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The Evangelical Bishop: The J. C. Ryle Book Shelf

      Some good devotional reading, second to the Bible itself, comes from the writings of John Charles Ryle. His writings are devotional without sacrificing sound theology. Ryle's method and style of writing is scriptural and expository.

J. C. Ryle print, courtesy of the
The Museum of Pilgrims.

      On May 10, 1816, John Charles Ryle was born to John And Susanna Ryle of Macclesfield, Cheshire County, England. He attended Eton and then went on to Oxford, finishing his Oxford studies in 1837. It was at this time in 1837 that Ryle found salvation and faith in Christ.

      In 1841 Bishop Charles Sumner of Winchester ordained J. C Ryle as a minister in the Anglican Church, (Church of England). In 1880 Ryle was named the first Bishop of the newly constituted diocese of Liverpool.

      Throughout his ministry he became known and beloved as a defender of the evangelical reformed faith as expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, of the Church of England.

      In February, 1900, the 83 year old Bishop Ryle retired after many years of faithful ministry. He went home to be with his Lord on June 10, 1900.

Grave stone in the churchyard of All Saints Childwall, Liverpool, England
(Image courtesy of Nigel Goodrich)

An Account of J.C. Ryle's Conversion

Biographical material gleaned from:
John Charles Ryle: Evangelical Bishop; Peter Toon & Michael Smout, Reiner Publications, Swengel, PA USA; (1976)

As of July, 1996, this book was still in print, and available from Reiner Publications.

Expository Thoughts on Matthew
(First published in 1856.
BT reprint, 1986.)

Preface (Abridged)
Matthew 5:1-12
Matthew 5:13-20
Matthew 5:21-37
Matthew 5:38-48
Matthew 6:1-8
Matthew 6:9-15
Matthew 6:16-24
Matthew 6:25-34
Matthew 7:1-11
Matthew 7:12-20
Matthew 7:21-29

Expository Thoughts on Mark
( First published in 1857.
BT reprint 1985.)

Excerpt from Mark 4:26-29
Mark 4:35-41
Mark 5:18-20
Mark 7:24-30

Expository Thoughts On Luke
( First published in 1858.)

Luke 1:1-4
Expository Thoughts On John
(First published in 1869.)

Preface (Abridged)
John 1:1-5
John 1:6-13
John 1:14
John 1:15-18
John 1:19-28

John 13:1-38
John 14:1-31

"Expository Thoughts on the Gospels"
by J. C. Ryle

        Several reprint editions are available. The edition I use is the The Banner of Truth Trust(BT) reprints.

"The plan I have adopted in drawing up the "Expository Thoughts" is as follows: I have divided the sacred text into sections or passages, averaging about twelve verses in each. I have then supplied a continuous series of short, plain "Expositions" of each of these passages. In each Exposition I have generally begun by stating as briefly as possible the main scope and purpose of the passage under consideration. I have then selected two, three, or four prominent points in the passage, singled them out from the rest, dwelt exclusively on them, and endeavoured to enforce them plainly and vigorously on the reader's attention. The points selected will be found to be sometimes doctrinal, and sometimes practical. The only rule in selection has been to seize on the really leading points of the passage." (From the Preface to the Expository Thoughts on Matthew.)

        Ryle acknowledges in the preface to the Expository Thoughts On John, he is doing much more with this Gospel then the other three. In that preface he states:

"The nature of the work now published, requires a few words of explanation. It is a continuation of the "Expository Thoughts on the Gospels," of which four volumes, comprising the first three Gospels, have already been set forth. Like the volumes on St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, the basis of the work is a continuous series of short expositions, intended for family or private reading, or for the use of those who visit the sick and the poor. But unlike the previous volumes, the work now in the reader's hands contains full explanatory notes on every verse of the portions expounded, forming, in fact, a complete Commentary."

        J. C. Ryle goes to great length as to why he felt the theological winds of the day compelled him to take such a course. He concludes with a list of other Commentaries on John that he studied, and gives an evaluation of their respective usefulness. This preface in itself is a commentary on issues the Evangelical Christian church struggles with to this very day.

[E-text for John 13-14 provided by Joe Moyers, and used with permission.]

All Saints Churchyard.

Church yard of All Saints Childwall, Liverpool, England.

      The stone on the left marks the grave of Bishop Ryle. The stone on the right marks the grave of his third wife Henrietta (Clowes) Ryle. His first marriage was to Matilda C. L. Plumptre on Oct. 25, 1845. Matilda died in June 1847. Feb. 21, 1850. Ryle married as his second wife Jessie Elizabeth Walker. Jessie died in May 1860 from Bright's disease. In Oct. 1861 he was married to Henrietta who died in 1889.

(Image courtesy of Nigel Goodrich)

Other WWW J. C. Ryle Publications

Zoênio M. G. Filho has done Portuguese translations of Reformed and Puritan writers including the following by J. C. Ryle.

Google WWW Search on "J. C. Ryle"

The amount of WWW resources relating to Bishop Ryle has exploded over the years since I first published the Book Shelf. So much so it is impossible to keep up with all the WWW sites and pages available relating to Ryle and his writings. The above link will take you to a Google search done on "J. C. Ryle". Results are in all languages, not just English. This should help you find the "latest and greatest".

Announcements of Re-prints of J. C. Ryle's Works (Up-date 10/20/2001).

Search list of books by J. C. Ryle available at

Books by J. C. Ryle available at include:

Holiness Thoughts for
Young Men
Addresses to Young Children Warnings to the Churches
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels
( 7 Volume Set ) Individual Volumes also available.
Matthew Mark Luke ( Vol. 1) ( Vol. 2) John ( Vol. 1) ( Vol. 2) ( Vol. 3)
Light From Old Times: or Protestant Facts And Men

Some Other Recommended WWW Pages

John Farese's

Inspirational Designs

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My thanks to Phil Johnson for permission to use the J. C. Ryle graphic from The Hall of Church History. Your comments welcome. This page and its design are copyright © 1996 by J. William Newcomer. All rights reserved.

Webservant, Bill Newcomer, Ada, MI USA. Original construction March, A.D. 1996. Last revision 30 January A.D. 2003. Moved to Geocities/Yahoo September A.D. 2004