This week, I added another book from an “old, dead, wise guy” to my shelf. The High Calling, by John Henry Jowett, is comprised of a series of devotional meditations on the text of St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians. This pseudo-commentary, of sorts, is filled with insightful declarations and articulations of the gospel which are customary when reading any of Jowett’s repertoire. Indeed, I’d say that of all the “old, dead, wise guys” I’ve found of late, John Henry Jowett has likely been the most impactful. His sermons are always engaging, enriching, and enlightening, weaving together a depth of feeling and an affecting perspective on the Scripture which captures the sense in invigorating fashion.
If I had one piece of advice for preachers or Bible teachers, it’d be this: read more dead guys. The works of “old, dead, wise guys” stand the test of time for reason. Their insistence on Scripture alone as their authority is unmatched by any modern author. For anyone tasked with expositing the Word of God, regardless of context or venue, make it a habit to grab the older book over the newer one (you know, after you’ve spent time in the Good Book first). Cling to the timeless truth of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)
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