So what of this man for us? Is he just another superhero of the faith who can never be emulated in today’s world? What encouragements can we receive as we begin another new year?
Many years ago, I wandered into a Christian book store and laid my eyes on something wonderful – a half price sticker!! Not knowing the treasure I had purchased, I hauled home Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, and since that day, I’ve used this mammoth book with the tiny print to prepare countless Bible studies.
Today, I want to share with you a small window into the life of Matthew Henry based upon several biographies I have read.
He was born on October 18, 1662 in Wales, and his father, Philip, is also a well-known Puritan pastor. Just a few months prior to Matthew’s birth, Philip was ejected from the priesthood with 2,000 other “dissenters” because he rejected the Act of Uniformity and refused to use the Book of Common Prayer.
One biography notes that he was a “frail child, but spiritually robust,” and his conversion is dated to age 10. He was educated by his father and other tutors and then studied under Thomas Doolittle and Thomas Vincent. He began studying law but eventually was ordained at age 25.
His life was short, living only to age 52, and was filled with much grief. His first wife died of smallpox after childbirth. Interestingly, his first wife’s mother was much against this marriage as she thought her daughter should marry a more important person.