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DOES ANYBODY CARE WHETHER JESUS SPOKE GREEK? | 2003-10-04

If you have to be a good Jew to get to Heaven, I've had it. I am dead certain that Hell is a place without pork products. I expect to be Up There with my plate in my hand and Maurice Bessinger handing out the viands.

A lot of my fellow Bible Belters think that they will get to Heaven by hashing out theological points. That is not the hash I am concerned with.

I have lots of qualifications to be a big-time intellectual, but that is not how an old Southerner thinks. Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina was the unquestioned top expert on constitutional law in the United States Senate. Even the liberal black congresswoman Barbara Jordan went straight to him when she had constitutional questions to ask.

One day when Senator Sam was chairing the Judiciary Committee, Howard Baker got fed up with his always saying, "I'm just a country lawyer from North Carolina." He said, "Dammit, Sam, you're a MAGNA CUM LAUDE graduate of the Harvard Law School!"

The senior senator from North Carolina grinned and replied, "Yes, Howard, but nobody will ever know it."

Just like Senator Sam, I think a lot of myself, but not the way the people who call themselves "intellectuals" do. The so-called intellectuals think it's great when they use language nobody understands. Like Sam Ervin, I know that any fool can take a course in Ancient Greek and give a whole speech nobody understands.

To me, a real intellectual is someone who can take the most complicated point and understand it so well that he can explain it in a way everybody can understand. That takes smarts. That shows deep knowledge and deep understanding.

In ancient Palestine those who spent every waking hour studying the Law and the Prophets spoke only to each other. Jesus talked to fools like me.

I don't think there is any question that Jesus was intelligent.

I happen to think He is a good deal more than that.