PastorJeff wrote:So what is the benefit of a 35 year old Youth Pastor learning Greek? Is it necissary? It is not a "you have to do this" but it is a "I really feel that you need Greek" kind of thing. Why study it when I can just look it up?
I really am interested in your opinions. It does not matter if you consider yourself a "religious" person or not. Either way, I welcome your input.
I spent years learning Greek, so I feel qualified to weigh in on this topic.
The short answer to your question is "no." It is not necessary. Your instinct is correct: Often a person is in much better hands when they rely on the work of dedicated translators than when they rely on their own translation skills. It's a tradeoff: much is lost in translation, but much is gained in the sheer quantity of material that can be read in translation. And some of the things lost in translation weren't that important to begin with.
The question is not (A) "Is it good to know Greek," but rather, (B) "Can I afford to spend time learning Greek, or is my time better spent doing something else?" Question A is a no-brainer, the answer is yes. Question B is a lot less clear. Each person will have a different answer. For you, the answer might be no. It matters a great deal what your own inclinations are. All knowledge is valuable, but you can't study everything.
On the other hand, your Sr. Pastor has an opinion on this, and I would consider his advice carefully. Teachers, counselors etc. steer us in directions we wouldn't be inclined to take on our own. Sometimes they may have insights that are hard to convey and don't sound convincing, but turn out to be the right advice at the right time. So, allow him to inform you, even if you don't agree with him.
Perhaps in your denomination no one will take you seriously unless you know some Greek. You have to earn your wings, so to speak. You and I can sit and decide that that's silly, but other people's opinions do matter. Sometimes you have to prove yourself in ways that you don't care about, but other people do. Years of unpleasant study may pay off in unexpected ways.
There are a lot of pros and cons here, and I'm sure other folks on this board can do an excellent job of pointing out all the pros of learning Greek. Here is a well-written essay on just this topic: http://www.helleniccomserve.com/sherrlecture.html
For myself, I just really liked Greek, and I still do. Perhaps you will like it, too, to your surprise. Perhaps you have a real talent for this, and you don't know it yet. You might as well give it a try.
Knowing Greek gives you a certain advantage: Even if you are not creating new bible translations, you still may end up with a reliable bulls*** detector, which will come in handy when people try to use Greek to justify religious interpretations that you don't agree with. You won't be one of the ones whose eyes glaze over when someone starts tossing off Greek words from the New Testament.
But then again, it's unlikely there will ever be an end to senseless bickering over scriptures. Having a working b.s. detector won't guarantee you'll win arguments, but it will make you detect more b.s., which perhaps is not a good thing. Maybe ignorance is bliss.
You take your pick!!
Ask yourself this: If you don't learn Greek, what will you do with your time, and your mental energy? Do you have some alternative plan?
I'm learning Greek right now, on my own. But that doesn't mean that you have to.