It's All Greek
It’s All Greek to Me
What is the origin of this saying? Most of us have heard it, and it’s always a good punchline whenever anything Greek-related or difficult to understand comes up. That is the origin as well. According to Dictionary.com, the reference goes like this,
Also, it's all Greek to me. It is beyond my comprehension, as in This new computer program is all Greek to me. This expression was coined by Shakespeare, who used it literally in Julius Caesar (1:2), where Casca says of a speech by Seneca, deliberately given in Greek so that some would not understand it, “For mine own part, it was Greek to me.” It soon was transferred to anything unintelligible.
In Christendom, especially more orthodox sects, to have taken New Testament Greek is almost a given. It is a requirement, along with Hebrew, to obtain a Master of Divinity, or “Mdiv,” degree program. It is generally required to take at least two semesters of Greek. While two semesters will probably not help you achieve Greek fluency, it will help you understand quite a bit about how the language works.
I’ve thought about this for years and have said this to people. Most who have gone through Grace Fellowship know Mike Reid’s propensity for spouting out the Greek definition of a word, often without any reference to how this improves your understanding of the text. For example, he would say, “You must repent, metanoéō, to have a change of mind, leading to a change of direction.”
If you didn’t catch it, the word metanoéō (μετανοέω) is the Greek word for repent. Genius, right? I’ve often wondered how this adds value to the message. If we don’t understand the word repent, how do we understand the word metanoéō? Then, he offers the meaning of “to have a change of mind leading to a change of direction.” That’s clear. But why add in metanoéō? What value does that add to the hearer?
It adds no value to the hearer but adds value to the speaker. What I mean by this is that it is one of many ways that Mike steals credibility. Does he know Greek? Besides looking at the Strongs Definition in his Logos Bible Software, has he studied Greek? The last thing I knew was, absolutely not. I’ve seen him do this countless times. If you were to listen to a sermon you would hear it as well, because never does a sermon go by without tossing out a Greek definition. Telling people, a word in a different language without explaining why or how this adds value to the text he’s preaching only serves to build one’s self-image. He envisions himself as a Bible teacher with a lot of training. When in reality, he has none.
Dare I go so far as to say he’s acting fraudulently? Yeah, I think that’s safe to assume. He wants to make the undiscerning believe he knows more than he does. I don’t see any other way to say it. He’s a fraud. Especially when it comes to pretending he knows Greek when it’s all Greek to him.
If I were preaching a sermon and I said to you, hola’, como ‘estas, hello, how are you, have I made you believe that I might know some Spanish? Yes, I have. Well, I do know some Spanish, but not enough actually to pretend to a non-Spanish-speaking audience that I do. If I tried to pull this off with a native Spanish speaker, they would immediately know I have no clue what I’m talking about.
What’s funny and sad is there is no value in doing this. He can tell people about repentance without using the Greek word to “bolster” his sermon. It’s just another notch in his incompetence meter, as far as I’m concerned, and something he should stop doing. For those who have studied Greek, he is obviously a pretender.