Matthew Henry Commentary

Discussion in 'Commentaries' started by NoutheticCounselor, Aug 18, 2017.

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  1. NoutheticCounselor

    NoutheticCounselor Puritan Board Freshman

    CBD has a 6 volume set of Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible for $39.99. The key features of their set are:
    • Modern easy-to-read modern type with Scripture passages in bold
    • Complete and unabridged in 6 volumes
    • Includes The Life of Matthew Henry by J. B. Williams
    • Entirely faithful to the original

    Would you recommend his commentaries?

    Also, does he have any "strange" beliefs that I should watch out for?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Wholeheartedly recommend. Required reading, even. Not as technical as other commentaries, but a most faithful and pastoral work.
     
  3. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I have the set. Definitely recommended!
     
  4. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Get it!
     
  5. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

  6. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    For those of us that have time, Matthew Henry is not only a wonder commentary to consult to understand difficult passages; his commentary can also be read book by book to ground oneself in the message of the Bible.
     
  7. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    Get it. Henry is immensely helpful. He does have points where his context shows up more than others (mostly in some of his illustrations), but his handling of Scripture is outstanding.

    Next, pick up Matthew Poole (3 vols, also at CBD) and you'll have two faithful, competent commentaries which complement one another very nicely.
     
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  8. Unworthy_Servant

    Unworthy_Servant Puritan Board Freshman

    A must have! It was my first complete commentary on the Bible I ever bought, and it's still my favorite. He is very Christocentric, and masterfully makes practical applications to Biblical truths.
     
  9. reaganmarsh

    reaganmarsh Puritan Board Senior

    Henry is my favorite Saturday night read. The sermons are written, but he excels in helping with the heart being prepared for the Sabbath.
     
  10. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    Six volume set is a plus there. I have his complete works.....all in one book. The type size is .....
    Small. An example of a paragraph:

    ...........
    .............
    .............

    It is wonderfully enlightening, but a 6 volume set would be more enjoyable to read.
     
  11. Tyrese

    Tyrese Puritan Board Sophomore

    Personally, I love how Matthew Henry avoids mental gynastics with any particular text. When he comes to a text he explaines it in its context and he draws out the simple meaning. From what I've read, he doesn't feel the need to explain or defend any particular doctrine in the confession. He allows the text to speak for itself. Hard to find these days.
     
  12. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    He is one of the standards alongside Calvin, Poole, Gill, Trapp, who offers solid comment and help understanding the text. You will never regret paying a paltry $40 for such pure gold.
     
  13. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I've had my Matthew Henry set for 23 years now.

    What's interesting about it is these aren't Henry's sermons - they're his comments on the text of his Bible readings before his sermons.

    Be aware, too, that Henry died after preparing his comments on the Book of Acts for the publisher. The comments on the rest of the New Testament books were written up by ministerial colleagues, using notes Henry left behind.
     
  14. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Here's D. A. Carson's comparison of John Calvin and Matthew Henry:

    Both Calvin and Henry are still worth reading. The latter makes shrewd, practical comments; the former is a more reliable interpreter of Scripture. Both should be used only in conjunction with modern commentaries.

    New Testament Commentary Survey
    by D. A. Carson; 6th edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), p. 32.
     
  15. Parmenas

    Parmenas Puritan Board Freshman

  16. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    I would say the opposite of what Professor Carson says. Modern Commentaries should only be used in conjunction with Matthew Henry's, or Matthew Poole's, or John Calvin's, or John Gill's commentaries. We need to keep our feet grounded.
     
  17. Parmenas

    Parmenas Puritan Board Freshman

    I was about to post something very similar!

    Sadly, I am impelled to be highly suspect and distrustful of D. A. Carson on this subject, due to his views on Biblical MSS, textual criticism, and Bible translation.
     
  18. RAR

    RAR Puritan Board Freshman

    An absolute must!
    You won't find a more wholesome and trustworthy guide to the Scriptures than Matthew Henry's Commentary, it is a true classic. Even in what seem to be dry places, such as the genealogies, he provides much spiritual edification and practical application. It reads very easily also if you want to use it for family devotion. It's my wife's go to resource when she is trying to study a particular passage. I have been using it in personal devotion time, for the last 3 or 4 years. Currently I'm in The Book of Psalms, in Volume III.
    He has the amazing ability to communicate across denominational lines also, even though he himself was a Presbyterian minister, and held to the Westminster Standards, and yet I've read where his commentary was recommended as a great resource in Mennonite and Pentecostal periodicals!
    Joel Beeke and Mark Jones say this about Henry in their book, Meet the Puritans:
    "in 1704, at the age of forty-two, Henry began work on a Bible commentary, based on his system of expository preaching and the copious notes and writings on the Bible that he had compiled during his ministry. He had learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew as a child, and also had a working knowledge of French; this gave him a wide range of reading. Additionally, he had a keen spirit of inquiry, profound knowledge, and the ability to convey doctrinal matters in a simple yet profound way."
    You might want to consider looking on E Bay for older editions of the work. I have a Hendricksen edition from the 90's, and it has quite a few printing errors, ( I don't know if they've been corrected in the newer editions). The print is larger in the older editions also, plus they are better looking hardbacks and sturdier. World and MacConald Publishers both put out a set I believe in the 80's which look great. I have the latter, which my dear wife actually found in a Goodwill store in mint condition for $6 for the complete set!!
    Let me leave you with Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers evaluation of Matthew Henry's Commentary:
    "First among the mighty for general usefulness we are bound to mention the man whose name is a household word, MATTHEW HENRY. He is most pious and pithy, sound and sensible, suggestive and sober, terse and trustworthy. You will find him to be glittering with metaphors, rich in analogies, overflowing with illustrations, superabundant in reflections. He delights in apposition and alliteration; he is usually plain, quaint, and full of pith; he sees right through a text directly; apparently he is not critical, but he quietly gives the result of an accurate critical knowledge of the original fully up to the best critics of his time. He is not versed in the manners and customs of the East, for the Holy Land was not so accessible as in our day; but he is deeply spiritual, heavenly, and profitable; finding good matter in every text, and from all deducing most practical and judicious lessons. His is a kind of commentary to be placed where I saw it, in the old meeting house at Chester—chained in the vestry for anybody and everybody to read. It is the poor man's commentary, the old Christian's companion, suitable to everybody, instructive to all. His own account of how he was led to write his exposition, affords us an example of delighting in the law of the Lord. "If any desire to know how so mean and obscure a person as I am, who in learning, judgment, felicity of expression, and all advantages for such a service, am less than the least of all my Master's servants, came to venture upon so great a work, I can give no other account of it but this. It has long been my practice, what little time I had to spare in my study from my constant preparations for the pulpit, to spend it in drawing up expositions upon some parts of the New Testament, not so much for my own use, as purely for my own entertainment, because I know not how to employ my thoughts and time more to my satisfaction. Trahit sua quemque voluptas; every man that studies hath some beloved study, which is his delight above any other; and this is mine. It is that learning which it was my happiness from a child to be trained up in by my ever honoured father, whose memory must always be very dear and precious to me. He often minded me, that a good textuary is a good divine; and that I should read other books with this in my eye, that I might be the better able to understand and apply the Scripture." You are aware, perhaps, that the latter part of the New Testament was completed by other hands, the good man having gone the way of all flesh. The writers were Messrs, Evans, Brown, Mayo, Bays, Rosewell, Harriss, Atkinson, Smith, Tong, Wright, Merrell, Hill, Reynolds, and Billingsley—all Dissenting ministers. They have executed their work exceedingly well, have worked in much of the matter which Henry had collected, and have done their best to follow his methods, but their combined production is far inferior to Matthew Henry himself, and any reader will soon detect the difference. Every minister ought to read Matthew Henry entirely and carefully through once at least. I should recommend you to get through it in the next twelve months after you leave college. Begin at the beginning, and resolve that you will traverse the goodly land from Dan to Beersheba. You will acquire a vast store of sermons if you read with your notebook close at hand; and as for thoughts, they will swarm around you like twittering swallows around an old gable towards the close of autumn. If you publicly expound the chapter you have just been reading, your people will wonder at the novelty of your remarks and the depth of your thoughts, and then you may tell them what a treasure Henry is. Mr. Jay's sermons bear indubitable evidence of his having studied Matthew Henry almost daily. Many of the quaint things in Jay's sermons are either directly traceable to Matthew Henry or to his familiarity with that writer. I have thought that the style of Jay was founded upon Matthew Henry: Matthew Henry is Jay writing, Jay is Matthew Henry preaching. What more could I say in commendation either of the preacher or the author?
     
  19. RAR

    RAR Puritan Board Freshman

    :amen:
     
  20. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Not quite sure why his views on textual criticism would make his views on commentaries suspect. I consider him a fairly reliable guide to NT commentaries, though I might differ here and there.
     
  21. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    While I have some sympathy with this idea, especially in terms of doctrinal matters, I find this less compelling in the exegetical realm. I have found that every era of commentary writing has something to contribute, and that it is better to use the best works of all eras. Do not forget that the best of the moderns will have read and been guided by the older lights already, and can therefore stand on their shoulders. This is not to say that newer is always better, mind you. However, the modern age does have positive things to contribute that the older ages do not, especially in the area of exegesis.
     
  22. NoutheticCounselor

    NoutheticCounselor Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks everyone! I ordered the set this afternoon.
     
  23. Krak3n

    Krak3n Puritan Board Freshman

    This is a solid answer. If you are still looking for another commentary to fill your shelves once your book budget resets get Poole.
     
  24. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    It's a must, if solely from the fact that his father came from a village 2 miles from my home! His father Phillip maybe excelled him although never writing a commentary, but his sweetness is obvious in the Banner of Truth publication of father and son.
     
  25. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    One point that's often overlooked for Matthew Henry is that he was a master of English, as well as a helpful expositor of the text. He has style and a knack for very pointed statements that are easy to remember. Not many commentators have been good writers, and Henry is probably chief among the few who are.
     
  26. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Matthew Poole is pithy. Matthew Henry is the master of a well turned phrase.
     
  27. Clark-Tillian

    Clark-Tillian Puritan Board Freshman

    Purchase asap. No reservations whatsoever. Not just a classic, but required reading.
     
  28. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Just don't purchase it today! ;)
     
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