No more reading the NT in English, please.

Last week I had a meeting with my doctoral supervisor. This was our first meeting since I finished the MA portion of my program, even though I’ve been working with him for a year now. Last year involved coursework, the next three are pure research.

So in the course of the conversation, almost abruptly, he looked me in the eyes and said, “Have you read the New Testament in Greek, yet?”

I gulped. And then said, “All but Luke and Acts, and I’m halfway through Luke.”

He replied, “Well, since you are a New Testament scholar, you know…”

The way his sentence trailed off was like a punch in the gut. His advice was gentle in its delivery, firm in its content. Thus in the past week, I’ve plunged headlong into Luke and have finished the first third of Acts today. Since the term officially begins on Monday, my goal is have the rest of Acts read by this weekend.

Can I finish? Do I have the time? Will my kids let me read at night or will they stay up playing? How can I manage this during Induction Week? While all these questions and more flood my head there is yet one thought which dominates—that silence after my supervisor’s kind rebuke, reminding me that as an aspiring biblical scholar, there is no excuse for failing to read in the original languages.

Which is why his moment of silence was followed by the following statement: “Okay, so no more reading the New Testament in English; it’s all Greek from now on.”

Consequently, two nights ago, for the first time, I dreamt in Greek.



  1. A noble quest indeed. I have set myself to read through the GNT in its entirety over the next few months. My recent readings have exposed some vocabulary shortcomings, so I plan to tackle that in turn. I make it my goal to know every word of the GNT and then turn my attention to other Koine and Hellenistic works. O Lord help us!


  2. Reblogged this on ἐνθύμησις and commented:
    I couldn’t agree more with the post below. I’m in the middle of reading through the GNT (up to Acts now), and I’ve found it refreshing, thrilling, and challenging. If you have studied the original languages, set aside your English translations and work through the original text.


  3. Hmmmm This has all the hallmarks of a Christianized version of “Fear Factor.”


  4. Thanks for this. I need to get into the same habit. Needed the “gentle” reminder.


  5. […] I really liked this post by about Tavis Bohlinger about reading the Bible in English. […]


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