Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 24, 1955

"Now In The Greek...."

E. L. Flannery, Sciotoville, Ohio

Religionists have always resorted "to the Greek" when their practices could not be upheld by the English translations of the Bible.

Jehovah's Witnesses have "gone to the Greek" to get "hell" out of the Bible. It's not in their translation. They say it wasn't in the Greek! and have a lot to say about "hades," "sheol," and "gehenna."

Christian Church preachers for years have "gone to the Greek" to find justification for the use of instrumental music in Christian worship. They know that the English Bible does not authorize mechanical music in worship. So they talk a lot about what "psallo" meant in the Greek. They thus imply that the 148 translators of the King James and American Standard Versions did not give us a proper translation of the Greek word "psallo."

Those practicing sprinkling, infant church membership, and many other things not authorized by the Bible have "gone to the Greek." And what did they find? Why, right there in the original Greek, they say, is proof positive that what they are doing is scriptural.

Running to the Greek has been as natural for those in error as for a rabbit to head for the thicket when the hounds are close. Recently a brother claimed to have found the "sponsoring church" in the Bible. Where do you think he found it? Why, "in the Greek," to be sure! It was not in the English Bible. He spoke of "dative of indirect object," "tense of verb," "imperfect periphrastic," "aorist tense in Greek may be either ingressive, effective, or constantive," etc. Now, what do most people understand about all of this? Not a thing! But why did he not prove his case by an English Bible. Because he could not.

The late H. Leo Boles wrote in his debate with M. D. Clubb: "I want to state with emphasis that any proposition in the realm of religion that cannot be proved by our English Bible is not true — it cannot be proved." (Boles-Clubb Debate, pp. 17, 18.)

Later Brother Boles wrote: "He cannot prove his proposition by the English New Testament. He has retreated to the Greek lexicons to confuse the minds of the reader and obscure the real issue of the proposition." (Boles-Clubb Debate, page 42.)

Brother Boles was not so writing because he did not know the Greek nor how to study the lexicons. He knew that classical Greek and New Testament Greek often vary in meaning and in definition, and that wrong meanings could thus be given to New Testament texts. Brother Boles believed that our English translations were accurate, and that English speaking people could know God's will by reading the English Bible.

Along with the vast majority of my brethren, both those who are able scholars in Greek and those who are completely ignorant of it, I have no confidence at all in any "private interpretation" of the Greek; especially in "interpretations" which do not harmonize with the accepted English translations; which contradict general New Testament teachings; and the discovery of which "in the Greek" just happens to justify something which is already being practiced and which is under question and dispute!

Why is it that no "scholar" ever makes such a discovery "in the Greek" before some one or some group is already practicing that which he discovers to have been hidden there "in the Greek" all along?

For the last decade now brethren have been promoting and pushing the "sponsoring church" type of cooperation' they have "searched the scriptures" seeking justification for their kind of cooperation, and have failed to find it. But now, in 1955, a brother has found it "in the Greek!" We simply cannot help remembering that when Jehovah's Witnesses wanted to remove the doctrine of "hell" from the Bible they had to "go to the Greek" to prove there was no hell; when the Christian Church preachers were totally unable to find instrumental music in the English versions they "went to the Greek" and discovered all kinds of horns, trumpets, organs, and harps in the Greek word "psallo."

Brethren do not be confused by the "learning" of men, nor awed by their "scholarship." Read your Bible, either English or Greek, and find out for yourself what is God's will. You can discover it from either book — and they do not contradict each other.