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Uhhhh.. Bacteria, what’s that got to do with it?

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I have an interesting story to tell you.

I’ll give you two caveats: 1. I really believe knowledge is power (wished I’d been the way to say that first, but I’m not) and 2. I cannot for the life of me, learn, understand, or grasp a language other than English (basically I am terrible at linguistics. Terrible isn’t a strong enough word for how bad I am).

So imagine my surprise when getting a preview of the introduction of Life Group Greek, which will be given in person this Sunday, I saw that Mr. Lanier had included this word: βακτηρια

Because I am a scientist and we sometimes use Greek letters, I had an idea of what the word was.

Looking ahead, well yeah, there it was, bacteria in a Introductory Greek life group lesson about the New Testament.

And Mr. Lanier says that was a real word back in good ole St. Paul’s time.

Say what?!

They had no idea about bacteria back then, I say.

Yeah, he says, it meant’ little stick’ to the Greeks.

Say what?!

So why in the 21st century do we know a Greek word for one of the most common life forms on the planet?


Back in the early 1800’s we had just enough microscope power to see the first “bacterium” and 1828 Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg called it a little stick. Because that’s about as interesting as a bacteria looks under a microscope (little rods).

Yea, but that doesn’t explain why Gottfried named it with a Greek word, in the early 1800’s for Heaven’s sake!

“Most everyone had a good  handle on Greek and Latin back in Gottfried’s day,” explained Mr. Lanier.

You know why I think this story is cool? Because this is a great example of just how important it is to understand where, why and when words came from when you want to know what Christ said and what God wants us to know.

And its possible!

Life Group Greek!

Three ways to do it –
1. Come to class
2. Watch live on line
3. Or watch on YouTube, at your convenience

(Even if you aren’t a believer, remember, knowledge is power. 😉

Gratuitous picture of βακτηρια

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