i consider this to be upside down and backwards because it asserts itself against New Testament teachings to the contrary, which emphasize the equal inclusion of all humanity and disavows Jewish superiority. Paul makes these claims over-and-over again. He emphatically proclaims that not all of Abraham's descendants are Israel, but rather the true Israel is made up of those who demonstrate genuine faith, whether Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free.
i recently received a copy of"A Reader's Hebrew & Greek Bible". i'm loving it. It is the Bible in the original languages, but the less common words are defined at the bottom of each page. i can read through a chapter at a time in the original language without having to stop and flip through a giant lexicon each time i encounter an unfamiliar word.
i've really enjoyed reading the Hebrew text. There's just something incredibly ancient and sacred about the letter formation. Tonight, when i flipped to the Greek NT i was a bit disappointed not to experience the same sense of awe and sacredness. The language seems more common and familiar. Then it struck me...
i believe my theory and theology against a Jewish ethnocentrism is captured in the difference between these two texts. The ancient Hebrew text was written specifically to the Jews (hence the "Hebrew"). While the New Testament, which incorporates all people groups, embracing humanity as one, is written in Greek. The Greek was the common language of business and trade in the 1st century. It was much like English is today. People of many different countries had their own indigenous language, but would often be fairly fluent in Greek as a second language, since it was common for business and trade all over the known world.
i selfishly desired for the NT to be written, in what struck me as, a more sacred language (Hebrew). Yet the fact that the New Covenant is written in Greek is a theological statement in itself. It means that the New Covenant is intentionally seeking to embrace all of humanity, rather than preferring any one ethnic group over the other.
The New Covenant marks the end of ethnocentrism, and the fact that it is written in Greek underlines and exclaims this statement.
[Some believe Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, but there is little evidence for this. It should also be noted that for about 200 years prior to Christ the Jewish people primarily spoke Greek and the Hebrew Scriptures were most commonly read in the Greek translation of the Septuagint. Certainly much of the known world also spoke Greek as a primary language.]