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Becomin’ Awarrrrr of a New Language

Obligatory picture of Blackbeard.

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, an annual event that gives everyone the opportunity to let out their inner child and have some fun. There’s even an online tutorial to learn the language. If you’ve read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, you’ll remember words uttered by Long John Silver such as, “Matey, I thinks gold dust of you—gold dust, and you may lay to that! I took to you like pitch; you’re as smart as paint and you may lay to that!”

Now, you may be so confused by those words that you say, “It’s all Greek to me.” Which brings up (sort of) the subject of the joy of knowing different languages.

Have you ever taken the time to study another language? The general usefulness of knowing more than one language is obvious; but have you considered the very unique joy of being able to read the Bible in a language other than your own—or even in one the original Biblical languages? Reading God’s Word in a new language is a remarkable experience; Bible verses that seem old and familiar to you take on a new life. You’ll find yourself noticing wording choices that you skimmed over before—and you’ll find yourself thinking about the ways that Bible translators try to convey the nuances of every verse and phrase.

Bible Gateway can’t replace a good teacher or textbook when it comes to learning a second language. But you can put Bible Gateway to good use while learning a language.

You probably know that Bible Gateway’s library includes Bibles in many languages. However, if you’re just starting to learn a new language, diving straight into a Bible in that language won’t be terribly useful. Instead, the simplest and most powerful language tool on Bible Gateway is the side-by-side Bible view. With it, you can place more than one Bible (in more than one language) alongside each other on your screen—so you could open up one Bible in your native language and another in the language you’re learning, and make an exercise out of reading them together.

Many Christians have a particular interest in learning the Biblical languages—Greek and Hebrew. Again, Bible Gateway won’t replace a college or seminary course on ancient languages, but we do have some useful ancient-language tools. We just added a very useful resource for anyone studying Biblical Greek: the Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament, which correlates the English words of the New Testament with their Greek counterparts. It gives you a full breakdown of every Greek word and phrase in the New Testament, making it much more useful than a simple side-by-side view. And if you want to branch out a bit, there are translations in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin in our library (although only the Mounce translation is fully interlinear).

Other English Bibles that may be of special interest to readers curious about the Biblical languages include the Lexham English Bible, which was specifically produced to be read alongside the original Greek New Testament; and the Complete Jewish Bible, which returns names and key terms to their original Hebrew.

If you’d like to learn biblical Greek, you’ll find resources in the Bible Gateway Store. And look to our friend, Dr. Bill Mounce, for all he has to offer as well.

If you’re in the process of learning another language, we hope you’ll take advantage of these Bible Gateway tools to help you encounter God’s Word in a new language. Although we must regretfully inform you that our library does not currently include a pirate-speak Bible translation. Arrrrrrrr!

Filed under Bible Study