Sunday, November 8, 2015

Matthew Henry, Servant of God


Perhaps some of you are familiar with Matthew Henry's six-volume commentary on the Bible.

Matthew Henry's Commentary
A Remarkable Work

"Matthew Henry was born near Wales on October 18, 1662 and was primarily home-educated by his father, Rev. Philip Henry, and also at the Thomas Doolittle academy from 1680-1682. Henry first started studying law in 1686, but instead of pursuing a career in law he began to preach in his neighborhood. 

"After the declaration of liberty of conscience by James II in 1687, he was privately ordained in London, and on June 2, 1687, he began his regular ministry as non-conformist pastor of a Presbyterian congregation at Chester. He remained in this position for 25 years. After declining several times offers from London congregations, he finally accepted a call to Hackney, London, and began his ministry there May 18, 1712, shortly before his death. 

photo from

Again, from

"Henry's reputation rests upon his renowned commentary, An Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (1708-10, known also as Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible). He lived to complete it only as far as to the end of the Acts, but after his death other like-minded authors prepared the remainder from Henry's manuscripts. This work was long celebrated as the best English commentary for devotional purposes and the expanded edition was initially published in 1896. Instead of critical exposition, Henry focuses on practical suggestion, and his commentaries contains rich stores of truths. There is also a smaller devotional commentary on the Bible from Henry known as Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary."

More recently, I discovered a Matthew Henry book at Amazon, 'A Method for Prayer.'  I want to include a few excerpts from that book:

"When I had finished the third volume of the Exposition of the Bible, which is now in the press; before I proceed, as I intend, in an humble dependence on the divine Providence and Grace, to the fourth volume, I was willing to take a little time from that work to this poor performance, in hopes it might be of some service to the generation of them that seek God, that seek the face of the God of Jacob; and if any good Christians receive assistance from it in their devotions, I hope they will not deny me one request, which is, that they will pray for me, that I may obtain mercy of the Lord, to be found among the faithful watchmen on Jerusalem's walls, who never hold their peace day or night, but give themselves to the Lord and prayer, that at length I may finish my course with joy."

Also, there's an online 'Method for Prayer' website

Basically, in his 'method for prayer,' Matthew Henry prays Scripture. Note above that there are several types of prayer, beginning with Adoration. How often, when we pray, do we simply jump in with our urgent requests, as though God were some sort of good fairy, eager to grant our every wish, rather than spending time with God, Maker of Heaven and Earth, in adoration. I believe there are fifteen pages in the online version that come under the heading 'Adoration.' This is a wonderful resource, as is the printed book, although I prefer the book because it contains the Scripture references from which the prayers are drawn.

From the book again:

"Prayer is the solemn and religious offering up of devout acknowledgments and desires to God, or a sincere representation of holy affections, with a design to give unto God the glory due unto his Name thereby, and to obtain from him promised favours, and both through the Mediator. Our English word Prayer is too strait, for that properly signifies Petition or Request; whereas humble adorations of God, and thanksgivings to him, are as necessary in prayer as any other part of it. The Greek word Proseuche, from Euche, is a vow directed to God. The Latin word Votum is used for prayer. Jonah's mariners, with their sacrifices, made vows; for prayer is to move or oblige ourselves, not to move or oblige God."

"...for prayer is to move or oblige ourselves, 
not to move or oblige God."


I thank God for Matthew Henry and the gifts he has given the Church in his faithfulness to God.

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

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Sandi said...

I wonder if he ever thought we'd still be reading this in 2015!

Linda said...

Beautiful...I wonder the same, wonder if he thought we'd be reading this in 2015? Blessings

eileeninmd said...

Good morning, Beautiful post and thanks for sharing the words of Matthew Henry!
Happy Sunday, enjoy your day!

Lowcarb team member said...

Many thanks for sharing these words Judy.
May you have a peaceful Sunday.

All the best Jan

Terri D said...

I echo Sandi's comment! Interesting post, and I was not familiar with him. Thanks for the "something" new I learned today!

podso said...

Those commentaries are on my husband's shelves, but I learned this method of prayer from a small booklet by Martin Luther. I will have to look for that website.

Coloring Outside the Lines said...

Thank you for sharing, Judy- have a blessed week!

Susie said...

Judy, You are so wise. Some times I think I don't really know how to I end up more like talking with God. Blessings, xoxo,Susie

Denise said...

thanks for sharing.

genie said...

Thanks for sharing your gluten free recipe. I will try this to take to my daughter’s at Thanksgiving. It looks sososo good.

Christine said...

Another wonderful post, Judy & again bringing before us the words of a most godly man. We treasure Matthew Henry's Commentary & it was on e of the first gifts I gave my mother when I started earning a wage! We still share them & he is full of wisdom. I will try to find his book on prayer. Thanks for pointing it out!


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