|The Books collected into the New Testament do not constitute the
utterances of Jesus nor of his disciples. Jesus was of Jewish
ancestry and so were his disciples. If any of Jesus' utterances were
to be found preserved in their original form, they could only be in
the Hebrew language.
Same is the case with the utterances of his disciples. But no
copy of the New Testament in ancient Hebrew exists in the world. The
old copies are all in Greek.
Christian writers try to cover this Grave Defect by saying that
in the times of Jesus the language in general use was Greek as you
do. This is impossible for more reasons than one.
Nations do not easily give up their language. It is for them as
valuable an inheritance as any property or other possession. In
Eastern Europe, there are people who for three or four hundred years
have lived under Russian rule, but their languages remain intact to
France and Spain have ruled over Morocco and Algeria for a long
time. Yet the language of these former subjected people is still
Arabic. Two thousand years have passed since the time of Jesus. Yet
the Jews have not forgotten their language.
Even today, in parts of Europe and America, Jews speak "Yiddish",
a corrupt form of ancient Hebrew. If this long lapse of time spent
amongst other peoples has not destroyed the Jewish language, then
Roman rule in Palestine which had begun only about 50 years before
the advent of Jesus was not long enough for a people to forget their
language. But there are other important considerations also to be
kept in view:
1. Nations which attain to any importance in history do not give
up their language, and the Jews were a very important people indeed.
2. The religion of the Jews was recorded in Hebrew and for this
reason particularly it was impossible for them to give up their
3. In the scale of civilization and refinement, the Jews did not
regard themselves as inferior to the Romans, rather they felt
Superior and this must have made them proud of their language and
reluctant to give it up.
4. The Jews entertained hopes for the return of their political
power; nations which fear the future become pessimistic and
therefore tend to lose pride in their language. But the Jews in the
time of Jesus were awaiting the advent of their King who was to
re-establish Jewish rule. Looking forward to such a future, they
could not have been so negligent in protecting their language.
5. Jewish authors of that time wrote in their own language or in
some corrupt form of it. If their language had changed, we should
have had books of the time written in a language other than Hebrew.
6. The oldest manuscripts of the New Testament are in Greek. But
in the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire had not become divided into
two halves. The center of the Empire was still Rome. The Roman and
Greek languages are very difficult. If Roman influence had at all
penetrated Jewish life, it should have resulted in the assimilation
of Latin (and not Greek) words into the Hebrew language. Yet the
oldest manuscripts of the Gospels are all in Greek. This proves that
the Gospels were written down at a time when the Roman Empire had
become divided and its eastern possession had become part of the
Greek Empire, so that the Greek language had begun to exert its
influence on Christianity and its literature.
7. Phrases such as the following which are preserved in the
Gospels in their original form are all Hebrew phrases:
(a) "Hossana" - Matthew 21:9 (b) "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani" -
Matthew 27:46 (c) "Rabbi" - John 3:2 (d) "Talitha cumi" - Mark 5:41
From the Acts, it appears that even after the crucifixion Jews
"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak
with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there
were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation
under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came
together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them
speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled,
saying one to another, Behold are not all these which speak
Galilaeans ? And how hear we, every man in our own tongue, where in
we were born ? Parthians and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers
in Mesopotamia, and in Judea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Phrygia,and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about
Cyrene, and in strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretans and
Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works
of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to
another, What meaneth this ? Others mocking said, These men are full
of new wine." (Acts 2:3-13)
It is evident that at this time the language spoken in Palestine
was Hebrew. Speaking any other language was extraordinary. Among the
names mentioned is Rome, which means that the Roman language was not
spoken in Palestine and whoever spoke it seemed a stranger.
We are not concerned here with the merits of the narrative but we
only wish to point out that this passage from the Acts proves
conclusively that even after the crucifixion the language of the
Jews was Hebrew. Those who knew other languages were exceptions.
When some of the disciples spoke these other languages - among them
Latin. Some people thought they were drunk and talking nonsense. If
the country as a whole used Roman or Greek. no such reaction would
It is clear, therefore, that the language which Jesus and his
disciples spoke was Hebrew, not Latin or Greek. So copies of the New
Testament written down in Latin or Greek must have been written down
long after the time of Jesus, at a time when Christianity had begun
to penetrate into Roman territory and Roman imperialist power had
become divided into the Italian and Greek Parts. Books of this kind,
composed 100 or 200 years after Jesus by unknown authors and
attributed by them to Jesus and his disciples, can be of little use
to any believer today. It was necessary, therefore, that we should
have had another book sent to us from heaven, free from these
defects and one which readers could regard with certainty as the
very Word of God. The Holy Qur'an.