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Why Was the New Testament Written in Greek?

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Question:   Have a question - why was so much of the Bible translated from the Greek if the Jewish Nation was Hebrew? Thanks and God Bless

Response:  It's a good question. The entire New Testament (with the exception of a few Aramaic phrases) is in Greek, while the entire Old Testament (with the exception of a few chapters and phrases written in Aramaic) is in Hebrew. The change from Hebrew to Greek reflects the change from God's plan being channeled through one nation to its propagation to the entire world through the Church. Greek was in many ways the "English" of the ancient Mediterranean world. After Alexander's conquest of the East, Hellenic dominance (political and cultural) was supreme, so that even non-Greeks would need Greek to amount to anything. So we find Greek inscriptions and colonies from Gibraltar to Afghanistan (and even in Rome, the non-Italian elements, slaves, merchants and otherwise, would likely speak Greek, but not Latin). The Jewish believers who wrote the New Testament were writing to make the gospel of Christ available to the entire world, not just to the educated Jewish world, for even the Jewish communities dispersed around Europe, Africa and Asia would be likely to speak Greek but not necessarily Hebrew. There was also a long-standing tradition for this, since the Old Testament was translated into Greek for this very reason in the third century B.C. (and we see many New Testament quotes from the Old Testament whose language is clearly based on this Greek version known as the Septuagint).

Please see also the following related links:

The Greek Text of the New Testament and some Issues of Textual Criticism.

Some Greek Questions in the Gospels (John 1:3; 2:19; 8:58; Luke 23:43)

Are the Greek tenses in John 7:34 correctly translated?

Yours in Christ,

Bob Luginbill

 


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