This J.C Ryle clothbound set from Banner of Truth is an incredible resource not only for pastors but also for those who want to grow in spiritual maturity. Ryle is very practical and easy to read. He writes in a way in which you are confronted with the truth about your sin and yet also reminded of the comforts of the gospel.
I have given some small reviews of each book below. As I have mentioned in other posts before, the quality of these clothbound books is amazing! They will last a lifetime even if you use them heavily. You can buy these books separately or as a complete set.
For anyone studying or preaching on the Gospels, this has to be one of your go-to sets. Ryle’s commentary is very pastoral and full of practical application. Each section is laid out with the Scripture text, Ryle’s pastoral commentary, and then his verse commentary. I normally tend to use exegetical, verse by verse commentaries in my sermon prep, which has led to my preaching being somewhat of a running commentary (which is not good). These pastoral commentaries by Ryle have provided balance in my study and sermon prep.
Looking for a book about how to live as a Christian? Look no further. Ryle presents how to practically live out the Christian life in this great work. Instead of living a works-based religion, he lays out how to live in the grace given to us by Christ. Ryle’s focus is to help you understand that it is not the actual acts you do, but that God has your heart. His chapter on The World was very impactful to me giving very helpful wisdom on how the world is a danger, what is not meant by separation from the world, what real or true separation from the world is, and the secret victory over the world. Through this work, Ryle helps you learn to care for our souls, see our great need for Christ, and live in a way that is not fake, legalistic, or dead.
The time is fast coming when nothing but authenticity will stand the fire. Authentic repentance towards God–authentic faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ–authentic holiness of heart and life–these, these are the things which will alone stand the judgment at the last day. It is a solemn saying of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:22-23)
I believe it is important to go back and read classic Christian works such as Holiness to be reminded that the struggles that we are facing in our own lives and in the church are not new. For Christians, it has always been a struggle to live holy lives. Ryle’s Holiness helps us to be reminded that even though it’s hard and may not be the most popular thing,
we must be holy,
because the voice of God in Scripture plainly commands it,
it is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world,
because this is the only sound evidence that we have a saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,
because this is the only proof that we love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,
because this is the only sound evidence that we are true children of God,
because this is the most likely way to do good to others,
because our present comfort depends much upon it,
because without holiness on earth we will never be prepared to enjoy heaven.
For more on this book, please see my review here.
Old Paths is a work by Ryle that explains truths that are ‘necessary to salvation.’ Ryle chose the title to emphasize that he is not presenting anything new but reaffirming the doctrines laid out and believed by the Apostolic Christians and the reformers.
It’s a fairly repetitive book since the chapters at one point were separate papers, but Ryle informs you in the Preface. It touches on forgiveness, justification, the cross, faith, repentance, election, perseverance, etc. There is a huge need for all of us to be reminded of these truths and Ryle presents them in a very reasonable and practical way. “If people may be saved without knowing anything about these truths, it appears to me that we may throw away our Bibles altogether, and proclaim that the Christian religion is of no use.”
This work by Ryle is on how the church should operate. It includes 19 papers on specific subjects relating to the evangelical church practices. Keep in mind when Ryle uses the word evangelical, he means Biblical, unlike the way we tend to think and use the word today. He lays out the beliefs held by Evangelical Churchmen of the day. His arguments are filled with Scriptural proof and explained very carefully and confidently. Some topics include Baptism, Regeneration, The Lord’s Supper, Confession, the Fallibility of Ministers, Idolatry, etc.
Let us always beware of any teaching which either directly or indirectly obscures justification by faith. All religious systems which put anything between the heavy laden sinner and Jesus Christ the Saviour, except simple faith, are dangerous and unscriptural. All systems which make out faith to be anything complicated, anything but a simple, childlike dependence — the hand which receives the soul’s medicine from the physician — are unsafe and poisonous systems. All systems which cast discredit on the simple Protestant doctrine which broke the power of Rome, carry about with them a plague-spot, and are dangerous to souls.
Let us remember, not least, the enormous injury we may do to souls if we once allow ourselves to depart in the least degree from the simplicity of the gospel, either in our doctrine or in our worship. Who can estimate the shipwrecks that might occur in a single night, and the lives that might be lost, if a light-house keeper dared to alter but a little the colour of his light? Who can estimate the deaths that might take place in a town if the chemist took on himself to depart but a little from the doctor’s prescriptions? Who can estimate the wholesale misery that might be caused in a war, by maps a little wrong, and charts a little incorrect? Who can estimate these things? Then perhaps you may have some idea of the spiritual harm that ministers do by departing in the slightest degree from the Scriptural proportions of the gospel, or by trying to catch the world by dressing the simple old Evangelical faith in new clothes.
Light from Old Times is basically short biographies/testimonies of some reformers and puritans written by Ryle. There is such a change happening in the millennial generation that have adopted reformed theology. You can see many young people with Spurgeon and Bunyan t-shirts, Calvin coffee mugs and moleskines. But do they know who is on their t-shirt? This is a great book that introduces spiritual giants such as John Wycliffe, John Rogers, Samuel Ward, and Richard Baxter.
To purchase Expository Thoughts On The Gospels click here.
To purchase Practical Religion click here.
To purchase Holiness click here.
To purchase Old Paths click here.
To purchase Knots Untied click here.
To purchase Light From Old Times click here.
To purchase the whole set through Banner of Truth click here.