Biblical Languages,  Misc,  Scripture

Calvin and Luther on Greek and Hebrew

Almost two weeks ago I had the privilege of being a part of our Far West Regional ETS conference. I presented a paper on the importance of Greek and Hebrew for Martin Luther and John Calvin. It was a lot of fun researching, and I hope it encourages those thinking about ministry.

In essence, the paper proposes that without attention to the original languages of Greek and Hebrew, the Reformation would never have happened. It was the return to attention to detail in the original languages that prompted the break from the Church of Rome, which had drifted into stark heresy. Although not everyone has the opportunity to learn Greek and Hebrew, those who can should learn it. It is a tremendous blessing from God to have all the resources for learning Greek and Hebrew available for us today.

To get the full paper, look at the publications part of the site, or click here.

Edit: This paper has since been turned into a journal article.

“The Reformers and the Original Languages: Calvin and Luther on the Importance of Greek and Hebrew in Theology and Ministry.” The Master’s Seminary Journal 28, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 5–16. [PDF]

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He loves studying the Bible and helping others understand it. He also runs The Bible Sojourner podcast and Youtube channel.


  • Delvin V

    A passing comment, but drawing attention to it here in case future readers are unnecessarily discouraged by the Prof’s comments :-)

    “Although not everyone has the ability to learn Greek and Hebrew, those who can should learn it”
    As a scholar dealing with learning and training theory and practice, I would gently contradict this statement that learning Greek is to do with ability alone (although I assume Prof. Goeman didn’t intend his words to be taken in this way).

    Most people can learn languages — it is all about how much of a priority it is, that is dependent on individual motivation and circumstances. There are no innate language genes!

    • Peter Goeman

      I think we are coming at it from the same perspective. I edited the post because my reference to ability would be better stated as opportunity. Thanks for pointing that out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *