Dead Men’s Brains

In order to be able to expound the Scriptures, and as an aid to your pulpit studies, you will need to be familiar with the commentators: a glorious army, let me tell you, whose acquaintance will be your delight and profit. Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines and learned men who have laboured before you in the field of exposition. If you are of that opinion, pray remain so, for you are not worth the trouble of conversion, and like a little coterie who think with you, would resent the attempt as an insult to your infallibility.

–Charles Spurgeon

Many feel that it’s ‘just the Holy Spirit and me’. Spurgeon would obviously disagree.

That’s just a quote from the document I mention below. What I really want to say is that, along with many of you, the main reason I keep using e-Sword Bible software even though I have the much more robust Bibleworks (v.8 reviewed here), is because of the commentaries freely available and easy to use within the program. There are Calvin, Henry, Clark, and Gill among others available.

Why use old commentaries?

  1. Free
  2. As part of a program like e-Sword, it’s easy to look up what many different commentators say, linked to each verse or section
  3. If you can’t afford commentaries, or at least not as many as you’d like, these gifted men along with a couple of study Bibles can go a long way
  4. As Charles Spurgeon says, “The temptations of our times lie rather in empty pretensions to novelty of sentiment, than in a slavish following of accepted guides. A respectable acquaintance with the opinions of the giants of the past, might have saved many an erratic thinker from wild interpretations and outrageous inferences.”

I found this nice document called Commenting and Commentaries by Spurgeon. He writes short biographies on many of the commentators that you can find available for e-Sword (some of which are found outside the e-Sword site–like Calvin–but they are legal). He then writes about how to use study aides, especially commentaries. I would think that budding preachers and all Bible studiers would benefit.

By the way, the subject line of this post was found in the document by Spurgeon.

Spurgeon Portriat

2 Responses to “Dead Men’s Brains”

  1. 1 Theodore A. Jones

    And isn’t it true that the result is that only a few find the gate? Commentaries are really not worth the paper they have been printed on.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Not to worry, these are in electronic format.

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