Jesus' world

Did you know that Jesus spoke two languages? The language of his home and neighborhood was Aramaic, which is much like Hebrew. The Old Testament is written in these two languages. But most of the people in Jesus’ day spoke two languages, the second being Greek.

When Alexander the Great conquered most of the world in the fourth century before Christ, he spread Greek culture and language. If you wanted to buy and sell from other people, if you wanted to talk to the people in political power, you learned Greek.

Later, the Romans conquered the world. Because they controlled most everything, it was possible for people like the apostle Paul to travel easily from country to country. However, their language (Latin) did not replace Greek.

Of course, for Christians we can see God's hand at work behind these events. Paul tells us that "in the fullness of time God sent his son" (Gal 4:4). At just the right time, Jesus came to die for our sins, and then the message of his love and forgiveness was preached to the world. This task was made much easier by the world having a common language and the ability for Christian missionaries to travel freely throughout the world.