Bible Commentaries

Frédéric Louis Godet - Commentary on Selected Books

   

New Testament

Frédéric Louis Godet
Frédéric Louis Godet

Frédéric Louis Godet (October 25, 1812, - October 29, 1900) was a Swiss Protestant theologian.

The son of a lawyer (who died early) and a pious, strong and intelligent pastor's daughter, Godet studied theology in Berlin and Bonn where he ame into contact with the leading theologians of his day, like Hengstenberg, Tholuck, Nitzsch, Steffenns, Neander and Schleiermacher.

As a theologian, he became one of the founders of the free Evangelical Church of Neuchatel (his hometown), and professor in its theological faculty. Godet did much to interpret German theological thought to French-speaking Protestants, and the English translations of his works made him influential in international NT scholarship.

Godet was the author of some of the most noteworthy commentaries of the time, which have been translated into many languages and are still in print, as well as numerous articles. His Commentary on the Gospel of John, which continues the line of interpretation of Christoph Ernst Luthardt, ranks as the most prominent of his works. Throughout his works, he defends the authenticity and reliability of the New Testament, and particularly the gospels, although he did not commit himself to the plenary inspiration of the Scriptures.

Rejecting the Calvinist position on predestination, Godet has often been appealed to by Arminian theologians. In Christology, he held the modernist kenotic theory of Wolfgang Friedrich Gess, according to which incarnation meant, not the assumption of two distinct states by one subject, but the voluntary reduction of a divine subject to the human state. His work contributed to changing the ways of approaching the kenotic motif among New Testament scholars. Regarding atonement, he affirmed a reconciliation of God to man as well as man to God, but he thought that Christ's sufferings met the divine claims in relation to sin not by satisfying and compensating but by revealing and recognising them, thereby expressing the Moral influence theory of atonement and the Governmental theory of atonement. In his The Six Days of Creation, he argued, following Hugh Miller, for an old earth.