Studying the Bible with the Covenanters (Part 2)
By Matthew Vogan
Last time we explained why you should read the commentaries produced by the Covenanters. They are practical, pastoral, simple, concise, clear, contextual and popular. They were highly esteemed by Charles Spurgeon in his Commenting and Commentaries. Some of these books are out of print but it is still possible to purchase them new or used from bookshops such as the Free Presbyterian Bookroom, Glasgow* or James Dickson Books.** It is also possible to get facsimiles of the originals through Amazon but they may be difficult to read.
The Ten Commandments
James Durham – A Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments (Naphtali Press). This volume is out of print but stock may be obtained from UK bookshops or at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/naphtalipress
Spurgeon: “Whatever Durham has written is very precious. He has the pen of a ready writer, and indites good matter.”
John Owen: “In particular instances, cases relating to daily practice are so distinctly proposed, stated and determined, as that the whole is a complete Christian directory in our walking before God in all duties of obedience. Let the pious reader single out any one duty or head of duties to make his trial upon, and, if I greatly mistake not, he will discern with what wisdom, and from what deep experience, his plain directions are managed, and do proceed.”
James Durham – Lectures on the Book of Job (Naphtali Press)
Spurgeon: “It is certain to be good, for Durham is always admirable.”
George Hutcheson – An Exposition of the Book of Job (Amazon facsimile).
Spurgeon: “Whenever the student sees a commentary by Hutcheson let him buy it, for we know of no author who is more thoroughly helpful to the minister of the Word. He distils the text, and gives his readers the quintessence, ready for use.”
David Dickson – Psalms (Banner of Truth)
Spurgeon: “A rich volume, dropping fatness. Invaluable to the preacher. Having read and re-read it, we can speak of its holy savour and suggestiveness. We commend it with much fervour.”
Song of Songs
James Durham – Song of Solomon (Banner of Truth). Out of print but available second-hand.
Spurgeon: “Durham is always good, and he is at his best upon the Canticles. He gives us the essence of the good matter. For practical use this work is perhaps more valuable than any other Key to the Song.”
Alexander Nisbet – Ecclesiastes (Banner of Truth). Out of print but available second-hand.
Spurgeon: “One of those solid works which learned Scotch divines of the seventeenth century have left us in considerable numbers. In our judgment it is as heavy as it is weighty.”
James Durham, The Marrow of the Gospel in seventy-two Sermons on the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah (Naphtali Press). Out of print but stock may be obtained from UK bookshops or at
Spurgeon: “This is marrow indeed. We need say no more – Durham is a prince among spiritual expositors.”
The Minor Prophets
George Hutcheson – The Minor Prophets (Sovereign Grace Publishers).
Spurgeon: “Get it. Hutcheson is always rich. He resembles Dickson.”
“Whenever the student sees a Commentary by Hutcheson let him buy it, for we know of no author who is more thoroughly helpful to the minister of the Word. He distils the text, and gives his readers the quintessence, ready for use.”
Note that the Sovereign Grace Publishers reprint only contains 6 of the minor prophets
David Dickson – Matthew (Banner of Truth). Out of print but available second-hand. Electronic versions are available on kindle and quintapress.com
Spurgeon: “A perfect gem. The work is, to men of our school, more suggestive of sermons than almost any other we have met with.”
George Hutcheson – John (Banner of Truth and Sovereign Grace Publishers).
Spurgeon: “Excellent; beyond all praise. It is a full-stored treasury of sound theology, holy thought, and marrowy doctrine.”
All of the Epistles
David Dickson – The Epistles (Romans-Jude) (Banner of Truth). Note that the Banner of Truth reprint contains Dickson’s commentary on fewer books than the original.
Spurgeon: “Dickson is a writer after our own heart. For preachers he is a great ally. There is nothing brilliant or profound; but everything is clear and well arranged, and the unction runs down like the oil from Aaron’s head. In this volume the observations are brief.”
John Brown of Wamphray – Romans (Amazon facsimile).
Spurgeon: “By a Calvinist of the old school. Heavy, perhaps; but precious.”
Galatians – Thessalonians
Fergusson, James – (Galatians – 2 Thessalonians). (Sovereign Grace Publishers).
Spurgeon: “He who possesses this work is rich. The author handles his matter in the same manner as Hutcheson and Dickson, and he is of their class – a grand, gracious, savoury divine.”
Dickson, David – A Short Explanation of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Solid Ground Christian Books).
Spurgeon: “We need say no more than – get it, and you will find abundance of suggestions for profitable trains of thought.”
This is a different commentary from the commentary on Hebrews in his Commentary on all the Epistles.
1 & 2 Peter
Alexander Nisbet – 1 & 2 Peter (Banner of Truth).
Spurgeon: “A judicious and gracious Scotch commentary, after the style of Dickson and Hutcheson.”
James Durham – Commentary Upon the Book of Revelation (Old Paths). Out of print but stock may be obtained from UK bookshops
Spurgeon: “After all that has been written, it would not be easy to find a more sensible and instructive work than this old-fashioned exposition … the mystery of the gospel fills it with sweet savour.”
*133 Woodlands Road,
Glasgow, G3 6LE,
0141 332 1760
**James A. Dickson Books
16 Edward Street, Kilsyth
Scotland, G65 9DL
01236 827 978