Bob Goethe took Classical Greek for two full years as part of his BA program at the University of Alberta, followed by Biblical Greek for three full years as part of his Master of Divinity degree at the North American Baptist Seminary, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (now rebranded as Sioux Falls Seminary). He took Hebrew for two full years.
Bob included Greek translation of the NT (and some OT translation from Hebrew) as part of his daily quiet time, on and off, from the late 1970s through the 1990s.
However, starting around 2003 Bob stepped up his game, as the Internet made it possible to do translation WITHOUT first surrounding yourself with six or seven different books: translations, lexicons, grammars, and commentaries. Now, you could parse a verb, then flip from one reference work to another with the click of a mouse. It removed some of the discouragement of translation that came from how very L O N G it took you to finish a single verse, what with all the flipping back and forth between volumes.
Since 2003, Bob has - as always - done a variety of things in his quiet time. But during this period has kept coming back to Greek. By now he has completed a fairly careful translation of 46% of the NT: all of Matthew and Mark, Galatians to Colossians, and all of 1 Peter through Revelation.
In the last couple of years, Bob has worked with an old friend of his, Mark Dickens, who was teaching at the U of A to do a joint Greek/Syriac translation of Luke into English. Bob translates a passage from Greek. Mark translates from Syriac (Syriac is very closely related to the Aramaic that Jesus spoke). They then get together to compare notes on their translations and to think collectively about how this section of Scripture could apply to their own lives.
The Syriac translation of the NT, called the Peshitta, is particularly interesting in that it was started shortly after the original Greek NT was written, and the translators were looking at the language Luke wrote and, in some cases, trying to "reverse engineer" it to figure out what the actual,original Aramaic words of Jesus might have been.
Bob's output is rather quirky: a translation that is in some verses rather free, and others quite literal, plus something that is a bit of a cross between a traditional exegetical commentary and a devotional journal. In Mark, when completing the section which described how John the Baptist ate locusts and honey, Bob digressed with an excursus on the protein content of insects, and included a recipe for Crispy Cricket Chocolate Chip Cookies.
November, 2015 addendum: Bob - who calls his translation "
Bob's Eclectic English Rendering" (or BEER) - has published a handful of copies of his Luke/Acts, Volume 1, translation and commentary. This edition also includes Mark's " Western Inte grated Syriac Version (or WINGS).
Naturally, this volume has been published as the
BEER and WINGSedition of Luke/Acts.
Bob found that his efforts at Scripture memory - which were pretty good back when he was in junior high and high school - sort of fell off the tracks in the early 1970s, once he stopped reading the KJV all the time. It was difficult, when you spent a year or two with the NEB, then flipped over to the GNB, follwed next by the LB, then the NIV, etc., to know just WHAT version to memorize FROM.
Starting in November of 2014, Bob decided that he could perhaps solve this problem by memorizing, for instance, Matthew 6:1 exactly the way Matthew wrote it, i.e. in Greek.
Professionally, after receiving his Master of Divinity degree, Bob spent nine years on staff with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, two years as a tentmaker missionary in Japan, and the balance of the time as a computer professional in Canada.
For ten of these years Bob was the chief programmer for a little company that made software used in the diagnosis of breast cancer. More recently, Bob has been doing contract programming for the Covenant Health Group of hospitals in Alberta, as well as network/hardware tech support for the Northgate Chevrolet dealership here in Edmonton.
In terms of hobbies, Bob loves sailing. In the summer of 2014, he was navigator on a 46 foot sailboat that travelled from Hawaii to Victoria in 19 days. In August of 2015, in partnership with the Edmonton Yacht Club and the Alberta Offshore Sailing Association, he instructed a course on celestial/sextant navigation. If this intrigues you at all, you can click here for more information.
Bob has also performed a fair bit of research and experimentation around the whole problem of recovering from a man-overboard emergency. You can read more about this here.