Learning a new language is a challenge, even for those who speak more than one language. Nevertheless, the hard effort is deeply rewarding. I grew up speaking Spanish. When I was sixteen, my mother decided to move to California. This sent me on a crash course to learn English. It took me three months to learn to read the language, eight months to speak the language, and, so far, thirty-one years to get rid of the Puertorican accent. Mijo, I’m almost there!
This may not be working, but my goal here is to encourage you. It turns out that the hardest part of learning a language is to master how to speak it. Learning to read it – even out loud – is actually very doable for most people. This is especially true if your professor is good. The good news is that the quality of Fuller’s language professors is top notch.
Last year, I completed the Greek series with Professor Peter Hintzoglou. On the first day, he told us never to give up. If we considered it, he made us promise to talk to him first. He was generous with grace and patient with our struggles. It was very challenging, but also very rewarding. Okay, I thought of quitting once, but I didn’t. In fact, studying the Word has become a great adventure as I pursue the original language with confidence and understanding (no, I am not planning any trips to Greece). We learned Biblical Greek, so its application is strictly for reading the Greek Bible. On second thought, I could become a street-corner evangelist in Athens. I do love Greek food.
Currently, I am enrolled in the Hebrew series with Dr. Norah Caudill. Hebrew adds an extra complication as it reads right to left. I am pleasantly surprised that my brain is not jumbled. I am really enjoying its beautiful symbolism and structure. Dr. Caudill’s organized and deductive teaching style is very helpful. Also, reading from right to left is not as hard as I had anticipated. Writing it requires me to slow down, but it is fun. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to studying the Old Testament with this new perspective.
All this to say, don’t go out of your way to look for a degree that does not require the languages. Give it a try, a hard try. You will be greatly rewarded.