God is the one Creator. He created everything, from light to darkness, from the flowers to the fauna, and even the sounds we hear and the languages we speak. This makes us wonder: what language did God speak? Is there a definite answer?
Did God Speak A Specific Language?
It’s possible that God has His own language, for all we know. The stories of the Old Testament and the Bible both place heavy emphasis on the importance of language.
According to Genesis, God commanded the universe into being. He said, “Let there be light”, and the darkness gave way to illumination. The world was created by God’s words. The custom of commanding is perpetuated throughout the Old Testament narrative: “The creator of angels, the giver of life, commanded light to come forth over the spacious abyss. The high king’s order was quickly fulfilled; for them there was a holy light over the void, as the maker commanded.”
God also “created the name ‘night,'” and “by his own word,” the earth was raised into existence. From there, he sent commands for the seas to merge into one large body of water. God commanded creation, and it happened.
Furthermore, language of God has a profound effect on all the creatures he oversees. In the aftermath of their fall, Adam and Eve realize they must suffer “as they had broken God’s commandment.” God not only has a language, but it’s a formidable one.
God can create light simply by stating, “let there be light.” That’s a scary power. It pushes the distance between heaven and earth more apart. When we speak, it means nothing since we’re only people. As children, we were instilled with the belief that the deed itself was of paramount importance. We must demonstrate the sincerity of our statements by our deeds.
God exists on a whole other plane than we do. The words he speaks have great significance and authority. No more action is required for him to match the force of his words. With a simple command, he can alter the course of history.
What Language Did Jesus Speak?
Scholars agree that Jesus existed as a historical figure, although they disagree on many details of his life as described in the Bible.
In particular, there has been considerable historical ambiguity concerning the language that Jesus used as a man who lived in the kingdom of Judea in the first century A.D. in the southern section of Palestine.
In a memorable moment during Pope Francis’s 2014 visit to the Holy Land, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought up the topic of Jesus’ favored language during a public meeting with the Pope in Jerusalem. Netanyahu told Pope Francis through a translator, “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew.”
Francis stepped in to correct him. He said, “Aramaic,” alluding to a near-extinct Semitic language spoken originally by a people called the Aramaeans in the late 11th century B.C. According to a story in the Washington Post, groups of Chaldean Christians in Iraq and Syria still use a variant of the language today.
Netanyahu responded quickly, saying that while the man spoke Aramaic, he was also fluent in Hebrew.
The prime minister and the pope may have been on different sides of the language debate, but they both seem mostly right.
Jesus Was Likely Multilingual
Pope Francis has received broad support from religious experts and historians for asserting that the historical Jesus spoke mostly in a Galilean dialect of Aramaic. As a result of commerce, invasion, and conquest, Aramaic had spread far and wide by the 7th century B.C., eventually becoming the common language over most of the Middle East.
It was the tongue most likely spoken by Jesus and his disciples in the first century A.D. since it was the most widely spoken by average Jews as opposed to religious authorities.
However, Netanyahu was also accurate in a technical sense. Like Aramaic, Hebrew was widely spoken during Jesus’ time since it comes from the same linguistic branch. Hebrew, like Latin now, was the language of choice for religious experts and sacred texts, such as the Bible.
Although Aramaic would have been the language of common life, it is conceivable that Jesus could have known Hebrew. Two of the four Gospels (Matthew and Mark) mention that Jesus spoke Aramaic, whereas Luke 4:16 shows him reading the Hebrew Bible at a synagogue.
What Language Was The Bible Written In?
Three ancient languages were used to construct the Bible: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Each of these languages has a contemporary variant in use today. Still, it is also true that most native speakers of the current variants would have difficulty reading the ancient forms used in the Bible.
The Old Testament
Most of the Old Testament was written in ancient Hebrew, the language of the ancient Israelites. Some translations refer to it as “Judean” or “language of the Jews,” whereas Isaiah 19:18 refers to it as “the language of Canaan” (2 Kings 18:26; Isaiah 36:11, 13; 2 Chronicles 32:18; Nehemiah 13:24).
Hebrew is a Semitic language from before 1500 B.C. The language is written from right to left and uses just 22 consonantal letters for its alphabet (eventually, they added vowels).
Hebrew’s status as the holy language of the Jews did not prevent its usage as a spoken language from declining following the return from exile (538 B.C.). Although it saw a brief renaissance during the Maccabean period, Aramaic gradually supplanted it as the language of daily life. Modern Hebrew has its roots in Biblical Hebrew but also incorporates various other languages and styles.
The New Testament
It’s a common misconception that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, but most Jews no longer spoke the language by the time the gospels were composed. After Rome’s victory over Greece, Greek culture became pervasive across the empire.
One of the most intriguing things about Biblical Greek is that it was penned in koine (common Greek), a vocabulary that could be comprehended by practically everyone, educated or not.
Which Parts of the Bible Was Written in Aramaic?
The Arameans of northern Syria are credited with creating ancient Aramaic, which gained widespread usage under the reign of the Assyrians. People used the Aramaic language for some of the Old Testament’s writings (Genesis 31:47; Ezra 4:8-6:18, 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11).
Hebrew and Aramaic are two separate languages, yet they are so closely linked that a reader of one may comprehend a good chunk of the other. This is akin to the similarity between current Spanish and Portuguese. Aramaic was a widely spoken language throughout Jesus’ time because of its widespread use in ancient society.
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