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Scripture: Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations . . .
Matthew 28:19a, NKJV

  Disciple_Nations  I have retained at least a few snippets from my two-year study of high school Latin, including one short, non-Latin, poem:

    “Latin is a dead, dead language,
     As dead as dead can be.
     It killed off all the Romans,
     And now it’s killing me.

    Some kindred soul, the previous guardian of the textbook, had expressed the sentiments of many a youth struggling through the conjugations and declentions of what was, without question, a foreign language to most of us.
    Granted, many of our English words derive from Latin roots, as do many words of other national languages, the so-called “Romance” languages. Granted, also, that the scriptures of Holy Writ were preserved for centuries in Latin, and, even into the mid 20th Century,  remained the language of the mass in the Roman Catholic Church. The fact remains that the scriptures were not originally written in Latin, but in Hebrew and Greek, for the most part, all ‘foreign’ to most of us.
    Jesus and the people of Galilee commonly spoke Aramaic, a Semitic language used extensively in southwest Asia as a commercial and  governmental language and  adopted by the Jews after the Babylonian exile.
    Jesus’ cry from the cross, in Matthew 27:46, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” is Aramaic. The title Pilate placed on the cross was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, the languages of the temple and synagogue, of commerce, and of the Roman Empire.
    “Living” languages change over time. Words come and go, often shifting in meaning. Greek is still written using the alphabet used by the New Testament authors, but the pronunciation is different in modern Greek. Many languages, including English, use the letter forms developed by the Romans, but Latin itself is distinctively ‘foreign’ to most of the people of the nations of the world.
    I think we can rightly say that the 'messenger’ or ‘carrier’ has changed over the centuries, at least as far as the spoken or written word is concerned. And that is as it should be.
    Suppose that religious authorities declared that the “Word of God” was so Revered, Holy, and Untouchable, that only the original words and languages could be used to expound the scriptures.  
    Think about the many, many would-be Christians struggling like first-year Latin scholars, just to experience God’s Word!
    Think about trying to make disciples of all the nations without being able to use their native language.
    Praise Be! God transcends time, borders, nationalities, and languages.
October 22, 2006

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