apprentice’. The word pictures students sitting around a teacher more than it does pentitents kneeling at an altar – an educational process more than an evangelistic crisis, a school more than revival. The word’s prosaic character relaxes and says in effect, ‘Work with people over a period of time in the simple educational process of teaching Jesus’. Only the Cosmocrator can do the big things like convert, win, bring repentance, or bring a person to decision – all authority is his, and his alone...(Brunner, F.D., Matthew: A Commentary: 2, revised edn. [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004], 815)

The calling is that of teaching people the way that Jesus taught his disciples: spending time with them and teaching them what it means to walk in the way of Jesus.


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