Reading Linguistics and Greek Grammar (in Light of Cancer)

The subtitle here is important since without it this would be a fairly easy post.

The reason I’m studying what I’m studying (biblical studies/New Testament with especial focus in Greek and linguistics – and I mean informally right now) is simple: because I feel called of God to study and teach the Word and these items I’m especially passionate about. That’s an easy question for me. Why these disciplines are important can be highlighted another time.

But the subtitle adds something I haven’t yet brought up on this blog. I have cancer.

On December 23, 2011 (yes, the Friday before Christmas), I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. How close to death I was, only God knows (but likely a few weeks). The chemotherapy started two days after Christmas and managed to put me into remission by the end of January (less than 5% leukemic cells in my bone marrow) and I remain in remission right now, going through cycles of chemotherapy while I await a match for a stem-cell transplant. The day to day is currently easier than it was in January, but it still has its challenges. The doctors are treating me with the intention of curing me.

I have had outlets for talking about what I’m going through. I mainly used Facebook to share the gospel through my illness in late December and onward. I purposely decided to start the blog without mentioning it at first and the reason for the blog was to exercise my gifts in teaching since I can’t commit to teaching in the church setting at the moment when I don’t know if I’ll be in the hospital or not on any given week. I can’t really plan much more than a week to two weeks ahead; somethings I can’t plan a few days ahead. But blogging can be done from the hospital or at home, easy enough.

That’s actually preamble to what I wanted to talk about, though it gives the necessary background since most of the readers won’t have heard it yet.

So, in light of my cancer, why do I continue to read linguistics and Greek grammar books? In light of the possibility that I don’t have long to live (and I don’t know what God’s plan actually is) why am I not running the streets telling everyone about Jesus and only reading the Bible?

Well, I am reading the Bible lots (both in English and in Greek) and I’m trying to use the gift God has given me (yes, cancer has been a gift) to glorify him and share Jesus through it to as many as will listen. I have been doing that on my Facebook, through my church, and other things like TV interviews and the like. Bringing glory to God is my number one goal and purpose in this time of cancer.

But, I haven’t stopped reading linguistics and Greek grammatical material. Why not? Well if I knew I only had a few months to live I would probably at least drop the mind boggling linguistics books! But I find that even in the face of death, I want to continue to grow in my knowledge of the Word and that requires continuing to understand the language of the Word. For that reason I continue to study these disciplines and apply them to the Bible. I’ve seen my knowledge of Jesus grow immensely in this time and I want to get to know him better and better and proclaim him better to those around me. For these reasons it seems reasonable to continue reading what I’m reading. That’s not everyone’s path but I believe it is mine.

Now that I’ve broken the ice with this post, I may write a bit on how my theology of suffering prepared me for this time, how this cancer has been a gift to our family, and things like that. And in the midst of this, I want to continue to try to share what I’m learning about the Word and teach it to those who will listen, so that, in the words of the apostle John, “you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing may have life in his name.”

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