May 26, 2024

Matthew Henry


In the Genesis account of creation, God made Adam from the dust of the earth. God then caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, took one of his ribs, and fashioned Eve. There has been plenty of ink spilled on the meaning of Adam’s rib used in creating Eve. Consider what Matthew Henry (1662-1714) wrote of this rib story in his Genesis commentary, “The woman was created of a rib out of the side of Adam, not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled by him, but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near to his heart to be beloved.” When Matthew sought permission to court Katherine, her mother objected, desiring her daughter to marry someone with more financial stability and social standing, not a nonconformist minister like Matthew. They persevered and married but the union was short-lived, as Katherine died in childbirth and their daughter 15 months later. Matthew expressed his grief, “I know nothing that could support me under such a loss as this, but the good hope is that she has gone to heaven and that, in a little time, I shall follow her thither.” Katherine’s mother later had a change of heart and put forward her relative Mary as a possible match for her forlorn son-in-law. Matthew pursued the lead and they eventually married. She gave birth to a son and eight daughters (three of whom died in infancy). Matthew was an expository preacher, meaning he preached through the Bible verse by verse in the years he served two churches in England. His practice of preaching systematically through Scripture provided the exegetical material needed for his massive six-volume Commentary of the Whole Bible. He also wrote A Method of Prayer as an aid in utilizing Scripture as a means of prayer. One of his morning prayers follows here:

Lord, prepare us for all the events of this day, for we don’t know what a day will bring forth.
Cause us to stand complete in your whole will;
to deny ourselves, to take up our cross daily,
and to follow Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Collection of Prayers, Modified from the Miscellaneous Writings of Matthew Henry (1714).
Stanford Murrell, A Man Worthy of Remembrance: A Brief Biography of Matthew Henry

Rev. Dr. Peter James served 42 years as the senior of Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, VA — 21 years in the 20th century and 21 years in the 21st century. He retired in 2021 and now serves as Pastor-in-Residence at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Even as a pastor, prayer came slowly to Pete. Read Pete’s story.