English Grammar For Bible Students7:25 AM
Why Should the Bible Student Know English Grammar?
The reasons for a study of this type are many, but three simple reasons will be given here. First, the Bible claims to be the inspired word of God (II Tim. 3:16). This expression means that the Scriptures claim to be “God breathed”, and the Bible often makes this claim for even the
words of the text (II Sam. 23:2 “The Spirit of the L ORD spake by me, and his word was in my
tongue.”). Inspired writers often use the grammar of the Scriptures to make doctrinal arguments. Our Lord appealed to the tense of a verb to prove the resurrection, pointing out that God says “I am” Abraham’s God as opposed to “I was” (Matt. 22:32). Paul makes a doctrinal point concerning the promise of the Messiah by pointing to the number of the noun “seed” as being singular and not plural (Gal. 3:16). This implies that a better understanding of grammar would allow a better understanding of the Bible.
Second, the Bible was originally written in languages other than English. To properly learn these languages, one must first be a master of the native tongue. When studying Greek, one will often be asked to translate sentences in and out of English. Without a functional knowledge of English, many fail in these exercises. Furthermore, in order to discern whether or not the original language has been correctly translated by the multitudes of available versions, one must understand the usage and senses of English grammar in addition to simple definitions. Is the future perfect verb “shall have been bound” a better rendering than the simple future “shall be bound” in Matt. 16:19? Who can say without first knowing the difference in the two verb tenses! In any language, the rules of grammar mean as much or more to a sentence than the definitions of the individual words.
Third, the Christian is often in a situation where his selection of words, either on the written page or in oral speech, determines whether or not some lost soul comprehends the Gospel. Some will claim that we are saved by “faith only”, which implies that grace, blood, love, and repentance are unnecessary. What they probably mean is that we are saved “only by faith”, which implies that faith is essential while not excluding the other essentials. For this reason, it is prudent to learn how to carefully and properly construct sentences and complete thoughts.