Zane C. Hodges

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Zane Clark Hodges
Born (1932-06-15)June 15, 1932
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania Flag of the United States.svg
Died November 23, 2008(2008-11-23) (aged 76)
Nationality American
Occupation Minister, Writer, Professor

Zane Clark Hodges (June 15, 1932 – November 23, 2008) was an American pastor, seminary professor, and Bible scholar. He was reared in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and came to Dallas, Texas in 1954 after receiving a bachelor's degree from Wheaton College. He received master of theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1958. He then taught New Testament Greek and Exegesis (1960–1987) at Dallas Seminary and was also chairman of the New Testament Department. Hodges also served as pastor at Victor Street Bible Chapel, formerly The Old Mission in Dallas, for almost 50 years. Zane Hodges was also the founder and president of Kerugma Ministries.[1]

Some of the views that Hodges is known for include: (1) "Free Grace Theology," a view which holds that eternal life is received only as a free gift through belief in Jesus Christ for eternal life (a person cannot lose their salvation, even if they fall away from the faith), (2) "Eternal Rewards" a view that various passages in the New Testament are not dealing with eternal salvation but addressing Christians and the opportunity to earn eternal rewards or to caution against their loss and (3) his position on the Majority Text.

Free Grace and the Lordship Salvation Controversy[edit]

In the 1980s, Hodges and John F. MacArthur presented differing views over the gospel through various books, generally known as the "lordship salvation" controversy. Hodges defended the Free Grace Theology position, which teaches that the free gift of eternal life is without cost to the believer, that it comes through simply believing in Jesus Christ. A distinction is recognized between believing (which results in receiving eternal life) and submission to the Lordship of Christ (which is part of the sanctification process). Free Grace Theology also teaches that once a person believes in Jesus Christ, they cannot lose their salvation. MacArthur argued instead for Lordship Salvation, and argued that the faith that saves invariably results in works, and that a true Christian would not continue sinning without remorse but would instead obey God's commands to do the good works that God has. MacArthur viewed biblical faith as always including the notion to surrender and obey, while Hodges taught that biblical faith was the agreement that something is true.

Majority Text[edit]

In 1985, Hodges published with Arthur L. Farstad the second edition of The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text with Apparatus. The Byzantine text-type, or “Majority Text”, is considered by its advocates to be a more accurate rendering of the Greek New Testament, though the more commonly accepted New Testament text, called the Alexandrian text-type, which is used in the Nestle-Aland (N/A) text and the United Bible Societies Greek Testament (UBS), is based on more ancient New Testament fragments. Hodges argues:

The amount of variation between the manuscripts containing the Majority Text appears to be significantly less than the variations found in the papyrus texts of Egypt. This is to say that any two manuscripts containing the Majority Text are likely to differ with each other less than any two papyri might differ from one another. .. [A]dditionally, many of the uncial (capital letter) manuscripts contain a predominantly Majority form of text. The Majority form, however, is much less well represented in the Egyptian papyri…Is it possible that the N/A and UBS editions of the New Testament represent only an approximation to an early form of text that once circulated in Egypt? Where is the evidence that this kind of text really existed elsewhere in the ancient world? …Perhaps the great numerical superiority of the Majority Text (80% in the minuscule manuscripts) is its own argument for the high antiquity of that text. All other explanations of its majority status lack real plausibility. Indeed, the predominance of this majority can actually be understood as the expected outcome of a normal and natural transmission of the New Testament manuscripts. (Zane Hodges & Earl Radmacher, The NIV Reconsidered: A Fresh Look at a Popular Translation, 1990 pp. 136, 137, 143, 144)


Hodges is known for his rejection of the view of repentance as a "change of mind", holding instead the view that it is a God fearing decision to turn from sin. "Repentance is the decision to turn from sin to avoid, or bring to an end, God's temporal judgment."(p. 57, Harmony with God) Hodges stresses that repentance facilitates faith in Christ, but is not a condition for eternal salvation, nor is it part of faith itself. "It is one thing to say that repentance facilitates faith in Christ--the Bible teaches that. It is quite another thing to say that repentance is a requirement for eternal life. That the Bible does not teach." (p. 93, Harmony with God)

Initially in Hodges' book Absolutely Free! and later in more detail in his book, Harmony With God Hodges took the position that the process of repentance may be a preparatory step in coming to salvation, and should be evident in the life of a believer, but eternal life is received by believing in Jesus, not by turning from sin. Hodges points out that the gospel of John, the only book of the Bible written to lead the unsaved to Christ never once uses the term "repentance", which is telling given the frequent use of the term "repentance" by the same author in the book of Revelation. In Harmony with God Hodges said there is only one answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Hodges emphatically stated, “[Paul and Silas'] answer said absolutely nothing about repentance. Instead they gave the famous and simple reply "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31).”


  1. ^ Dallas News obituary, November 29, 2008.

Published books[edit]

  • The Hungry Inherit (1980)
  • Here Walks My Enemy (1982)
  • The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text with Apparatus: Second Edition 2ND ed (1985), with Arthur L. Farstad
  • Grace in Eclipse (1985)
  • Absolutely Free! (1989)
  • The NIV Reconsidered (1990), with Earl Radmacher
  • The Gospel Under Siege 2ND ed (1992)
  • The Epistle of James, Proven Character Through Testing (1994)
  • Power to Make War (1995)
  • The Epistles of John (1999)
  • Harmony with God: A Fresh Look at Repentance (2001)
  • Six Secrets of the Christian Life (2004)

Key articles[edit]

  • "First Horseman of the Apocalypse"(1962, Bibliotheca Sacra)
  • "Light on James Two from Textual Criticism"(1963, Bibliotheca Sacra)
  • "Modern Textual Criticism and the Majority Text: A Response" (1978, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society)

External links[edit]