THE ROLE OF BIBLICAL LANGUAGES TO PRESERVE AND PERPETUATE THE REFORMATION
Biblical languages are essential to interpret Scripture. A working knowledge of biblical languages (Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic) helps the student of Scripture understand the biblical text. This paper examines the role of Biblical languages during the Reformation period, notably how the Renaissance’s discovery of ancient sources led to the concept of ad fontes which in a religious context led to a return to studying biblical languages. Martin Luther and other magisterial Reformers consistently emphasized the importance of learning biblical languages. This paper examines how each of these Reformers, namely Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingli, and Calvin became active students of Scripture through the use of, and emphasis on the importance of understanding biblical languages as a vital part of Biblical studies. This study shows that the Sola Scriptura that reformers upheld strongly could not be possible without going back to the original languages of the Bible. When the church today disregards this, as shown in the weakening of emphasis in seminaries and negative attitude of the ministerial students toward biblical languages, they ignore the significant role of biblical languages in the reformation. It seems that there could have been no reformation without the reformers taking hold of the Word of God in its original languages.
Keywords: Reformation, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, biblical languages, Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, ad fontes, Erasmus, Reuchlin, Wittenberg, 95 Theses