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John: Vol 3
'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 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 these volumes Ryle shows again that, as in all his writing and preaching, he was first and foremost a pastor, and 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 his mind’.