The Life and Times of Jesus Christ

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“In Christ there is a full exhibition of God.”

“I am a child at His feet, seeking simply to learn of Him.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Order of Contents  26+

Best  4
Great  5
More  19
On Christ Generally
Special Topics:

The Incarnation  1
The Inner Life of Christ  1
Jesus as a Pastor  2
The Baptism of Christ  1
The Temptation of Christ  8
Beatitudes  4
Sermon on the Mount  13+
The Lord’s Prayer  63+
The Miracles of Christ  7
The Parables of Christ  8+
Transfiguration  1
The Passion, Death, Resurrection & Ascension of Christ  4
The Passion & Death of Christ  7
The Descent into ‘Sheol’
The Resurrection of Christ  3
The 40 Days  2
The Ascension  1

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The Best Works on the Life and Times of Christ

Devotional & Practical, 1600’s

Hall, Joseph – Contemplations on the Historical Parts of the New Testament  d. 1656  The work only covers the life of Christ (not the whole N.T.).

Hall was an influential reformed Anglican bishop.  These devotional and practical contemplations savor of deep spirituality and are very insightful.  One of a kind and one of the best.

***  ‘Need I commend Bishop Hall’s Contemplations to your affectionate attention?  What wit!  What sound sense!  What concealed learning!  His style is as pithy and witty as that of Thomas Fuller, and it has a sacred unction about it to which Fuller has no pretension.’  ‘The work can be readily procured; but if its price were raised in proportion to its real value, it would become one of the most costly books extant.’ – Spurgeon

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Scholarly, 1800’s

Edersheim, Alfred

The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, vol. 1 (Prolegomena up to the end of John the Baptist), 2 (From the death of John the Baptist to the Ascension)

Edersheim (1825-1889) was raised an orthodox Jew, became converted to Christ partially through the influence of John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan and entered into the ministry of the Free Church of Scotland.  Later he would join the Church of England, becoming one of the premier scholars of his time on 1st century studies.

Edershiem spent 7 years in seclusion writing this work; it is by far and away the best orthodox ‘Life and Times of Christ’ that there is.  Read it cover to cover!  

Use the Table of Contents, vol. 1, 2 to see what he has to say on a passage of interest to you.

Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ  n.d.  360 pp.

The Temple: its Ministry and its Services, as they were at the time of Jesus Christ  1881  390 pp.

This work is scholarly, but readable, about the historical details of the temple as it was renovated by Herod in the 1st century, which was slightly different than as prescribed in the books of Chronicles.

***‘This will supply the student with all that he needs upon the subject in hand.’ – Spurgeon

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“Oh!  it is miserably little that I know of Jesus Christ – miserably little.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Great Works on the Life and Times of Christ

See also in the Commentaries on the Four Gospels page: Stier, Stock and Williams; as well as New Testament Background generally.

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Andrews, Samuel – The Life of our Lord upon the Earth, Considered in its Historical, Chronological and Geographical Relations  1863  645 pp.

“It deals with the life of the Lord on the earth in its chronological, topographical, and historical relations only…  [it] assumes that they are genuine historical documents, and true statements of facts; and deals with them as such.” – Preface

***  “A good book for a student to read through before taking up larger works.  It is a standard work.” – Spurgeon

Farrar, F.W. – Life of Christ

Farrar (1831–1903) was a scholar and clergyman in the Church of England.  He has some liberal tendencies; read with caution.  Edersheim corrects him on numerous points.

***  “THE work upon the subject.  Fresh and full.  The price is very high and yet the sale has been enormous.” – Spurgeon

Geikie, John Cunningham – The Life and Words of Christ, vol. 1 (Intro & to Opening of Galilean Ministry), 2 (to the Ascension)  1877  620 & 700 pp.

Geikie (1824 – 1 April 1906)

‘One of the best religious writers of the age.’ – Spurgeon

Franz Delitzsch placed this work in ‘the highest rank.’

‘We can never know too much of that literature which throws side-lights on the Bible, and which unfolds the customs of the people, difficult allusions,historical coincidences, geographical details.  Geikie’s Hours with the Bible; Kitto’s Daily Illustrations, edited by Dr. Porter; Dr. Smith’s Bible Dictionary; books like these are invaluable….’ – F.B. Meyer

Kitto, John – ‘The Life and Death of our Lord’  being vol. 7 of Daily Bible Illustrations: being Original Readings for a Year, on subjects relating to Sacred History, Biography, Geography, Antiquities and Theology

***  ‘Abounds in instructive matter.’  ‘They are not exactly a commentary, but what marvelous expositions you have there!  You have reading more interesting than any novel that was ever written, and as instructive as the heaviest theology.  The matter is quite attractive and fascinating, and yet so weighty, that the man who shall study those eight volumes thoroughly, will not fail to read his Bible intelligently and with growing interest.’ – Spurgeon

Lange, J.P. – The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ, vol. 1 (Prolegomena up to beginning of his public ministry), 2 (Public reception to Sanhedrin determining his death), 3 (Palm Sunday to the Ascension,& Jesus in Mt.), 4 (Jesus in Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn)  1864

Lange is known for his well-done editorship of Lange’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, which is a very good, conservative commentary.

***  “We constantly read Lange, and though frequently differing from him, we are more and more grateful for so much thoughtful teaching.” – Spurgeon

Schurer, Emil – A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, vol. 1 (Political History, 175 – 4 BC), 2 (4 BC – 135 AD), 3 (Culture, Constitution, Priesthood, Scribism), 4 (Pharisees & Sadducees, School & Synagogue, Life under thee Law, The Messianic Hope, Essenes, Dispersion & Proselytes), 5 (Palestinian Literature, Hellenistic Literature, Philo), Index 1891

Schurer (1844–1910) was a German scholar.

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More Works on the Life and Times of Christ

1800’s

Abbott, John S.C. – Chs. 1-5 of The History of Christianity  1872  525 pp.

John Abbott (1805-1877) was the brother of Jacob Abbott and the author of numerous works especially for children and young people.  He… was ordained to the ministry in the Congregational church in 1830…  His first published work, “The Mother at Home,” appeared in 1833, and was followed later that year by “The Child at Home.”  In 1844 he relinquished the pastorate, and devoted himself exclusively to literature…” – Michael Gaydosh of S.G.C.B.

“The writer is not aware that there is any [other] popular history of the extraordinary events involved in the progress of Christianity which can lure the attention of men, even of Christians, whose minds are engrossed by the agitations of busy life…

In writing the life of Jesus, the author has accepted the narratives of the evangelists as authentic and reliable, and has endeavored to give a faithful… account of what Jesus said and id, as he would write of any other distinguished personage…  The gospel of Christ is ‘the power of God and the wisdom of God.’  In its propagation lies the only hope of the world.  Its universal acceptance will usher in such a day of glory as this world has never witnessed since the flowers of Eden wilted.” – Preface

Beecher, Henry Ward – Life of Jesus, the Christ, vol. 1, 2  1872

**  “Here the great genius of Beecher glows and burns; but we are disappointed with his book as a biography of our Lord.” – Spurgeon

Bennett, James – Lectures on the History of Jesus Christ, vol. 1, 2

**  “Lively popular lectures, full of matter, well expressed, and possessing sterling excellence.” – Spurgeon

Dalrymple, William – A History of Christ for the Use of the Unlearned, with Short Explanatory Notes and Practical Reflections, humbly recommended to Parents and Teachers of Youth in Schools  1787  615 pp.

Dalyrmple (1723-1814) was a Scottish religious writer, minister and moderator of the Church of Scotland.

Doddridge, Philip – The Life of our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: containing a full, accurate, and instructive history of the various transactions in the life of our glorious Redeemer, from His taking upon Himself our sinful nature, to His crucifixion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious ascension into heaven  d. 1751

Ellicott, C.J. – Historical Lectures on the Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ  1869

**  “This great author stands in the highest place of honor; but having no sympathy with what he called ‘the popular theology’, he should be read with considerable caution.” – Spurgeon

Kennedy, John – Expository Lectures  Buy  late-1800’s

Kennedy was a noted minister of the Free Church of Scotland in the Highlands.

Krummacher F.W. – The Martyr Lamb, or Christ the Representative of his People in all Ages  1845  288 pp.

Muirhead, Lewis – The Times of Christ  1905  190 pp.  in Handbooks for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte

Neander, Augustus – The Life of Jesus Christ in its Historical Connexion and Historical Development  1851  540 pp.

**  “Good as an answer to Stauss, but unsatisfactory from the standpoint of evangelical theology.” – Spurgeon

Pressense, Edmond De 

Jesus Christ: his Times, Life and Work  1875 

**  “There have been many discussions upon the orthodoxy of this work, but it is a noble production, and is written in an adoring spirit.  The accomplished author has made a valuable contribution to the cause of truth.  Yet we are inclined to agree with the writer who said, ‘to write a life of Christ is to pain the sun with charcoal.’  The life of a Christian is the best picture of the life of Christ.” – Spurgeon

Jesus Christ; his Life and Work, an Abridged Edition

This abridgment was done by the author: “This popular edition… differs.. by the absence of all that was purely scientific… to avoid, as far as possible, all debatable and controversial points.”

Robertson, A.T.

Epochs in the Life of Jesus: a Study of Development and Struggle in the Messiah’s Work  1907

The Pharisees and Jesus: the Stone Lectures for 1915-6 at Princeton

Keywords in the Teaching of Jesus  1906

Scrymgeour, William – Lessons on the Life of Jesus  1883  260 pp.  in Hand-Books for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte  This forms a follow up to Stalker’s volume below.

Stalker, James

The Life of Jesus Christ  1880  in Hand-Books for Bible Classes, ed. Dods & Whyte

Stalker was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland and then in the United Free Church of Scotland.

Imago Christi: The Example of Jesus Christ  1890  340 pp.  Introduction by William Taylor

Young, John – The Christ of History: an Argument Grounded in the Facts of His Life on Earth  1855

**  “A work of great excellence, eloquence, and logical compactness.” – British Quarterly Review, as quoted by Spurgeon

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1900’s

Bruce, F.F. – Jesus: Lord and Savior  Buy  1986  210 pp. Written at an easy to intermediate level.

Guthrie, Donald – A Shorter Life of Christ  Buy  1970  180 pp.

“The subject matter of this book was written for the article on Jesus Christ in The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible… Its purpose is to serve as an introduction to the life of Jesus, thus paving the way for more detailed study of his life.  As far as possible, technicalities have been avoided since the aim has been to help the non-specialist to gain an understanding of the issues involved.” – Preface

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On Christ Generally

On Christ Generally

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The Incarnation

“We make far too little of the incarnation; the Fathers knew much more of the incarnate God.  Some of them were oftener at Bethlehem than at Calvary…  We are not too often at the cross, but we are too seldom at the cradle.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Anselm – Why God Became Man, or Cur Deo Homo  133 pp.

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“Jesus Christ…  is the perfection of humanity, its ideal made real.”

“On earth He came, He that is from above, to meet with her that is from beneath, to purchase and to betroth her.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

 

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The Inner-Life of Christ

Blaikie, William Garden – Glimpses of the Inner-life of our Lord  1876  300 pp.

Blaikie was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.


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Jesus as a Pastor

Blaikie, William Garden – The Public Ministry and Pastoral Methods of our Lord  Buy  1883  360 pp.  This was reprinted by Klock & Klock

Baikie was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland.

Bruce, A.B. – The Training of the Twelve, or Passages out of the Gospels Exhibiting the Twelve Disciples of Jesus under Discipline for the Apostleship  1877  560 pp.

Though Bruce was a liberal, this work is a classic.

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The Baptism of Christ

Cowper, William – Of Christ’s Baptism  1612  60 pp.

Cowper was a Scottish Bishop.

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The Temptation of Christ

The Temptation of Christ

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The Beatitudes  see also the Sermon on the Mount below

1500’s

Babington, Gervase – A Brief Conference betwixt man’s frailty and faith wherein is declared the true use, and comfort of those blessings pronounced by Christ in the Fifth of Matthew, that every Christian man and woman ought to make and take hold of in their several tentations and conflicts: laid down in this plain order of dialogue  1584

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1600’s

Burroughs, Jeremiah – The Saints’ Happiness. Together with the several steps leading thereunto, delivered in divers Lectures on the Beatitudes; Being part of Christ’s Sermon in the Mount; contained in the fifth of Mathew  Buy  1660

Watson, Thomas – The Beatitudes: Or, a Discourse Upon Part of Christ’s Famous Sermon on the Mount  1671

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1800’s

MacLaren, Alexander – A Garland of Gladness: Devotional Studies in the Beatitudes  Buy  mid-late 1800’s

MacLaren was a popular Scottish preacher.

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The Sermon on the Mount

Expositions of the Sermon on the Mount  10

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Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer, Mt 6

Expositions of the Lord’s Prayer  63+

 

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The Miracles of Christ

Expositions of the Miracles of Christ  7

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The Parables of Christ

Expositions of the Parables of Christ  8+

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The Transfiguration, Mt. 17

Manton, Thomas – The Transfiguration of Christ in 7 sermons  77 pp.  in Works, vol. 1, p. 337 ff.

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The Passion, Death, Resurrection & Ascension of Christ

“‘He became obedient unto death’ (Phil. 2:).  It was… a passing from a lower state and course of obedience into a higher task of obedience.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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1500’s

Coverdale, Miles – Fruitful Lessons upon the Passion, Burial, Resurrection, Ascension, and of the Sending of the Holy Ghost, gathered out of the Four Evangelists, with a plain exposition of the same  d. 1568

Rollock, Robert

25 Sermons upon the Last Sermon and Conference of our Lord Jesus Christ with his disciples immediately before his Passion, contained in the 14th, 15th, and 16th chapters of the Gospel of St. John, as also upon that most excellent prayer, contained in the 17th Chapter  d. 1599

Lectures on the Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ from John 18-21, containing a perfect harmony of all the four Evangelists for the better understanding of all the circumstances of the Lord’s death and Resurrection  d. 1599

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1800’s

Drummond, D.T.K. – The Last Scenes in the Life of our Lord and Savior, or a series of Practical Expositions on the last Nine Chapters of John  1841

**  “Good, but not very striking.”

Philpot, J.C. – Meditations on the Sacred Humanity of the Blessed Redeemer  Buy  d. 1869  137 pp.

“Of all J.C. Philpot’s published works, we feel these precious meditations on the Redeemer’s sacred humanity are the sweetest.  Very beautifully is the doctrine of Christ’s Person opened up and His work and offices displayed…  The constant emphasis is the blessed suitability of the Man Christ Jesus to a needy soul…  Here is doctrine, deep and blessed doctrine–more so than in Philpot’s sermons…  The receiving into the soul by faith of the doctrine of the Redeemer’s Person and finished work will enable us to understand what Luther meant when he said, ‘Doctrine is heaven.'” – The Editor’s Preface

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On Christ’s Passion & Death

“Among all deaths there is no death like one death; there are the deaths of sinners; this one death is the death of the Lord of glory.”

“The body of Christ was not separated from the Godhead.  The soul of Christ was not separated from the Godhead.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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The Best

Krummacher, Frederick W. – The Suffering Savior: Meditations on the Last Days of Christ  1947  440 pp.

Martin, Hugh – The Shadow of Calvary: The Arrest and Trial of Jesus in Light of the Fulfillment of the Scriptures  Buy

Martin (1821-85) was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.

Schilder, Klass – Christ in his Suffering, Christ on Trial & Christ Crucified, 3 vols.  Buy  1938

“When Dr. Klass Schilder’s ‘Lenten trilogy’ first made its appearance in English [translated from the Dutch], it was immediately welcomed by evangelicals… as a work of outstanding merit.  In fact, it was found to be without equal in modern literature.” – Cyril J. Barber

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1800’s

Innes, A. Taylor – The Trial of Jesus Christ: a Legal Monograph  Buy  1899  144 pp.  Reprinted by Klock & Klock

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1900’s

Stalker, James – The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ: a Devotional History of our Lord’s Passion  1910

Hoeksema, Herman – “And Jesus in the Midst…” A Series of Sermons on the Passion of our Lord  Buy  1948  118 pp.

Schwertley, Brian – The Heart of the Gospel: Gethsemane to the Burial of Christ  2007  553 pp.

“The last hours of the Savior’s life form late Thursday evening to around 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon contain the most significant events in all human history.” – The back-flap

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“Jesus is the Living One.  He hath life in Himself underived.  He is the well-spring of all derived life.  Life is natural, essentially natural to Him.  Even in death He lived.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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On the Descent into ‘Sheol’

“He Descended into ‘Sheol'”

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The Resurrection of Christ

“As sure as Christ is risen, we are not in our sins.”

“He must die, for He could not purchase otherwise.  He must rise, for He could not otherwise exercise his Lordship over his purchase.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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1800’s

West, Gilbert – Observations on the Resurrection of Christ  1834  260 pp.

“Gilbert West and his friend Lord Lyttleton, both men of acknowledged talents, had imbibed the principles of infidelity from a superficial view of the Scriptures.  Fully persuaded that the Bible was an imposture, they were determined to expose the cheat.  Mr. West chose the Resurrection of Christ, and Lord Lyttleton the Conversion of St. Paul, for the subject of hostile criticism.  Both sat down to their respective tasks, full of prejudice, and a contempt for Christianity.  The result of their separate attempts was that they were both converted by their endeavors to overthrow the truth of Christianity!  The came together, not as they expected, to exult over an imposture exposed to ridicule, but to lament their folly, and to congratulate each other on their joint conviction, that the Bible was the Word of God.  Their able inquiries have furnished two most valuable treatises in favor of revelation; one, entitled ‘Observations on the Conversion of St. Paul,’ and the other ‘Observations on the Resurrection of Christ.'” – Spurgeon

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1900’s

Orr, James – The Resurrection of Jesus  Buy  in The Expositor’s Library   Reprinted by Klock & Klock

Milligan, William – The Resurrection of our Lord  1917  360 pp.

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“He had power to lay down his life to procure, and He had power to take it again to bestow salvation.”

“I am inclined to draw the inference, since Jesus died and rose again, I may be in heaven yet.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan


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The 40 Days between Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension

1800’s

Krummacher, Frederick W. – The Risen Redeemer: The Gospel Story from the Resurrection to the Day of Pentecost  1863  298 pp.

Moore, T.V. – The Last Days of Jesus: the Appearances of our Lord between the Forty Days between the Resurrection and Ascension  1858  212

Moore (1818-71) graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary and served as a minister in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee.  In 1867 he was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Southern Presbyterian Church.

“…Moore’s book provides instruction and practical application married with unusual skill to a spirit of profound devotion.” – Banner of Truth


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The Ascension

Milligan, William – The Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of our Lord  1891  370 pp.  Klock & Klock  6 Lectures

Milligan (1821-1893)

“He masterfully blends Biblical truth and theological perception, with the result that he has produced a work of rare merit.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Related Pages

Bible Commentaries

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries

New Testament Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction

New Testament Theology

Commentaries on the Four Gospels

Harmonies of the Gospels

Characters in the Gospels

The Life, Letters & Theology of Paul

The Lives of the Apostles