Mickey Mantle & Biblical Languages

This past holiday week I finished a few books.  One was for fun: The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood. Mantle was my boyhood baseball hero. I always wore #7 whenever I could grab it or trade for the number.  I would like to say I have a few Mantle baseball cards; but alas, my mom gave all my cards away while I was at college.  I have one lone Mantle card left– when he moved to first base.  For those who are Mantle fans or Yankees fans this book is a good read.  A caution is warranted; however, for those who do not know Mantle’s life off the field; be fore warned–Mantle is a tragic hero–if a hero at all.
Another book I read also for fun (and insight) was Constantine Campbell’s, Keep Your Greek: Strategies for Busy People. I was looking for transferable strategies to share with my students for  keeping their Hebrew. I was not disappointed. If Campbell’s book was in a WORD document all one would have to do is use the “Find and Replace” function and replace “Greek” with “Hebrew” and the same strategies would apply.
Campbell’s introduction reminds the student of the importance of Greek–yes, knowing Greek does make a difference in ministry. (Knowing Hebrew makes a difference in ministry as well). His first chapter, “Read Every Day,” emphasizes the importance that if one could only do one activity to keep up his language skills it is this: read the actual text everyday–even a sentence a day makes a difference (15-16).  Illustrating this point with music he states, “For most musicians, that’s a no-brainer. Of course it is better to practice every day” (14). His second chapter, commands the reader to “Burn Your Interlinear.” But for biblical software programs he is kinder and gentler, as he suggests one learn how to “Use Software Tools Wisely.”
He does have one insight that is worth quoting that highlights a quality that language students must possess (and which is often overlooked during and after the language class) and that is patience. Campbell reminds us, “If you don’t have the patience to work through the pain and frustration of being slow or inadequate in reading Greek (or Hebrew I might add), you won’t get any better” (21). Frustration or slowness is not a reason to drop a biblical language but are reasons to persevere. Remember: “If you admire the violin, you will weather the frustration.”
For those who need to be encouraged to keep up or pick up their biblical languages, this book will help you keep your New Year resolution to get back into the biblical languages. 🙂

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