Knowing biblical Hebrew enables you to engage deeply and richly with the Old Testament in its original language. But because the Bible is a decidedly Jewish book, and the authors of both testaments were all Jews familiar with the Hebrew language and Jewish thought, learning biblical Hebrew will also give you new insight into the meaning of New Testament writings.
It’s easy to get started, and it will make you a better student of the Bible. In fact, learning Hebrew is a lot of fun, as long as you put the work in.
As with anything, start with the basics—in this case, the alphabet.
To learn Hebrew, you’ll need to learn all of the sounds and symbols of the alphabet. Originally, the Hebrew alphabet was written only with consonents. Over time, vowels were added to aid in pronunciation. The first step in learning the Hebrew alphabet is learning and memorizing the Hebrew letters.
Hebrew Alphabet and Transliteration מ to ת
Logos In-App Hebrew Alphabet Tutor
- Logos Blog: An Introduction to the Hebrew Alphabet
Learning to Read Hebrew: Vowels
Hebrew grammar and vocabulary
Grammar and vocabulary form the foundation of language. To interact intelligently with Hebrew language resources, students need at least a basic grasp of each. These resources are highly accessible, and you can move through them at your own pace.
A lexicon is a dictionary of vocabulary and thus essential for work in the original languages. Lexicons become a student’s most trusted companion in determining the meaning and usage of Hebrew words. These lexicons, especially Brown-Driver-Briggs, are the best.
Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (BDB)
Regular price: $19.99
Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible
Regular price: $29.99
The Abridged Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament
Regular price: $0.00
Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament
Regular price: $14.99
Here’s where the real fun begins. Exegesis is where you bring all the disciplines of original language study together, along with other disciplines of interpretation, to understand the Bible in vivid detail. You do need a basic grasp of grammar and vocabulary to do exegesis, but by no means do you need to be an expert, especially given the resources that can help you.
Visual Filters in Logos Bible Software
One of Logos’ many tools for exegesis is Visual Filters, which you can use to color-code and markup parts of speech. For example, you can use it to quickly identify all the verbs in a passage or all the prepositions (watch video below).
You can also use Logos to:
- Reveal the parsing of a part of speech
- Launch a word study with one click
- Explore cross-references easily
- Search for specific grammatical constructions
- And more
Learn how to follow Dr. DeRouchie’s twelve-step exegesis method to arrive at a clear meaning and application of the Hebrew text. Among other things, you’ll learn how to:
- Approach the Old Testament text from multiple helpful scholarly viewpoints
- Identify the genre, translation issues, and key terms of many prominent texts from the Old Testament
- Approach passages of Scripture, looking for elements that uncover their literary content and historical setting
Best courses on biblical Hebrew
You may prefer to study Hebrew in a more traditional format: seminary. You can learn biblical Hebrew at most mid- to large-size theological seminaries. These seminaries all partner with Logos Bible Software in some way so that you get access to Logos to help you with your studies:
Self-directed digital courses
For the non-traditional student, or for a more cost-effective way of learning, try self-directed online courses. Dr. DeRouchie’s course mentioned above is a great start, but you might also consider:
Not yet ready for exegesis? Lay a solid foundation first with this certificate program that will teach you Hebrew grammar and vocabulary. Learn more.
Dr. Michael Heiser shows you how to use biblical Hebrew to become a competent interpreter of the Old Testament. Perform word studies alongside an expert and learn to avoid common mistakes. Learn grammatical terminology used in commentaries and journal articles so you can follow the discussion. Learn more.
A natural next step after grammar is this 15-hr exegesis course with Dr. DeRouchie. (Scroll up for an overview of his interpretive process.) Learn more.
- Zondervan Academic Blog: 7 Tips for Learning Biblical Hebrew from Miles Van Pel
- Logos Academic Blog: The Open Secret to Mastering Greek and Hebrew Vocabulary
- Zondervan Academic Blog: Why Study Biblical Hebrew?