Spurgeon's Commentary on Great Chapters of the Bible

By Tom Carter, ed.
Grand Rapids : Kregel (1998). 336 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Dennis Swanson
10.2 (Fall 1999) : 285-285

Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-92) is widely regarded as the greatest preacher in the history of the English-speaking church. He was typically a “textual” preacher, not a systematic expositor of the Bible. In fact in his enormous written corpus Spurgeon produced only two biblical commentaries: his seven volumes on the Psalms and a brief commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, which his wife and personal secretary actually completed after his death.

Spurgeon’s sermons were published weekly and compiled in annual volumes. Tom Carter, who previously edited a compilation of Spurgeon quotations in Spurgeon at His Best (Baker, 1988), has brought together the little-known biblical expositions of Spurgeon. Spurgeon often gave these brief verse-by-verse expositions, which appear interspersed with the sermons in volumes 38-63 of The Metropolitan Pulpit (MTP), on a weekday gathering or as an “aside” on a Sunday service.

In this book the editor has assigned titles to the expositions not originally from Spurgeon (9) and has also edited the Victorian English of Spurgeon to update it, as well as substituting the New International Version for the King James Version of Spurgeon’s day (ibid.). There are expositions on 31 passages of Scripture, ranging from G enesis 1 to Revelation 22. They were selected by the editor as the “great chapters” of the Bible. He admits that the selections are subjective on his part, but nonetheless this compilation is a delight for those who enjoy Spurgeon. The expositions are not purely exegetical, but they demonstrate, as one friend stated, that “his exegesis was seldom wrong. He spared no pains to be sure of the exact meaning of the text” (Spurgeon, Autobiography 2:346). The researcher of Spurgeon will have one complaint. Carter has failed to give the original MTP citation for each exposition, a small but annoying omission. Despite this flaw the reviewer enthusiastically recommends this work.