Zane Hodges: The New Testament Scholar Who Actually Studied the New Testament -- By: Bob Wilkin

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 21:41 (Autumn 2008)
Article: Zane Hodges: The New Testament Scholar Who Actually Studied the New Testament
Author: Bob Wilkin

Zane Hodges:
The New Testament Scholar Who Actually Studied the New

Bob Wilkin


Editor’s note: Zane Hodges went to be with the Lord on November 23rd, 2008, evidently due to several heart attacks. The following article is a slightly modified version of an article I wrote for a proposed festschrift for him, which hopefully will be released soon.

I. Introduction

Dr. Art Farstad, Zane Hodges, and I used to have lunch one or more times each month for years. Art called them our troika meetings. Troika is a Russian loan word. In Russian it refers to a vehicle drawn by three horses abreast. In English troika refers to any grouping of three.

I loved our troika meetings. Zane and Art would say the most amazing things, whether about theology, grammar, lexicography, or whatever. The puns were fast and fascinating.

Art once told a semi-joke that Zane knew, but which I didn’t. In fact, even after he told the story, I didn’t get it until he explained it.

Art told of a retiring NT scholar. This man had a Ph.D. in NT Greek and exegesis. He had taught the New Testament for 40 years. When asked at his retirement if he had any regrets, he said, “I only regret that I never really studied the New Testament.”

“What? I don’t get it,” I said to Art. “If he was a New Testament scholar, surely he studied the New Testament.”

Art told me that the point is that most NT scholars are experts in what others say about the NT and in extra biblical literature that might shed some light on the NT itself. However, most NT scholars rarely truly study the NT itself.

Here I was enjoying lunch with the two NT scholars who indeed actively studied the NT (and the OT) for themselves every day of their lives. I realized how blessed I was that I needed to have such a joke explained.

Zane Hodges was my mentor essentially since I met him in January of 1980 in his class on Hebrews until he went to be with the Lord on November 23, 2008. It is a delight to share some insights into my mentor and friend.

II. Viewing Teaching at DTS as Tentmaking!

During my seven years at Dallas Theological Seminary (1978–85), I learned that Professor Hodges, as I called him then, viewed teaching at DTS as his tentmaking work. He taught to make enough money to live on so that he could minister free of charge in a small Hispanic mission church in Dallas (called Victor Street Bible Chapel today).

I was amazed by this conviction. Most of the faculty viewed their teaching at DTS a...

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