Q. Could you please explain why the New Testament is written in Greek? The writers of the NT were all Jews. Peter was a fisherman, etc. Did the Holy Spirit have these men write in a language they did not speak? Or, were they all fluent in Greek?
The Bible was written in three languages: (1) Hebrew, (2) Aramaic, and (3) Greek.
The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, with a sprinkling of Aramaic. The Hebrew Old Testament was later translated into Greek called the Septuagint. The New Testament was written in Greek and occasionally you will find some
Aramaic expressions in the text.
If you will remember through the military conquests of Philip of Macedon and later Alexander the Great, the entire known world at the time of Christ spoke a common language, which is called Koine Greek.
It is likely that Jesus spoke the language of Aramaic, but no doubt he may have known Greek.
It was in the providence of God, since the gospel was to be proclaimed to every creature, that the New Testament writers made use of a language that was known everywhere. Greek in the first century, much as English is today, was the universal language.
Some people have argued for some sort of Holy Spirit Greek, but recent discoveries have proved otherwise.
Hellenistic or Koine (meaning common) Greek has been proved to be the language of the New Testament period through the discoveries among the Greek papyri. The significance of these papyri finds can scarcely be over-exaggerated.
Although many of the men who wrote the New Testament spoke Aramaic, no doubt they were fluent in Greek, the common language of the day. One story that I find amusing is recorded in
37 As Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I say something to you?”; And he said, “Do you know Greek?”
38Then you are not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?”
39But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.”
The military commander was surprised that Paul spoke Greek.
Obviously, the Holy Spirit guided the apostles in the writing of the New Testament, but they wrote in the common language of the day.
1 Cor. 212-13
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
Special thanks to Lavelle Layfield, one of the staff writers for ScripturesSay.com for the notes above.