Congrats to Aaron Armstrong and Bill Dodrill, who each won a copy of Greek for the Rest of Us!
In this excerpt from the book, Bill Mounce explains what can be gained by adding a basic understanding of Greek to your studies.
What will you be able to do when you are done working through this text that, perhaps, you cannot do now?
1. You will often be able to understand why translations are different. How many times have you been in a Bible study where the leader is discussing a verse, but your Bible appears to say something considerably different? How can the translations be so different? What does the verse really say? Let me give you a few examples.
Luke 2:14 is one of the better-known verses in the Bible. In the KJV (King James Version) it reads,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Is there anything in this verse that bothers you? It is a statement of blessing, and God’s angels say, “peace and goodwill toward men.” Does God’s peace extend to all people? “Peace” is a marvelous biblical concept that designates a cessation of hostility between God and us; it’s the result of justification (Rom 5:1). The RSV (Revised Standard version) says,
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.”
Here, peace isn’t extended to all people, but only to those who are the recipients of God’s pleasure. Why are the KJV and the RSV different? The answer is that the Greek manuscripts are different at this verse. Some have eudokias with the “s” (the Greek sigma), which is followed by the RSV; others have eudokia, which is followed by the KJV. The “s” completely changes the meaning.