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Why is the NT in Greek?

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#1
Hi all,

Just a simple question really, to which I couldn't come up with a decent answer with my own thinking. Let me clarify the question, before somebody responds with: "because Luke/John/Matt./Mark/Paul spoke Greek"!

I can understand why the word of God in the OT was Hebrew - because the prophets to whom the word of God was inspired spoke Hebrew. But why are the NT scriptures in Greek, when Christ spoke Aramaic? I know there are some phrases which are preserved (or are they just retranslated back into Aramaic from Greek?), but why did those authors of the books of the NT not write his exact Aramaic speech, rather than translate them into Greek?

I hope my question is understood; peace be with you!
Seeker
 
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#2
I can't satisfactorily answer this without mentioning some of the names you mentioned above.

Question is, is The NT all about Chrisit (alone)? How about the apostles???

How many people spoke Christ's language or understood it?
 
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#3
Ireneus, Eusebius, Jerome, and others thought at least one book, Matthew, was originally written in Hebrew. Another, Papias of Hierapolis is known to have said the Greek translators each translated the book (Matthew) 'the best they could'.

I scanned a portion of Shem Tov's Hebrew Gospel of Matthew in another thread the particular verses I thought were remarkably different than the Greek to English editions. It was from book "The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew by George Howard".

Another book "The Greek Jesus versus the Hebrew Yeshua" is I think an excellent read too it is based in part on the Hebrew manuscripts.

Then there's "The Trinity Doctrine, Christianitiy's Self Inflicted Wound" by Sir Anthony Buzzard, but I digress. :)
 
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#4
Just as English is the technical/business language today, Greek was the international language of Jesus' day. Many wealthy and upwardly mobile Jews, were educated in Greek as well as Hebrew and Aramaic. However scribes were mostly skilled in Greek.
There are no autographs(original manuscripts) in Hebrew. The OT/Torah is from the Greek Septuigent. That is a Greek copy of the ancient Hebrew texts.
Here is an interesting website to learn about this issue;
 
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That is a good question. I would answer it with yet another question. Which of the two languages was more likely to survive two thousand years? And which one would you think God to choose for his Word to be written?
Such a good response! For shame, we never even thought that it was God's doing! Thank you so very much! :clap
 
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#9
That is a good question. I would answer it with yet another question. Which of the two languages was more likely to survive two thousand years? And which one would you think God to choose for his Word to be written?
But this is the question - why did God choose Greek? Perhaps it was because they were the philosophical giants, but at best they are a translation of Yeshua's words and - especially given that it is a distant language - is bound to contain inaccuracies.

The question of preservation is not an issue, because as far as I see it, if God has given salvation to humanity that comes through inspired words, then God will protect those words. It would not make sense otherwise for God to condemn people who it had not reached in any way, shape or form.
 
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#10
But this is the question - why did God choose Greek? Perhaps it was because they were the philosophical giants, but at best they are a translation of Yeshua's words and - especially given that it is a distant language - is bound to contain inaccuracies.


The question of preservation is not an issue, because as far as I see it, if God has given salvation to humanity that comes through inspired words, then God will protect those words. It would not make sense otherwise for God to condemn people who it had not reached in any way, shape or form.

You say that God would protect his Word against transgressors; yet, can you or do you believe that the translations or writing of the Gospel into the Greek language from an Aramaic speaking Christ, who also, if we believe is the Son of God, who had the power to speak in any language, could have been missed in translation? This I do not understand.

In my opinion, what does it matter if the teachings of Christ were written down in Greek rather than Hebrew or Aramaic or some other language? We have the Greek writings! We have the Greek translated into most languages on Earth. Should we then also all learn to speak Greek out of fear that God does not know what he is doing by allowing Men to scribe his Word for the generations to come?

Note: I'm not aiming all of this at you, but you did bring it to light. :)
 
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#11
Think about this: Jesus lived in the Roman Kingdom in which the Greek language was dominant. While there was a "high" Greek, "koine" (common Greek) was spoken all over the empire. It is a highly developed language that God used in the writing of the New Testament. As for Jesus speaking only Aramaic, I question that. The Jewish families were highly intelligent knowing Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. A number of comentaries show that Jesus quoted from
the Septuagent, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. Any way, the writers of the NT were iinspired by God through his Holy Spirit to write what God wanted.
Blessings to you.
 
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#12
But this is the question - why did God choose Greek? Perhaps it was because they were the philosophical giants, but at best they are a translation of Yeshua's words and - especially given that it is a distant language - is bound to contain inaccuracies.

The question of preservation is not an issue, because as far as I see it, if God has given salvation to humanity that comes through inspired words, then God will protect those words. It would not make sense otherwise for God to condemn people who it had not reached in any way, shape or form.
Seeker,

Think of the receptor audience of, say, the Pauline epistles. The lingua franca (common language) of these churches and other audiences was koine Greek, i.e. common Greek.

There was no point in writing Gospels or epistles in languages that were not for the commoners of the first century. You write in the receptor language of the people. That's why the NT is in koine Greek.

There's no point in writing a letter to me in Russian or Chinese. I couldn't read or understand it. Write in English and I'm on home turf and I understand it.

That's why the NT is in Greek and not Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic or other middle eastern languages.

Oz
 
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#13
Seeker,

Think of the receptor audience of, say, the Pauline epistles. The lingua franca (common language) of these churches and other audiences was koine Greek, i.e. common Greek.
There was no point in writing Gospels or epistles in languages that were not for the commoners of the first century. You write in the receptor language of the people. That's why the NT is in koine Greek.

There's no point in writing a letter to me in Russian or Chinese. I couldn't read or understand it. Write in English and I'm on home turf and I understand it.

That's why the NT is in Greek and not Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic or other middle eastern languages.

Oz
G'day all, calvin here.
Yes well I do agree with you oz, I would like to suggest in addition, I am of the understanding that Greek is a very logical language, that allows for the exact thought to be recorded or spoken without ambiguity.
ie. In English I might say "I love..." well which love am I talking about? Mostly context will govern but maybe not always.
If I was using Greek, I could say/write "ego agape /ego eimi agape..." or maybe "ego eimi eros..." leaving no doubt about just exactly what sort of love I am describing.
So this might be another reason for the use of Greek
 
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#14
I was wondering how a fancy extensive Greek language could translate from Hebrew. Is it only the new testement where we find, for example 3 different words for love, etc.
If it was translated from the Hebrew old testament, that would have been simpler? Since the Hebrew language is simpler than the Greek language, a Greek translation couldn't add to it.
Yes, I am a complete novice here. :)
 
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#15
Please be aware that this is a 4 1/2 year-old thread and Seeker hasn't been active in over 4 years.
 
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G'day all, calvin here.
Yes well I do agree with you oz, I would like to suggest in addition, I am of the understanding that Greek is a very logical language, that allows for the exact thought to be recorded or spoken without ambiguity.
ie. In English I might say "I love..." well which love am I talking about? Mostly context will govern but maybe not always.
If I was using Greek, I could say/write "ego agape /ego eimi agape..." or maybe "ego eimi eros..." leaving no doubt about just exactly what sort of love I am describing.
So this might be another reason for the use of Greek
The ancient Greek language used 4 different words for love: agape, philia, eros, and storge.
 

WIP

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#17
The Questions for Christians forum is not a debate forum. Comments should be designed to answer the questions posed by the OP, who incidentally hasn't been seen online since October, 2012.
 
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#18
The Questions for Christians forum is not a debate forum. Comments should be designed to answer the questions posed by the OP, who incidentally hasn't been seen online since October, 2012.
Hello WIP, calvin here.
Yes, my bad. I should have looked more closely at the dates.
I'll be more careful next time:sorry2x
 
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#19
Hello WIP, calvin here.
Yes, my bad. I should have looked more closely at the dates.
I'll be more careful next time:sorry2x
Thank you for bringing this thread back up.

The OP is answered this way:
The prophecy of Isaiah is to be fulfilled. And of course it has special meaning to me.


Isaiah 28:11 KJV
For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewithye may cause the weary to rest; and this isthe refreshing: yet they would not hear.

These verses are quoted in:
I Corinthians 14:21 KJV
In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

If you wish to look totally at spoken languages then look at the nations that controlled Jerusalem over time.

Or look into this prophecy.

Isaiah 6:10 KJV
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Or to understand 6:10
Matthew 13:10 KJV
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

We have two (2) ways the people heard and yet did not hear: Languages of Ruling foreign people, and parables of Jesus.

Some hear poetry and some hear prose. Some ask what is being said and others are so wrapped up in themselves they hear nothing.

Some even hear from Romans 1:19-20

eddif
 
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#20
Hi all,

Just a simple question really, to which I couldn't come up with a decent answer with my own thinking. Let me clarify the question, before somebody responds with: "because Luke/John/Matt./Mark/Paul spoke Greek"!

I can understand why the word of God in the OT was Hebrew - because the prophets to whom the word of God was inspired spoke Hebrew. But why are the NT scriptures in Greek, when Christ spoke Aramaic? I know there are some phrases which are preserved (or are they just retranslated back into Aramaic from Greek?), but why did those authors of the books of the NT not write his exact Aramaic speech, rather than translate them into Greek?

I hope my question is understood; peace be with you!
Seeker
The New Testament might have been in Greek because many of The Epistles of The Apostles were written in Greek or the Lingua Franca of those days outside of Israel.