Master of several dead languages, Price is becoming fluent in new dialect: the linguistics of the teenager.
By Paul Batterson, WCS Contributing Writer
In the movies, Jesus always looks like Kenny Loggins and speaks fluent English. According to Dr. Joe Price, a Bible teacher at Worthington Christian High School, nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible was written originally in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. Price said. Studying the Bible in its original language helps the reader gain a clearer understanding of God’s word.
“A friend of mine who is a professor at the University of Mexico described (teaching the Bible without the context of its original language) is like trying to explain colors to a blind person,” said Price, who is entering his third year of teaching at WCS. “You have to experience the language to understand how insightful it is.
“I’ve told the students understanding the original language is like having a high definition Bible versus an old black and white television. What I try to do is show the students verses in the original language to help them understand it better.”
In his studies at Ohio State and Ashland Seminary, Price learned Akkadian, Aramaic, Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Greek, Epigraphic Hebrew, Northwest Semitic Inscriptions, Phoenician, Rabbinic Hebrew, and Ugaritic as well as German and French.
If one worries that Price’s classes might be a little too heady, too highbrow for the average high school student, he or she shouldn’t worry. Price not only knows a handful of dead languages but he knows how to communicate with several different age groups.
Price, who worked with undergraduates at Ohio State and seminary students who were mostly in their late 20s to early 50s at Ashland, now finds himself teaching high schoolers.
“I really do enjoy it,” Price said. “They keep you young. They rub off on me as much as I rub off on them.
“I don’t know if I have perfected that skill yet, but I try to be as enthusiastic and as engaging as possible. There are times when high school students feel overwhelmed, or they’ve had a rough week. You have to know when to back off.”
Price said the key to reaching high school students is relational teaching, reaching students where they live.
One of the things Price enjoys about Worthington Christian is the flexibility of his students.
“There are times in class where the students are laughing, and then there are times when we approach a more serious topic,” he said. “We engage serious topics and issues that profoundly affect life. During those discussions, the kids are on-point and serious. But you also need to laugh with the students every once in a while. I try to lighten the mood here and there.
“Young people need teachers they can trust and teachers that can relate things to them. My goal is to teach Bible but also to make the Bible as good of an experience as I can for the students.”