on Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

I mentioned these volumes in an earlier post. The books arrived just the other day and I decided to take a quick look at them this morning.

It turns out that these volumes are not intended as commentaries but as devotional expositions of the Gospels, about 12 verses at a time. Ryle wrote them with the view that they might be something read aloud with three possible audiences in view:

He hoped that the works might be “suitable for use at family prayers.”

He also hoped that they may prove “an aid to those who visit the sick and the poor,” commenting that “There is reason to believe that proper books for reading on such occasions are much wanted.”

And last, he trusted that the works might be profitable “for private reading, as a companion to the Gospels.”

On the strength of the first reading (the genealogy of Mt 1.1-17), I would say that Ryle accomplished his purpose. These books appear to be well worth having especially for devotional purposes from a man who doesn’t offer froth in his writing.

Here is a comment on the character of the men in the list and the responsibility of parents to pray for their children:

Observe how many godly parents in this catalogue had wicked and ungodly sons. The names of Roboam, and Joram, and Simon, and Jechonias, should teach us humbling lessons. They had all pious fathers. But they were all wicked men. Grace does not run in families. It needs something more than good examples and good advice to make us children of God. They that are born again are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1.13.) Praying parents should pray night and day, that their children may be born of the Spirit. [Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, vol 1, pp. 3-4]

Having made the purchase, I thought it a good idea to let you know what it was I had recommended sight unseen. I still recommend it! I am thinking these will be good for me and also for my family as we use them in ‘family prayers’, just as Ryle hoped.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3