Why I Love Matthew Henry’s Commentary

When I was younger, just entering my master’s work, I didn’t much care for Matthew Henry’s Commentary.  It wasn’t the archaic language; my first real Bible, when I was merely ten or eleven, was a King James at my own request (though I now use the ESV predominantly).  My objections weren’t primarily theological.  To be sure my theology was pretty messed up then, resembling a bad tasting casserole made from all the left over bits and pieces thrown in by professors, pastors and cultural icons (many well meaning, some even knowledgable). My issue with MH was that I simply didn’t get him. I understood the words, but not what he was getting at.

Now, after almost fourteen years of ministry I confess that Matthew Henry is one of my favorite commentators.  Again, not for the language (though it is beautiful, I am by no means a KJV only guy) nor for the theology (I don’t always agree with his insights, but as Dr. Robert Stein has observed, if your criteria for a good theologian is someone you always agree with, then the only good theologian you’ll ever know is yourself).

I love Matthew Henry’s work because it comes from a pastor’s heart.  I study his works not so much to discover something to teach or preach to my flock, but to receive edification and discipline from a trusted mentor.

As something of a side note, while I do have MH’s unabridged work available in my Bible software, I also own the collection pictured above and prefer to read from and make notes on the printed page.

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