Christians believe that God has revealed himself through the Bible. Therefore, those who read the Bible can profit from learning as much as possible about the languages in which it was written, of which there are three—Hebrew, Aramaic (a cousin of Hebrew), and Greek.

The connection between language and thought is not a loose one; language is a product and reflection of the human soul. Language is not just a dress for thought to put on or off at pleasure, but the “body” of which thought is the “soul.” Each language that God ordained to transmit divine revelation had a “personality” that made it suitable for such a purpose. The two major languages of Scripture, Greek and Hebrew, represent two major language families: Indo-European and Semitic. Their contrasting linguistic traits combine to produce a thorough, progressive, propositional revelation of God. That revelation is characterized by simplicity, variety, and power.

No translation can replace the original languages of the Bible in primary importance for conveying and perpetuating divine revelation. Those languages should be learned not merely from the “outside,” with grammar and lexicon, but also from the “inside,” with proper appreciation for the uniqueness of each one.

To Christians, the message conveyed by the Bible is simple and direct, yet capable of communicating to people in the most complex cultural circumstances. Although every human language has its limitations, the biblical languages have proved to be a remarkably adequate vehicle for conveying God’s message in all its power and richness.

This is an excerpt from The Origin of the Bible by F. F. Bruce, J. I. Packer, Philip Comfort, and Carl F. H. Henry. To read more, you can purchase this book from many Christian bookstores and online retailers, including

Walker, L., et al. The Origin of the Bible. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2020.