The Value of Biography

The best way to learn about leadership is by reading good biography.

In Seven Leaders: Preachers and Pastors (Banner of Truth, 2017), his most recent volume, Murray presents shorter biographical reflections on the following Christian pastors and preachers: John Elias, Andrew Bonar, Archibald Brown, Kenneth MacRae, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, W. J. Grier, and John MacArthur. Much like his previous volume entitled Heroes, this book combines a variety of biographical sketches from different centuries and settings.

 

Few kinds of writing have the potential to inspire and instruct as historical accounts of wise and godly leaders of the church. For such biographies to be spiritually helpful, a wise and discerning biographer is needed to selectively weave biographical material into an engaging narrative that instructs even as it engages and inspires. As Charles Spurgeon wrote in 1870, “The value of a biography depends far less upon its subject than upon its author.”

Iain Murray is one of the wisest and most discerning biographers of evangelical leaders today. Murray has written full-length biographies of Archibald Brown, Jonathan Edwards, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Macarthur, A. W. Pink, J. C. Ryle, and John Wesley. In Seven Leaders: Preachers and Pastors (Banner of Truth, 2017), his most recent volume, Murray presents shorter biographical reflections on the following Christian pastors and preachers: John Elias, Andrew Bonar, Archibald Brown, Kenneth MacRae, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, W. J. Grier, and John MacArthur. Much like his previous volume entitled Heroes, this book combines a variety of biographical sketches from different centuries and settings.

What unites these biographical sketches is Murray’s underlying concern for today’s church. Murray originally delivered many of these addresses to theological students who were preparing for pastoral ministry, and he did so with a desire to point out modern defections from views and practices that were characteristic during times of greater biblical faithfulness and spiritual vitality. Murray believes that church leaders today should listen and take counsel from godly voices that are out of step with much that goes on in the evangelical world today.

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