Hodge begins his commentary on 1 Corinthians with an introduction to the geographic and political significance of the city of Corinth. In particular, he shows how the history of Corinth, its relationship to the city to Athens, and the political climate of the Roman Empire contribute to the pastoral and theological controversies which Paul aims to address. Hodge also attends to the theological implications of Paul’s pastoral concerns for the church in Corinth—issues such as church divisions, sexual immorality, marriage and divorce, idolatry, worship, spiritual gifts, and the resurrection. More importantly, Hodge argues that 1 Corinthians has made its way into the New Testament canon because Paul’s words on these theological and pastoral issues are fit not only for his original readers, but also for the entire history of the church. This commentary on 1 Corinthians serves as an important first step toward hearing those words.
Charles Hodge counts as one of the most influential theologians of the nineteenth century and one of Calvinism’s most ardent defenders in America. He was born in 1797 in Philadelphia to Hugh and Mary Hodge. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (Princeton University) in 1815, and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1821. In 1822, at the request of Archibald Alexander, he became a professor at Princeton, and taught biblical literature and systematic theology until 1878. From 1826 to 1828, Hodge also studied in Europe, and became acquainted with Friedrich Augustus Tholuck, Wilhelm Gesenius, Augustus Neander, and Friedrich Schleiermacher.
During his tenure at Princeton, Hodge instructed more than three thousand ministers, served as moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly in 1846, helped revise the Presbyterian Church’s Book of Discipline, and served on the Board of Foreign Missions. He also founded the Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review and served as its editor for forty-three years. In addition to his systematic theology and four Bible commentaries, Hodge also wrote books on the Presbyterian Church and published numerous articles.
Charles Hodge died on June 19, 1878. Among his last words: “To be absent from the body is to be with the Lord, to be with the Lord is to see the Lord, to see the Lord is to be like him.”