By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
It might be all Greek to some, but for one Portales resident the study of an ancient language is opening up the Bible in a new way.
Devoting time and energy to the study of Biblical Greek earned Portales resident Clinton Hill the Zondervan Greek Award at Eastern New Mexico University.
According to Shirley Rollinson, who is the chair of the Religion Department at ENMU, the award is presented to students for excellence in the study of Biblical Greek. The award is presented by the Zondervan Publishing Co.
For the past two years, Hill has taken and completed beginning Greek courses at ENMU, under the direction of Rollinson. Hill began by learning the Greek alphabet and gradually expanding his studies. Currently he is reading the New Testament, Rollinson said.
“He’s sort of the star Greek student. He’s excited, does his homework and comes to class prepared. He goes the extra mile,” Rollinson said.
Hill, who is the youth minister at the Southside Church of Christ, said he was not expecting to receive the award. His name was submitted by Rollinson, Hill said.
“Receiving the Zondervan was truly a surprise,” Hill said.
Hill says seeing the message of Jesus in it’s original language has been an exhilarating experience for him.
“Greek has a rich history. I always wanted to read the original manuscripts of the Gospels and the Epistles,” Hill said.
Passionate about his belief in Jesus, Hill, who graduated from high school in Melrose, came to Portales two years ago from Albuquerque to follow his dream. He felt that he was being called to serve a different role in life, other than being a train conductor, he said.
“I wanted to follow what my purpose was,” Hill said of his return to college.
He has recently returned from a trip in Arizona where he was instrumental in putting together a Vacation Bible School for students in Verde Valley. While there, the group also visited residents in the local nursing home, he said.
In his role as youth minister, Hill uses the knowledge he has learned from Biblical Greek to teach his students. He pares the lessons down so they can understand it, Hill said.
“I plan on teaching others. I think Greek Jesus is so much cooler, he’s more down-to-earth, you can actually relate to him,” Hill said.
Hill, who is pursuing a degree in Religion, with a minor in Greek, has plans for a ministry called the Revolvers. The group will put on revivals, fills in at churches, and puts on church retreats and camps, Hill said.
“I choose to walk the path of Jesus, which ironically is not a religion. I choose to walk the path and encourage people to a better life,” Hill said.