Joseph Parker (1830-1902) was an English Congregational minister known for his vigorous and extemporaneous preaching, which typically avoided spending time on academic issues such as textual criticism. His 27 volume commentary was published from 1886 through 1898 while he was the minister of City Temple in London. It is subtitled Discourses Upon Holy Scripture.
"The most outstanding preacher of his time." —Margaret Bywater (biographer).
"Dr. Parker occupies a lonely place among the preachers of our day. His position among preachers is the same as that of a poet among ordinary men of letters." —Ian Maclaren (aka John Watson).
"Dr. Parker's track is his own and the jewels he lets fall in his progress are from his own casket." —C. H. Spurgeon.
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This is not a Bible Commentary in the usual sense of that term. It is a pastor's commentary upon such portions of Holy Scripture as are of obvious and immediate importance to the growth of the soul in Divine wisdom... Instead of going minutely through any book verse by verse, the first object will be to discover its governing idea or principal purpose, and to make that clear by taking out of the book, say twelve, twenty, or thirty instances most strikingly illustrative of the writer's intention.
The purpose of the People's Bible is pastoral; it aims so to bring all readers under the moral sovereignty of the sacred Book as to arm them against temptation, enrich them with solid comfort, and fortify them with the wisdom of God.
We assume an immense responsibility in claiming that any book is a final and authoritative standard in faith and morals. We place the book itself in an awful position. We separate it from all other books; we make sceptical criticism a profane offence, and devout obedience an essential element of spiritual character. The mind has simply to receive, the will has simply to obey, the heart has simply to trust. The book is to us verily as God himself... The book enlarges like a heightening sky. You also know my meaning when I say that there is only one book in the world which can prove the inspiration of the Bible, and that is the Bible itself. Possibly in our early reading of the Scriptures we put ourselves into a false relation to the book by taking with us some preconceived notion or theory of inspiration, and trying to make the Bible exactly fit our mechanical orthodoxy. This was like timing the sun by our chronometers, instead of timing our chronometers by the sun... Inspiration, like its Author, is a term which has no equivalent in other words and therefore can have no complete theory.
...The Bible addresses every aspect and every necessity of my nature; it is my own biography; I seem to have read it in some other world; we are old friends; the breathing of Eternity is in us both, and we have happened together, to our mutual joy, on this rough shore of time. I never know how great a Book it is until I try to do without it, then the heart aches; then the eyes are put out with the great tears of grief; then the house is no home of mine; then life sinks under an infinite load of weariness. In great moods of moral exultation I cannot stoop to the unworthy fray of intellectual encounter, to compare theories, to discuss contradictory scepticisms, and to institute comparisons between the cleverness which baffles me and the faith which impels me to service...
This text is part of the SwordSearcher Deluxe Study Library.
Module type: Commentary
Module abbreviation: Parker