I have decided to embark upon a decidedly arduous and potentially perilous journey—reading through the Old Testament. But I will not be reading it in an English translation, but in Hebrew. I was partially inspired to do such a thing after reading the introduction to Zondervan’s A Reader’s Hebrew Bible. Co-author Bryan W. Smith tells of his inspiration for taking on the task of co-producing such a work, which came from listening to a sermon by John Piper. Smith says that he majored in Old Testament interpretation and was required to be advanced in his Hebrew skills; however, when he began preparing for this project he realized some areas of weakness. Though I am positive that Smith’s capabilities far exceed my own, I take on this task partially for the same reason—to sharpen my now very dull Hebrew skills. I am far more capable in Greek, so I want to bridge the gap in my abilities. In addition to this improvement in ability to read/parse/translate/interpret the Hebrew text, I wish to simply read God’s word through. I must confess that I have neglected the OT of late (with the exception of reading Isaiah). This shouldn’t be if we are to more faithfully preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
The works I’ll be using are only two—Zondervan’s A Reader’s Hebrew Bible by A. Phillip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith and The Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew by Miles V. van Pelt and Gary D. Pratico. I will try to record my translations as I go, but reading through the text will be more time consuming at first, so I don’t know that I will record all of my reading. The point of this exercise will not be to produce a translation for study necessarily, so I will not give the same time and attention to textual matters, problem passages, etc. I simply want to regain a grasp of basic verb and noun patterns, vocabulary, prepositions, and other basic elements of Hebrew grammar.
I have not begun this exercise in earnest, but will do so very soon. I will post occasionally regarding the progress I am making, perhaps posting my translations and other aspects of the text I find interesting. I welcome any and all comments/suggestions, particularly if you have done this type of exercise.
Αυτω η δοξα,