Thank you for visiting my Bible study page on VineWords. I will be posting a bit meatier study on Thursdays concerning the Hebrew Roots of our faith. You will learn a few Hebrew words as well as their customs and culture and how that can add richness to your Bible reading and study. Feel free to leave a comment or question at the bottom of the page and I will get back with you.
Did you see the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding?
It has been my life. In 1992, I married my Greek husband, Mike (aka Minas). Little did I know what I was getting into.
On our wedding day, I had an Egyptian friend bring a pan of his famous baklava to my wedding reception as a gift. Watching all the Greek women surround that pan of baklava, smelling it and holding it to the light as they whispered in Greek, “What is this?” “Who brought it… it’s not Greek…” was embarrassing.
Moral of the story? Take nothing but Greek baklava to a Greek wedding or any other Greek get together…They know the difference!
When Mike and I got engaged, we went to a family party for his uncle. I have never had so many people kiss my cheeks in one day. About the time I met everyone, it was time to say our goodbyes and start the entire process again.
Just like the movie, Greeks name their children after someone else in the family, and as a result, you have many of the same names in one family. There is a Louis 1, 2 and 3, and Louis 1’s daughter is Louise, who has a daughter named Mary. Mike’s mom is Mary and his cousin. Mike’s dad was Theodore, then there is Mike Theodore, Anthony Theodore, Teddy, and T.J. (Theodore James.) There are two Michaels and one Mike, too.
And, no doubt, I have missed some!
His family is wonderful! His parents, who have now passed, never made me feel anything less than family. They had big hearts with which to love all their children, in-laws, and grandchildren. They would do anything for you.
I learned a great deal about Greek culture and language living in this family. My husband likes to say “Greeks are proud of their pride” or is it, “They take pride in being proud.” Anyway, it’s true.
There are many Greek words that can’t be translated into English. Mike’s family owned a restaurant which I occasionally help in. Mary spoke both Greek and English. With us, she would sometimes start in English and suddenly switch to Greek in the middle of the sentence because there was not a word in English to say what she wanted to say. When I asked her what she said, she would answer in two or more sentences to define the Greek word.
This knowledge helped me appreciate the language and culture of the New Testament. Word studies fascinated me, and that deepened my understanding of scripture.
However, I have learned there is a big difference between the Greek and Hebrew minds and/or thinking. It’s good to understand this when studying scripture.
Greeks are logical thinkers. Their (ancient) language is made up of mostly nouns, and the pronouns used most are “I” and “me.” The Greeks heavily influenced our culture, as well as most of Europe starting with Alexander the Great.
Greek taught more about the mind than the heart. They believed only the state could teach children, parents were incapable.
The Hebrew mind is quite different. Consisting of more verbs, their language is about doing.
The pronouns they use most are, “we,” and “us.” They thought with their hearts, not their heads. In the ancient language, there was no word for mind, they included it in the word for heart. They also believed in teaching the child from home. Every son learned the skills of their father, like Jesus.
In Greek, the word believe is pisteuō, and it means, “to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.” (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g4100)
In Hebrew, a word for believe is aman, it is compared to a tent peg.
“The word ‘believed’ is the very same Hebrew verb aman. The picture we have from this is that Abram was firm in his devotion to God. Just as a stake planted in firm ground supports the tent, even in a storm, Abram will support God, even in the storms of life.”
“The Hebrew verb aman means more than just knowing something to be true.”
“The Hebrew in Genesis 15:6 does not say Abram ‘believed’ God, it says he was ‘firm’ in God. From Genesis 26:5 we see that he was firm in his obedience to God and his Torah.” (https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/studies-interpretation/aman-believe.htm)
The Greek word believe deals with what we think to be true, and where our confidence or persuasion lies, while the Hebrew meaning represents a firm foundation in God and His Word. Hebrew deals with action, not thought.
So many can say, “I believe in God”, or “I believe in Jesus” without really putting their trust in Him. Unless there is an action or devotion, and a firm foundation in God and His Word, believe can be little more than a thought process.
We need to consider whether we want to be like the Greeks or the Jewish people in our thinking. Do we want to be thinkers or doers?Do we want to be thinkers or doers when it comes to our faith in Jesus? #VineWords #Faith #Believelikeatentpeg @DPavlantos Click To Tweet
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.“
James 1:22-27 ESV
Copyright 2019: Is it Greek to You?: Author Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
STEPHANIE D PAVLANTOS
Stephanie Pavlantos is an award-winning writer who is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She has taught Bible studies for over fifteen years, speaking at ladies’ retreats, at her church, and over the internet.
Stephanie is the president of the Hudson, Ohio chapter of Word Weavers. She is the Social Media Director, Bible Study Writer, a devotion writer for VineWords: Devotions and More, and a contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
Her book, Jewels of Hebrews, won third place at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, and an Honorable Mention at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
She is an ordained minister, holding credentials with Messenger Fellowship in Nashville, TN.
Stephanie works for the Besorah Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies in the Student Services department, as well as teaching their online classes.
Stephanie holds weekly Zoom Bible studies, covering topics such as the Jewish roots of Christianity; the Four Covenants; and other themes.
She is published in Refresh Bible study magazine, Charisma magazine, and Christian Broadcasting Network, and Faith Beyond Fear. Stephanie is a Contributing Author to Feed Your Soul with the Word of God (Lighthouse Bible Studies),
Married for twenty-seven years, she and Mike have three children: Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. Stephanie loves animals of all kinds and has adopted into her family an assortment of dogs, ducks, goats, and chickens.
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