Posted by: Moses | July 31, 2008

John Fry: Preeminent Linguistics and Church History

“Unless you can read Hebrew without the vowel points and translate any passage in the Greek New Testament inside fifteen minutes, you have no business in the ministry…If you can’t tell me where the church has been, you have no buisness telling me where it ought to go.”



  1. I think we can make a good match then 🙂

  2. A most excellent match; and we shall keep each other humble in our pursuit of excellence. 🙂 God’s design never ceases to amaze me.

  3. Still don’t know why it won’t put my little profile picture up there… oh well.

  4. I can show you when you get back 🙂

  5. I have serious issues with this quote. It means that every pastor who does not have the resources to learn these languages or who has difficulty learning and becoming fluent in them is completely disqualified. God can and has used many men who are not fluent in the languages or church history to lead His church.

  6. I’m with Marla on this one. I mean, I don’t totally disagree with the quote; however, I don’t believe the quote is exactly parallel either. Knowing where the church comes from does not necessarily require a fluent knowledge of Biblical languages, and while they are undeniably valuable to someone in ministry, I do not see Jesus determining who He will place in leadership by who knows the most Greek and Hebrew. Are not the weak chosen to confound the wise?

  7. Hmm… fair enough. That was not my intention in posting that quote. One of my primary mentors in the pastorate doesn’t know a bit of Greek or Hebrew (Ross). God is a God who uses servants from the most remarkable and unlikely of places; however, the thrust of the quote drives toward pastoral excellence, pursuing God through the two primary ways we can: knowing our Lord through the Word of God, and knowing our Lord by observing how he has related to our world both now and in the past.

    My intention for posting this was not to disqualify or disdain the majority of God’s current shepherds, but to aspire to know God as well as I can before beginning to lead any part of the church of God. Consider it a holy ambition, one that I believe it would be wise for more and more pastors to share. Read the quote this way “If you have no desire to pursue God in the word and in history, you have no business serving God as a minister.” Consider a shepherd: “If you have no desire to know sheep inside and out and serve the purposes of your master no matter how boring your studies of sheep and shepherding may be… you have no business pursuing being a shepherd.” Could the Lord use someone who was naturally gifted at being a shepherd without that knowledge? Most definitely! But for someone WANTING to be a minister (freshman ministerial students being the original target of the address), should they not want to know God as much as possible? Would the sheep not be best served by a man with those God given desires, filling his abilities to capacity? Forgive your idealist friend. And yes the weak are many times chosen to confound the wise (Peter, Gideon, John, John the baptizer) but so were Daniel, Stephen, and Moses (Paul, Joseph, Luke etc.). 🙂

  8. Oh and thank you very much for your criticism; it was good for me to think further on the topic.

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