Expository Thoughts on Mark (first published 1857)
by J. C. Ryle
If you love to study Christian history, like to read classic books (like I do), and treasure old wisdoms, then you got to at least know who is J. C. Ryle. Bishop Ryle reasoned and observed the great need of his own parish to read and understand the Scripture, thus, he prepared Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [first of this series is Matthew, then Mark, and two volumes each for Luke and John] for them and then because of its undiminished popularity and usefulness, the books have encircled the world for more than a century.
“If the best way to understand the Christian Faith is to read the Gospels,” the back cover explained, “then the next books in order of importance have to be those which aid in the understanding of those Gospels.” I couldn’t agree more! I love to read commentaries on the Bible – the Gospels especially – and I wish that every Christian ministers and workers devour good commentaries to aid them in Bible Studies, preaching and teaching. Oh, may we pray for the spirit of Ezra who “had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach [God’s] statues and rules in Israel”! (Ezra 7:10). Then revival will come to Malaysian churches!
Let me come back to Ryle. This ‘plain and pointed’ words are a great stimulus to the reading of the Bible itself. But why called it ‘Expository Thoughts’ and not ‘Commentaries’? Ryle reminds us on the preface, “The readers must not expect to find in these ‘Expository Thoughts,’ a learned, critical commentary on the Gospels… [it is] a continuous series of short practical expositions.” And he prayed that “my chief desire, if I know anything of my heart, in this and all my writings, is to lead my readers to Christ and faith in Him, to repentance and holiness, to the Bible and prayer.” As I begun reading this book, I said… amen :)
[P.s: This book was meant to be a devotional book, to lead us to the Book, and to be read aloud. So far, I didn’t see any Christian bookstores sell this book, so, if you would like to read it, I suggest that you go to the local church library or visit seminary schools]
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.