I don’t believe the Bible is a book of heroes. The Bible does have heroes in it, but that is not what it is about. It is a book about the Hero. Nonetheless, I do believe in having heroes, and I believe it is Biblical to have them.
Heroes are not perfect, and thus they point us to Christ in three ways. Their faults (weaknesses and sins) point us to the Savior that they, and we, all need. With this foundation we learn two further truths concerning their strengths. First, they are a result of God’s gifting and working in them such that He gets all the glory. Second, their strengths also point us to Jesus by whom they are graded – Jesus is the ultimate curve breaker. All heroes are judged in relation to Him.
Every year I single out one hero to study in particular. This year I will study the life and works of B.B. Warfield. He was born the son of a farmer on November 5, 1851 near Lexington Kentucky.
Warfield was fighter. While attending Princeton College he got into a fight following an afternoon lecture in front of the chapel. The reason – Warfield had drawn a picture of another student that was passed around the class. The picture wasn’t flattering so they fought. The fight evidently didn’t amount to much because no action was taken by the school, but Warfield’s reputation as a fighter stuck.
Warfield was a champion for the authority and inerrancy of the Word of God and many precious doctrines taught therein. He primarily fought with his pen and by teaching students at Princeton Seminary where he taught for 34 years instructing more than 2,700 students. But he was a gentleman fighter. Primarily he attacked ideas, not persons. This isn’t to say that his arguments didn’t sting or were void of sarcasm, but he was fair.
And yet there was a tenderness in this man that allowed him to fight so tenaciously. At 25 he married Annie Peirce Kinkead and while on their honeymoon she was struck by lightning. She was a semi-invalid the rest of her life. Warfield rarely left her side for more than two hours. Because he was tied so closely to home by love, this freed him to fight with his pen for the glory of God and the edification of our souls.
Every week I will post some gleanings from Warfield. All such posts will be marked, “The Pugilist,” a nickname given to him in those early college years and an identity sanctified by God.