Register Reviews: Inspiration by Hodge and Warfield

357619_w185A.A. Hodge and B.B Warfield regard inspiration as, “God’s continued work of superintendence, by which, his providential, gracious and supernatural contributions having been presupposed, he presided over the sacred writers in their entire work or writing, with the design and effect of rendering that writing an errorless record of the matters he designed them to communicate, and hence constituting the entire volume in all its parts the word of God to us.”

This statement lays the foundation for the rigorous and accurate exegesis which follows it. Warfield and Hodge have put together a strong defense of the doctrine of inspiration and have done so at the peril of liberal theologians, which this article was meant to do. Originally published in the Presbyterian Review in 1881 and subsequently reprinted in various places and time. It stands as a hallmark of protestant doctrine in the face of trending biblical questioning. The 19th Century rocked the Presbyterian Church in such a way that controversy is still on the forefront of discussion in many of its circles. 1929 brought about the split of a major player in the PCUSA, J. Gresham Machen, who led a group of conservatives to form the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The split happened as Princeton Seminary, who produced a long line of faithful Presbyterian ministers, sought to reorganize itself in order to form a more modern school. This led to cracks in the foundation which led to the infiltration of liberal theology.

Warfield and Hodge, Princeton professors, wrote Inspiration to further seal the doctrine into the minds of orthodox Christians who were on the fence as to the true inspiration of the word of God.  It is from this viewpoint which this work shines the brightest. In defense of Inspiration Warfield is fierce and unapologetic when he says, “The moral and spiritual character of the revelation which the Scriptures convey of God, of the person of Christ, of the plan of redemption and of the law of absolute righteousness, and the power which the very words of the record, as well as the truth they express, have exercised over the noblest men and over nations and races for centuries, this is the characteristic self-demonstration of the word of God and has sufficed to maintain the unabated catholicity of the strict doctrine of inspiration through all change of time and in site of all opposition.”

Warfield not only opposed opposition fiercely but also answer any objections to the doctrine that would have been on the tongues of his opponents. Questions regarding the authenticity of the Old and New testaments as they have come down to us, the accuracy of historicity and geography, and the complete harmony of the word of God within the soul of man were not far from Warfield’s mind when he and Hodge penned this work. They display a firm apologetic against any form of the doctrine which does not line up completely with the biblical record and rightly so, for we are called to “handle the word rightly” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Hodge and Warfield are firm in their objections to the doctrine, accurate in their exegesis of the text, and well-studied in their opponents objections, all these together are necessary to uphold the doctrine of inspiration as they have. They call out objectors by name and show from the biblical text that their arguments hold no water or sway over biblical proof. They end their treatise by saying that the doctrine has been double proved, both from the text and from the rebuttal of the objections. They are more than certain that we hold a bible penned by the hands of men but also graven with the finger of God.

I have not seen a defense of the doctrine put together quite like this one. While it may not be a complete overview of every mention in the entire biblical record it does cover a vast amount of information in such a small format. I recommend this to those who would be questionable to the doctrine of inspiration. Those who want to strengthen their souls with this information would also do well to pick up a copy.

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