Updated: Feb 1
Having recently completed his PhD at Cambridge University, Dr Benedict Bird is to serve as adjunct to the faculty at Westminster, bringing his expertise in New Testament Greek to bear for the benefit of our growing student body.
Dr Bird shared with us his response: "To have been asked to teach New Testament Greek at Westminster is a huge privilege. The need is enormous and growing, in this country and beyond, for faithful ministers who are trained in the biblical languages and committed to holding firmly to the gospel and proclaiming it to our sin-blinded world."
"It has been exciting to observe how God has raised up Westminster, and has established and advanced its work in just a handful of years, under the godly leadership of men such as Ian Hamilton, Jonathan Winch and the other faculty and staff."
Dr Bird has an interesting background; after four years with the RAF learning to fly he served for two decades as a lawyer before completing a Master in Theology with Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia and London.
Having recently taught Greek and Hebrew at London Seminary, Dr Bird is well aware that learning the Biblical languages can be a significant challenge for seminary students. So, why include Greek in a seminary education?
"The biblical languages are foundational for accurate and faithful teaching of God's inspired word. Without them the Bible teacher is wholly dependent upon not only upon the skills of translators, which will often be excellent, but also upon their theological presuppositions and leanings."
"When I read the New Testament in the Greek it comes to me with a freshness and vitality, and new insights, that I never tire of discovering."
In the English-speaking world we are inundated with Bible translations. Why can't seminary students simply rely on these?
"Translations quite often smooth the sharp edges and soften the blunt language of Scripture, and - with the best of intentions - obscure the structural and semantic clues that are there in the original. For example, what was for the original author a single train of thought, expressed in a single sentence or structured in a string of participles, may well be easier to read when broken into half a dozen English sentences; but simplification does not often occur without some loss."
"By learning these languages I have been brought into a nearer relationship with 'the good deposit' as it was entrusted to us by the Holy Spirit."
We give thanks to God for the provision of Dr Bird and wish him every success as he begins his teaching in January 2023.