Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of John
Volume 1 shown. This is a 3-volume set
“The Gospel of St. John, rightly interpreted, is the best and simplest answer to those who profess to admire a vague and indistinct Christianity.” There were many such in J. C. Ryle’s day, as in our own, and these final three volumes of his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels series provide a detailed commentary upon, and ‘right interpretation’ of the fourth Gospel.
Originally published between published between 1869 and 1873, these volumes differ from those previously published in the series, in that they contain ‘full explanatory notes on every verse of the portions expounded, forming, in fact, a complete Commentary’.
The long gap between the publication of Ryle’s notes on Luke (1858) and the appearance of the first volume of John (1869) is explained by the loss of Ryle’s second wife, Jessie, in 1860), his being responsible for the care of his five children (the eldest being just thirteen years of age at the time), and his move to Helmingham to the much larger parish of Stradbroke in 1861, with the greater burden of work that entailed.
In his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels Ryle once again shows that, as in all his writing and preaching, he was first and foremost a pastor. As J. I. Packer has pointed out, ‘alongside the question “Is it true?” the question “What effect will this have on ordinary people?” was always in Ryle’s mind’.
About the Author
In 1841, Ryle was ordained as a minister in the Church of England. In his first position in a rural parish he developed the plain and direct style of communication that would mark his future ministry. He served at several churches for the next forty years, during which time he wrote hundreds of evangelistic tracts. He was a wildly popular writer. His tracts sold more than 12 million copies in his lifetime, and were eventually translated into about a dozen European and Asian languages.
While his ministry flourished, Ryle’s home life was challenging. In 1844, he married his first wife, who died in 1847. He married again in 1849. The couple was happy, but his wife’s health was poor, so the pastor seldom travelled and practically raised his children alone. When his second wife died in 1860, he became a single father with five children between 2 and 14 years old.
Despite these hardships, Ryle became a leader among the evangelical clergy in his day. In 1880, he was appointed the first bishop of the newly formed diocese of Liverpool. Because the diocese was new, it had no system of leadership, no formal administration. During his tenure as Bishop of Liverpool, Ryle raised enough funds to build 90 new houses of worship, ordained over 500 deacons, 500 ministers, and at least 45 salaried lay Scripture readers and 31 Bible women. He founded the Lay Helpers Association, an organization that oversaw Sunday schools, Bible classes, mission services, and cared for sick.
Other Expository Thoughts Volumes and further writings:
J. C. Ryle also wrote:
- Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Matthew
- Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Mark
- (2 volumes) Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke
- Practical Religion
- Old Paths
- Christian Leaders of the 18th Century
- Warnings to the Churches
- Thoughts for Young Men
- The Duties of Parents