William Lane Craig on the importance of learning Greek

You probably know William Lane Craig as a formidable defender of Christian theism. What you may not know is that, in addition to being one of the most influential living philosophers, Craig is an ardent proponent of learning New Testament Greek. Craig seems to consider New Testament Greek a basic prerequisite for intellectually engaged Christians, regardless of their discipline.


During a recent online Q&A session, Craig was asked which graduate programs he recommended for philosophy. While Craig advised students to pursue their PhD at a secular university, he encouraged them to first get their masters in philosophy at Talbot School of Theology or a similar institution. His reasoning was as follows:

I think that there is great, great advantage as a Christian to having an MA degree in philosophy from a theological institution. It enables you to get, along with your philosophical training, your Greek for reading the New Testament, and to take elective courses in systematic theology and biblical studies. And so, I have found my theological education to be just invaluable to me as a Christian philosopher. (link)

Furthermore, according to Craig, Greek is not only for graduate students pursuing a career in academia. During a Q&A session at Texas A&M, an undergraduate student in the audience approached the microphone and asked Craig for advice on how to study the Bible. This was Craig's response:

While you’re this age you ought to take New Testament Greek. I don't see any reason not to do that. I mean, there must be a foreign language requirement or something. Why don't you take Greek? And then you can read the New Testament in the original language. You can read and understand the very words that Paul or Luke wrote! How incredible to have the veil of English translation torn away and to be able to read these words in the original language in which God inspired them. So I would really encourage you at this young stage in your life with your whole life ahead of you – why not learn Greek, and then keep it up, and keep reading the New Testament in Greek the rest of your life? (link)

Moreover, according to Craig, the study of Greek should not be restricted to the university. In a recent interview at a large church in Houston, Craig had this to say about adult Sunday School programs:

We ought to use Christian Sunday School classes in our churches to provide better training for our laypeople. Rather than simply giving devotional thoughts or lessons in our Sunday School classes, we ought to be having classes in church history, in Christian doctrine, even in New Testament Greek on an elementary level. We need to train our laypeople to be thinking Christians and to be intellectually engaged with their faith. (link)

In short, Craig evidently considers a knowledge of New Testament Greek to be an invaluable asset for thinking Christians. Do you agree? How important is it for Christians to learn New Testament Greek? Have you ever attended a church that offered a class in Greek? Would you attend such a class if your church offered it? Leave a comment below!