Friday, December 22, 2023

Greek and "The Fullness of Time" (Gal. 4:4)

Here's another thought from Gal. 4. Paul writes, "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (Gal. 4:4, NIV). Jesus arrived on the scene in human history "at just the right time." No doubt we have a hint here of (a) the spread of the Greek language throughout the world, (b) the network of roads the Romans had built that would eventually facilitate the spread of the Good News, and (c) the presence of Jewish synagogues in many cities. 

Please remember that Greek was used for the inscripturation of the New Testament not because it was a superior language to other languages in the world at that time. Greek was used because of a man named Alexander the Great. In 330 BC,  Alexander conquered the Persian Empire following his great victory at the Battle of Gaugamela. He then marched to the Persian capital Persepolis, looting its treasures and and burning its palace to the ground. Here's a photo of  the remains of Persepolis that I took in Iran in 2017.

Thereafter the process of Hellenization kicked into high gear as more and more non-Greeks adopted Greek language and culture. Greek had produced a kind of cohesion in society. Common and cultured alike could speak it as their lingua franca. Thus the time was ripe for the coming of the world's Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In other words, God has provided us a big enough picture into the goings on of his universal rule to occupy us until Jesus returns. Today, English is our lingua franca. Somebody needs to use it to help spread the gospel. That "someone" sounds an awful lot like you and me.