אֵ֚לֶּה תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת נֹ֔חַ נֹ֗חַ אִ֥ישׁ צַדִּ֛יק תָּמִ֥ים הָיָ֖ה בְּדֹֽרֹתָ֑יו אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֖ים הִֽתְהַלֶּךְ־נֹֽחַ׃
Genesis 6:5 (NASB) These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
The demands of life, family and ministry can tempt anyone to abandon regular commitment to the original language texts of the Old and New Testaments. Thankfully we are living in a golden age of technology that makes access to the underlying Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek texts fairly commonplace. Of course one must exercise caution, since Bible software can easily be abused and take the place of doing the honest work of translation, exegesis of the text and parsing of verbs. Still, when used appropriately, electronic programs and online websites like the one I’m mentioning today can aid in checking one’s work. The website that I’ll be referring to today is http://www.scholarsgateway.com.
The website “Scholar’s Gateway” and its value for studying the English Bible
Thankfully the “Scholar’s Gateway” website isn’t only for original language students and scholars. Anyone who wants to study the Bible in popular English translations (ASV, KJV, ESV, Young’s Literal Translation) can do so by simply pressing the “view available sources button”. Whenever one presses the “commentary” button on the chosen text, Matthew Henry’s classic work will appear.
The website “Scholar’s Gateway” and its value for studying the Hebrew Old Testament, Greek Septuagint and Greek New Testament
In the above opening verse of Genesis 6:5, we see the Hebrew text with all of its various features (vowel points, cantillation marks and punctuation). Whenever one goes onto the website, the scripture passage can be typed into the search window. On the right side there is a historical archive of previous searches kept as the user does multiple tasks. In the tool bar above the text, the user can activate or deactivate features (such as vowel points, cantillation marks) and even highlight those particular grammatical parts of speech pertinent to the given study (verbs, adverbs, adjectives and so forth).
Concerning the Greek Old Testament or Septuagint text, much the same options are available. For those desiring to dip their toes into the Greek Old Testament, the site offers the text and ability to translate, parse and do similar things as mentioned with respect to the Hebrew text. The sample of Genesis 6:5 should give the reader an idea of what the text looks like from the site:
There is of course access available to the entire Westcott-Hort text of the Greek New Testament for those desiring to study the Greek New Testament. A sample verse from 2 Peter 3:10 gives a very readable font: Ἥξει δὲ ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης ἐν
Other details to note about “scholars gateway” and obscure original language texts
There is an option to register on the website, which gives access to options for interacting with other users and offering suggestions. The only weakness to report is that some words may not have given definitions. For instance, the second noun in Genesis 6:5 , תּוֹלְדֹ֣ת , which means “generations, records” has no definition given when placing the cursor over the word. This of course reminds any student of scripture that electronic tools, though valuable in aiding study of God’s Word, are still secondary sources and ought to be used alongside printed reference tools.
A couple of final notes worth mentioning before closing out this post. In the “view available resources” button, one can choose not only from the Greek, Hebrew and English resources already mentioned, but also choose the Latin Vulgate and two rather obscure but important texts pertinent to Old Testament studies: Akkadian hymns to Marduk and the Code of Hammurabi. This author was surprise to learn that these texts are not English translations, but are in their original Akkadian language.
The only thing that can be noted about Akkadian is how its grammatical features have helped shed light on Hebrew Old Testament studies. Both the Hymn of Marduk and The Code of Hammurabi are valuable in being contemporaries to the writing of Genesis to Deuteronomy. The way in which the Code of Hammurabi lays out its legal material is similar to what we find in the Pentateuch, demonstrating the antiquity of the Pentateuch and Mosaic authorship. For anyone who has studied Akkadian (this author hasn’t), the texts featured do not offer instant definitions for the words like in the already mentioned original language texts. It is likely that such a feature will be forthcoming.
It is hoped that readers may check out this resource mentioned in today’s post. There is no doubt that we are living in a time where studying God’s Word in English, the original languages, or simply trying to keep up with them, is becoming more feasible. May every reader dig deeper into the Biblical text, regardless of what language he or she may know.