Posted On July 7, 2016

Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews (Charles Spurgeon, Edited by Elliot Rietzma)

by | Jul 7, 2016 | Theology, Featured

Anyone who has read the sermons of Charles Spurgeon knows that every jot and tittle of Spurgeon’s work is a warmth to the soul, pointing us to the glory of Christ. Spurgeon was certainly not a polemicist, nor a scholarly exegete, but his ability to devotionally preach through texts with robust theology and application is unique and likely to never be replicated again. I remember visiting Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Spurgeon Library for the first time and was absolutely stunned at the sight of it all. More than anything, I was in awe of his famous pulpit, from which he delivered many of the sermons we’ve grown to cherish.

Modern pastors and readers who desire to become acquainted with Spurgeon’s work will find Lexham Press’ Spurgeon Commentary series to be extremely beneficial. Elliot Rietzma and his team have done a wonderful job of climbing the Everest of Spurgeon material out there. The genius of this project and the research behind it is that it has assimilated all of the major material out there, compiling it into a handy and easy commentary that highlights the best of Spurgeon in each verse. Instead of needing dozens of various volumes and sources to gather Spurgeon’s thoughts fully, this commentary set minimizes the searching for the reader, which is a huge advantage.

In the Hebrews volume, we find over 450 pages of commentary, and in typical Spurgeon fashion, it is full of reflective and provoking exposition. Each chapter, addressing smaller sections of Hebrews, also provides multiple illustrations used by Spurgeon in his sermons on the relevant texts. There are also application sections to end each chapter, helping the preacher gather a sense of how to drive the text home. Spurgeon is remembered for his constant focus on equipping “the village preacher” to teach the text, and this section proves very helpful.

There is only one drawback to the Spurgeon Commentary I can find, but I can’t hold this to them too much. With this modern update and revision of Spurgeon’s writings, we see that Spurgeon’s language itself is updated. For the most part, things haven’t changed from his normal voice and writing, but there is a departure from words like “thee” and “thou.” I personally prefer to read Spurgeon in his usual Old English, but my guess is that many people think otherwise. If this decision to update Spurgeon’s language by Lexham gets this series into the hands of new readers, which is its likely intent, it is overall worth it!

Spurgeon is known mostly for his quips and quotes, a few of which from this volume I will add below:

“Never be afraid of your Bibles. If there is a text of Scripture you dare not meet, humble yourself till you can. If your creed and Scripture do not agree, cut your creed to pieces, but make it agree with this book.” (97)

“Holiness of characters follows upon holiness of design.” (37)

“If it was intimated to you that tomorrow morning you must go out to be burned to death in the great square of the city, or to be torn to pieces in the amphitheater by wild beasts, would you be quite sure that the promise of God was faithful and true? Yet, beloved, that is the kind of faith we must have, for God deserves it.” (305)

Overall, this resource is a helpful study of the book of Hebrews. I recommend this set for those looking for an introduction to Spurgeon’s works, or a more compact resource of his biblical expositions.

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