I have noticed two quite strong feelings exhibited towards Greek.
On the one hand there is a great respect for Greek and especially for having an understanding of Greek. From time to time in sermons, there is a reference to words in Greek, which supposedly give a better understanding to the Bible verses that are under the microscope in that sermon. As a visible "representative" / "face" to that authority of the scriptures in Greek is a senior Bible college student preparing for ministry who is known for his knowledge of Greek, and he is mentioned when Greek is invoked, "In the Greek the words is τοῦτο καὶ τοιοῦτο, as xxxx would know, the Greek means ..." (and he sheepishly nodds).
- I feel that quoting a Greek word in the middle of a sermon in English to aid understanding of the text is a little odd, actually. One of my best friends is a Brazilian living in China. When we converse in Chinese, he might throw in an English word when I can't understand his Chinese, or me a Spanish one (I don't know Portuguese). That is because we are trying to aid communciation. That is different to the case where a discussion among people who know Greek get a better understanding of what the text says.
- The words that are often alluded to in Greek are not ones that many people would know in Greek anyway - like ἐμβριμάομαι which really means "snort like a horse"** [I don't believe that that is the meaning here]
The second feeling, is that it is difficult. It should be avoided. Candidates for ministry choose their course structure so as to avoid or minimise the amount of Greek that they will have to deal with, and preferably to avoid it entirely. Those who do do it, store up so many negative experiences that they actually come to resent Greek and the process by which it is learnt. How can people decide before hand that they will be unsuccessful?
- I think that to get one's Greek up to a level where it is truly useable level is difficult. The New Testament is recorded in a language as it was used. There are no graded reader of Koine Greek - a learner has to jump in the deep end from the beginning
- Having that unsimplified literary goal is a far cry from learning travel language skills and that is daunting
- But still, a beginner's course has a limited (too limited to be practical) list of words, a simplified grammar (the easiest parts of it) that have to be learnt, and some very simple passages to decode, and not a very high level of utility after taking the course either.
Has anyone else noticed this or other attitudes towards Greek?