Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2019
Those readers who have appreciated Charles Hodge’s commentaries on Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, and Ephesians will welcome this shorter work on Hebrews. It is not a full-blown commentary by any means – in fact, it is clearly incomplete. There are exegetical lectures on the first twelve of the thirteen chapters of Hebrews, and these serve as a kind of mini-commentary. The second part of the book consists of sermons and outlines of sermons on various verses. Again, this is incomplete – there is nothing on chapters 1, 6, 8, 11 and 13. One might be tempted to dismiss this volume as too short to be of great value, but that judgment would be rash indeed.
All the characteristics of Hodge (1797-1878) as a professor at Princeton, a preacher and an exegete are to be found, particularly his ability to handle the original Greek, and his clarity in explaining it. Hodge lived – as we all do, I suppose – in difficult times. He tried to take a mediating position on the interpretation of Genesis and on the issue of slavery, and failed to be convincing on either. He also believed that Paul was the author of Hebrews, which may have more going for it than is commonly thought, but is now a minority position. Whatever the case, Hodge’s volume on Hebrews is well worth obtaining and making use of to obtain a better grasp of a most vital book preserved for us in the New Testament.
Peter Barnes is the editor of AP and pastor at Revesby Presbyterian Church NSW.