Greek: why bother?
Evangelicals have a fetish for New Testament Greek, and the more I think about it, the less sense that it makes.
Usually, the rational goes something like this: certain ideas just don't come across in the English translation, and so in order to really understand what's being said in the New Testament, one needs to learn the language in which it was written. An English translation misses some of the nuanced meaning of the original Greek. (It's also related to the idea of Innerrancy, which suggests that there are secret codes to be cracked in the jots and the tittles of the original text).
I understand that languages don't translate perfectly, and I'm all for scholarly translation that fleshes out meaning. But I'm just doubtful that my local pastor, who did three semesters of Greek at seminary, can obtain a better translation than that which is already available to me in any regular English language Bible.
The reason for this is because my Evangelical pastor would have to understand NT Greek better than the team of Phd translators who gave me my version of the Bible; and this just can't be the case.
For an example from another context, I took NINE (count 'em) semesters of Spanish in college, and I lived in Spain. I can speak Spanish fairly well. But if I tried to translate the poems of Pablo Neruda for you, it's going to sound bad. It'll sound like the poetry of a 12-year-old, at best.
So this is why I don't understand why people learn Greek in order to interpret the Bible.
I mean, I'm as happy as the next guy that there are "four words for 'love' " in the Bible; but you didn't need to slave over the aorist tense to tell me that; C.S. Lewis covered it pretty good in his book, 'The Four Loves.'
As a side-note, the felt need to learn Greek also plays into a perspective of radical subjectivism and/or cultural relativism because it suggests that a cultural artifact (language) is inscrutable to the outsider. This suggests that truths are not universal, because if they were, they would be translatable to any culture (and therefore language). Personally I am a great believer in transcendent truth, natural law, essentialism, and all things that suggest that the existence of God and God's requirements are written on everyone's heart. Therefore, universal truths will be translatable from any language to any language. The idea that one needs to learn Greek to understand the NT is based on the sense that there are ideas, concepts, etc that are in the Greek that you can't understand in the English. I doubt it.
But, I know there are at least a couple of Greekophiles out there who might be able to dispute this point...