I think Hebrew is cool.
I've also voiced the opinion that bible teachers can and, if possible, should learn some. At that point I said a hundred hours would not be an unreasonable investment of time.
Well here's a 40 hour course. Twenty lessons, one hour of homework a week.
It uses this textbook which has a CD-ROM with answers to homework exercises.
Thanks to Ros for flagging this up. I don't know the text book or the website but I know she's a great linguist so this is worth following up if you're keen.
I think bible teachers should spend some time learning biblical languages (see this post or this post). It might only take 40 hours, but still some time would be a good investment. But perhaps you need to be sold a little more so let me just list a few things that I very quickly found to be cool about learning Hebrew.
- Each word has a root of three letters. The three form the one!
- God (Elohim) is a plural noun that, wierdly enough, always takes a singular verb. The Plurality always works as a Unity.
- Even the letters are cool. They all come from symbols with rich meanings. Dev's your man if you want to know more. But just think of the letter taw (pronounced tav). Its symbol is the cross. Now read Ezekiel 9 and realize that the 'mark' put on the foreheads of the faithful is simply the letter taw. Cool, huh?
- Adam means the particular bloke Adam, a man and humanity. And the fall is the story of the particular bloke Adam disobeying the LORD. But then of course this is Man's fall. And Christ, the last Adam (the Greek never says 'second' Adam but 'eschatos Adam' - the last, eschatological Adam) not only works salvation for Himself but for Man.
- Eretz means Land (usually promised land) but also earth. Inheriting Canaan is always a symbol of the whole world.
- My favourite word is Nasa. It means: He lifts up, He carries, He forgives, He bears the weight of. And, for instance, the Prince of Ezekiel 40-48 is the Nasi - the One who forgives by carrying, bearing the weight and being lifted up.
And a thousand times seeing repetitions of words and phrases that you miss in translations. Words with really interesting double meanings (like 'eye' is the same word as 'fountain'). And sentence structures designed to highlight words and ideas that you just couldn't capture with a simple translation.
If you get the chance, have a dig into biblical languages. Raking slowly (excruciatingly slowly at times!) over the bible is never a waste of time!