A Neglected Text in Bibliology Discussions: I Corinthians 2:6-16 -- By: Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 43:2 (Spring 1981)
Article: A Neglected Text in Bibliology Discussions: I Corinthians 2:6-16
Author: Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.


A Neglected Text in Bibliology Discussions: I Corinthians 2:6-16*

Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.

There are few exercises as theologically satisfying as the results that come from the hard work of thoroughly exegeting biblical texts which are large teaching passages on doctrinal or ethical themes. Yet, one of the enigmas of our day is the phenomenon of increased discussion about the topics of revelation, inspiration, and illumination without a corresponding in-depth probing of major teaching texts on these subjects. Too often our generation of evangelicals has been content to assume that Gaussen, Warfield, or some worthy of by-gone days has already analyzed every text that could be exegeted. But that is not quite so. There is, for example, one extended teaching passage on this very question that has been neglected, viz., 1 Corinthians 2:6–16. So far as we have been able to discover, this passage has not been allowed in the history of recent exegesis to exert its full impact on the question of the inspiration of the Scriptures. However, before we pursue this task, let us briefly survey the current state of the church’s theological house.

I. The Shape of the Problem Today

On the American scene, the most important contribution to the subject of inspiration, which followed in the train of thought set by the Reformation, was that of the Princeton theologians. Even though Princeton Seminary was founded as late as 1812 with Archibald Alexander (1772–1851) as its first professor,1 a

* This paper was originally delivered in slightly different form at the Theological Conference of the International Federation of Free Churches in Oslo, Norway, 1980.

systematic treatment of the doctrine of inspiration was not given until Charles Hodge (1797–1878) wrote an extensive article in 1857 in the Princeton Review entitled “Inspiration.”2 His son, Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823–1886), went to Princeton in 1877 to assist his ailing father for one year before he took over as the third professor of Systematic Theology in 1878. About this same time, a former student of Charles Hodge and a close friend of A. A. Hodge, Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1851–1921), joined the Princeton faculty in 1880 as Professor of New Testament. His inaugural address in 1880 picked up the same theme “Inspiration and Criticism.” In that same year he also wrote a pamphlet on “The Divine Origin of the Bible.” A. A. Hodge and B. B. Warfield collaborated in 1881 to write another new article on inspiration.

But A. A. Hodge suddenly died...

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