Today was graduation day for my Hebrew Grammar I and Hebrew Grammar II class. Today marks the conclusion of a class that Nathaniel Cooley and I began one year ago. We started with around 7-8 students. We have ended with 2.
Within the class, we studied through the first 40 chapters of Ross’ Introducing Biblical Hebrew. If you think that two ladies within the local church making it through Ross without any external motivation is impressive, I haven’t told you that we also read In the Original Text It Says (a more hands on treatment of Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies), translated through the book of Jonah and are halfway through the first chapter of Ruth.
Even more impressive is the fact that they aren’t calling it quits. Do you think I have next Wednesday morning from 7:30-9:00AM to myself? Nope! We will be picking up with Mitchell’s vocabulary guide, Arnold and Choi’s A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, and we will continue translating through Ruth.
If you thought I was done bragging about these amazing students, I’m not. The fact that impresses me even more is that throughout our translations, neither has referenced biblical software like Logos, Accordance, or Bible Works. They haven’t used analytical resources that provide parsing helps. They have worked through the text with only one aid, A Reader’s Hebrew Bible. This source footnotes some of the more infrequently used words.
I mentioned the fact that they have persisted with me for a year without any external motivation. What, then, keeps them going? They are driven to understand the Word of God in the original languages. They want to see God’s Word with fresh eyes. Week after week they learn vocabulary, paradigms, and translate through exercises (both sight reading in class and as homework). Week after week they are frustrated with the nuances of the language, the ever changing vowels, the multiplication of Hebrew root forms, and the difficult task of learning the vocabulary. But coupled with that is the knowledge that reliance on God and discipline produces.
Kudos to you, Ingrid and Christine. I can only pray that I will be capable of matching your discipline and ardent pursuit of God!