They Still Speak: J. C. Ryle

I want to start a new series of posts titled “They Still Speak” which will feature authors I recommend. These authors will all have one thing in common…they are deceased. And though they are dead they still speak to us today with relevance and power. The first one I’d like to feature is J. C. Ryle (1816-1900).

Ryle writes with clarity, simplicity, and force. He is not complicated but he has depth. He shoots straight. Unlike a lot of writers from days past, he is easy to understand. One of the things I especially like about Ryle is that he was not afraid to write a booklet instead of a full book. It has been my persuasion for some time now that a lot of the books on my shelf should have been published as booklets instead of full books. Like the old albums from the 70s and 80s which really had only two good songs on them and the rest of the LP was just filler, a lot of today’s books are great for a couple of chapters and then the rest is filler.

Here are a few of his books/booklets that you might want to check out:

Thoughts for Young Men – small book with great wisdom for men of all ages.

A Call to Prayer – booklet

Simplicity in Preaching – booklet

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels – 4-volume commentary

Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J. C. Ryle – the first 1/3 of this book is a biography of Ryle by J. I. Packer, the rest of the book is a reprint of Ryle’s classic work, Holiness: It’s Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots.

Eric Kowalker has done us a great service by producing a website titled “J. C. Ryle Quotes” and a J. C. Ryle Facebook page. I highly commend both. Erik also offers a daily quote email subscription. I like getting these well-chosen quotes in my inbox each day. On a side note, Erik is a fellow Bible design geek and a great Bible photographer whose personal website frequently features outstanding photographs of his Bibles.


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