John C. Vaughn President
Managing Editor Malinda Duvall
Publication Editor Steve Skaggs
Contributing Editors Mark Minnick Layton Talbert
Executive Officers Kevin Schaal Chairman
Chuck Phelps Vice Chairman
David Shumate Secretary
Doug Wright Treasurer
Advisory Board Dale Cunningham Roger Duvall Gary Fisher Mike Gray Terry Hamilton Marty Herron Arin Hess Wally Higgins Don Johnson Jeff Kahl Larry Karsies Kent Ramler Bud Steadman Steve Whitmore Joe Willis
Executive Board Ron Allen James Baker Earl Barnett Wayne Bley Dave Byford Robert Condict Rick Cross Johnny Daniels Jeff Davis Gordon Dickson Ken Endean Johnny Franco Phil Golden Cary Grant Mike Harding Craig Hartman Dale Heffernan Gary Hirth David Innes Stephen Jones Mark Minnick Jeff Musgrave Tom Nieman Larry Oats Dave Pennington Michael Privett Matthew Recker Stephen Russell Dave Schindel Dale Seaman Ron Smith Brent Snow Michael Sproul Jeremy Sweatt Dan Unruh Wayne Van Gelderen Mike Yarborough Aaron Young
Board Emeritus Rick Arrowood Charles Britt Gerald Carlson Ed Caughill Walt Coles Collins Glen Brian Green Bill Hall Bruce Hamilton Bob Jones III Gary Jones Walter Kirk Tom Knauf
Peter Maruyama John Mincy Bennie Moran Mike Moreau Fred Moritz Ed Nelson Les Ollila Wilbur Schoneweis Randy Shaylor John Stevens Bob Taylor George Youstra
Mission Statement: The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International exists to provide a rallying point for Fundamental Baptists seeking personal revival and the opportunity to work with committed Bible-believers in glorifying God through the uncompromising fulfillment of the Great Commission. As the journal of the FBFI, FrontLine Magazine provides a forum for God’s people to reverently express a conservative Christian perspective on pertinent issues. In an effort to keep readers informed, quotes and references to many different individuals and organizations will appear. This does not imply the endorsement of the magazine or its board. Unsolicited manuscripts and artwork accepted for review. Advertising: For information contact Harvest Media at (847) 352-4345 or FAX (866) 583-5709. All advertising in FrontLine is for the sole purpose of sharing valuable resource materials with our readers. Although we carefully screen the materials, we are not giving a blanket endorsement of any products or advertisers.
FBFI Chaplaincy Endorsing Agency 2801 Wade Hampton Blvd., Suite 115-165 • Taylors, SC 29687 (800) 376-6856 • (864) 268-0777 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.fbfi.org COPYRIGHT 2014 FrontLine Magazine. No materials may be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission of the publishers. ISSN 1526-8284 FrontLine • September/October 2014
ow can you be certain you are pronouncing Bible people and place names correctly? You’re reading Scripture out loud in a Sunday school class. Your teacher has assigned you Isaiah 8—because he didn’t want to try the tongue-twisters in there himself. The whole room holds its breath as you near that sermon-in-a-name, Isaiah’s son “Maher-shalal-hash-baz.” Will you triumph, reading smoothly past that massive moniker as if it’s the name of your own firstborn—or will you mangle it, accidentally uttering what turns out to be a marriage proposal in Urdu? If you ever hope to get such Bible words right, you can’t start with a hard case like that one. Instead, you need to start with an even harder one: “Israel.” “Israel” may not sound like a harder case. It’s one of the most common proper nouns in the Bible, a place name still used daily in the TV news. But—precisely because it is so common—if you try to say “Israel” with any care for its spelling, or for its Hebrew pronunciation, people will look at you funny. Everyone, from preachers to kids to professors to newscasters, says “IS-ree-uhl” (check any dictionary; this is what its writers hear people say). But the “e” clearly comes after the “a,” not before it. So why isn’t it “IS-raheel”? That’s a lot closer to the way it’s pronounced in Hebrew. And now we arrive at today’s lesson: Hebrew and Greek are not the standard by which correct English pronunciation of proper nouns in the Bible is judged. Don’t stand up in front of the Sunday school kids and tell them the story of how “da-WEED” killed “gal-YAT” with a sling; they won’t get it. Don’t tell them how the 450 prophets of Baal were killed at Mt. Carmel by God’s servant “el-ee-YA-hoo”; it’s going to sound like you’re trying to insult the poor prophet. And please don’t talk about Jezebel’s husband, the evil king “eh-CHHH-av”; you’ll get spittle on your notes. What use is being “right” if everyone looks at you funny? “Israel” is now an English word in its own right, and it’s perfectly linguistically acceptable for Englishspeakers to pronounce it in a way that fits English best. English never puts an “ah” right before an “eh.” What’s more, many of us aren’t even capable of producing some of the sounds used in Hebrew. So why try? I can’t teach you how to pronounce Biblical proper nouns correctly in 450 words in the back of FrontLine. I can only encourage you (and your Sunday school teacher) not to be intimidated: you don’t have to know Hebrew to read the Bible correctly out loud. Dr. Mark Lee Ward Jr. authors Bible textbooks at BJU Press and (in his spare time) designs church websites at Forward Design. He blogs at By Faith We Understand.