Tag Archives: Sermons

Who Is Joseph Parker?

Who is Joseph Parker?

Joseph Parker was a London preacher who attracted thousands before the days of microphones. He was a friend of Charles Spurgeon, and the two even exchanged pulpits, although their style and focus in preaching were quite different. Parker exhausted his work week in preparing to preach. When asked what his hobbies were, he would surprise his questioner by thundering, “Preaching!”

His authored works number at least 45 volumes, most of which are over 400 pages. The chief of them is The People’s Bible series, which was first published from 1885 to 1895 in 25 volumes, and later republished as Preaching through the Bible.

About The People’s Bible

Joseph Parker’s method in preaching was not a cold verse-by-verse analysis. Instead, he would meditate all the week on a Bible book as a whole, trying to crystallize the most important themes and messages in Scripture as a whole. The resulting sermons are dynamic, meditative, rich in both language and conviction.

One who observed his process of preparation wrote the following:

“He is an extempore preacher, but not an extempore thinker…the subject…being considered for days. His topics are ruminated over, looked at on every side, and through and through until they become part of his spiritual self.”

One preaching magazine wrote: “The People’s Bible is not a commentary; it is rather a pastoral exposition, seeking out and applying the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures.”

Praise for Joseph Parker’s People’s Bible: Discourses upon Holy Scripture

“Dr. Parker has begun a stupendous work in this People’s Bible. He condenses wonderfully, and throws a splendor of diction over all that he pours forth. His track is his own, and the jewels which he lets fall in his progress are from his own caskets; this will give a permanent value to his works, when the productions of copyists will be forgotten.”
Rev. C. H. Spurgeon

“The sermons are very wonderful, but when he prays, he lifts you to heaven.”
Leonard Ravenhill, author of Why Revival Tarries

“He is by far the ablest man now standing in the English-speaking pulpit.”
Alexander Whyte, author of Bible Characters

“Dr. Parker occupies a lonely place among the preachers of our day. His position among preachers is the same as that of a poet among ordinary men of letters.”
Ian MacLaren, author of The Mind of the Master

“Dr. Parker is the foremost preacher in Europe.”
Joseph Cook, D.D., author and preacher

“The most outstanding preacher of his time.”
Margaret Bywater

“Sermons rich in life and power, pungent, practical, faithful and fearless.”
The Christian Union, New York

“Most preachers’ texts are nails and their sermons tack-hammers. With Dr. Parker, his text is a bolt and his sermon a sledge-hammer.”
The Literary World, London

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Life

George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, vol. II

‘I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.’—ST JOHN x. 10.

I

In a word, He came to supply all our lack—from the root outward; for what is it we need but more life? What does the infant need but more life? What does the bosom of his mother give him but life in abundance? What does the old man need, whose limbs are weak and whose pulse is low, but more of the life which seems ebbing from him? Weary with feebleness, he calls upon death, but in reality it is life he wants. It is but the encroaching death in him that desires death. He longs for rest, but death cannot rest; death would be as much an end to rest as to weariness: even weakness cannot rest; it takes strength as well as weariness to rest. How different is the weariness of the strong man after labour unduly prolonged, from the weariness of the sick man who in the morning cries out, ‘Would God it were evening!’ and in the evening, ‘Would God it were morning!’ Continue reading

The Silver Trumpets

F. W. Boreham, Dreams at Sunset, Part I, ch. 7

The postman has this morning brought me a letter that affords me peculiar satisfaction. It invites me to return for one notable Sunday to a pulpit in which, long ago, I spent twelve very happy years. ‘We are celebrating our Jubilee,’ the minister writes, ‘and we all want you to be among us!’ Continue reading

The Fish-Pens

F. W. Boreham, Rubble and Roseleaves, Part III, ch. II

I was holiday-making at Lake King. As a matter of fact, Lake King is no lake at all. It used to be; and, like the Church at Sardis, and like so many of us, it bears the name that it once earned but no longer deserves. In former days, a picturesque rampart of sand hummocks, richly draped in native verdure, intervened between the fresh waters of the land-locked lake and the heaving tides of the Southern Ocean. Then the engineers arrived; and when the engineers take off their coats no man can tell what is likely to happen next. At Panama they split a continent in two. At Lake King they wedded the lake to the ocean. Through the range of sand-dunes they cut a broad, deep channel by which the big ships could pass in and out, and, as an inevitable consequence, Lake King is a lake no longer. But it was not the big ships that interested me. It was the trawlers. I liked to see the fishing-boats come in from the ocean and liberate their shining spoil at the pens. On the shores of the lake the fishermen have fenced off a sheet of water, a quarter of an acre or so in area; and into this sheltered reserve they discharge their daily catch. I never tired of visiting the fish-pens. As I looked down into their clear waters they seemed to be one moving mass of beautiful fish. Never in my life had I seen so congested an aquarium. There were thousands upon thousands, tons upon tons, of them. Continue reading

Other Little Ships

Herbert Lockyer, Sorrows and Stars, ch. 6

“And there were also with him other little ships.” (Mark 4:36)

The narrative from which the title of this meditation is taken abounds with so much of interest that one could easily pause to expound its broad and beautiful outline. You have the crowded seashore—the eager listeners drinking in the blessed words of the Lord Jesus—His retreat into a boat in which weary and tired, He fell asleep—the raging storm and wave-beaten ship—the frightened disciples—and amidst all the turmoil, the sleeping, tranquil Christ.

Then follow the waking of our Lord and His rebuke of the storm and winds—His rebuke of the disciples for their little faith—and, last of all, the ever deepening gratitude and admiration of the disciples for their Omnipotent Lord and Master. Continue reading

How Christmas Came to Roaring Camp

F. W. Boreham, My Christmas Book, Part I, ch. IV

It may or may not have happened in December; Bret Harte does not say, and it certainly does not matter; for whether it happened in April or September or December, it was Christmas-time in Roaring Camp. It is always Christmas-time when a little child is born; the angels sing their song in somebody’s sky, and heaven fills the atmosphere of somebody’s home with its Gloria in Excelsis—its message of peace on earth and goodwill among men. Continue reading

The People’s Bible

I recently finished publishing (in Kindle format) a sermon set called The People’s Bible by Joseph Parker, also published in 1970s as Preaching Through the Bible. Joseph Parker was a contemporary and friend of Spurgeon and, like Spurgeon, gathered thousands of Londoners in the late 19th century. His published sermons number well over 1000. The People’s Bible is a homiletic journey through the entire Bible, comprising about 1200 sermons, preached over the course of seven years.

Spurgeon called The People’s Biblea work of genius” and said that its innovative method would outlast the many copycats of his day.

What is unique about Joseph Parker’s sermons are their dynamic nature, their ability to surprise. He meditated on Scripture during the week, and his preaching was the outflow of that meditation. He gave his messages with few notes, and the man who copied them down said that Parker was at his best when he strayed farthest from his notes.

Alexander Whyte—himself among the most famous British preachers—after hearing Spurgeon and Dean Stanley in London, later heard Joseph Parker on another visit. After hearing him twice he wrote:

“He is by far the ablest man now standing in the English-speaking pulpit. He stands in the pulpit of Thomas Goodwin, the pulpit genius of all the Puritans, and a theologian to whom I owe more than I can ever acknowledge of spiritual light and life. And Dr. Parker is a true and worthy successor to this great Apostolic Puritan.”

Another prominent preacher and writer, Ian MacLaren, wrote the following:

“Dr. Parker occupies a lonely place among the preachers of our day. His position among preachers is the same as that of a poet among ordinary men of letters. … The power of his preaching lies in the contact of a mind of perpetual and amazing originality with the sublime truths of the Gospel, and the faculty which Dr. Parker possesses with all men of intellectual genius of discovering the principles which lie behind what seems the poorest detail, and which resolve all things into a unity.”

His biographer, Margaret Bywater, called him “the most outstanding preacher of his time.”

Below are the links for the new Kindle editions of The People’s Bible. These include active table of contents and linked footnotes.

Genesis
Exodus – sample
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges & Ruth
1 & 2 Samuel
1 & 2 Kings
1 & 2 Chronicles
Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs
Isaiah
Jeremiah & Lamentations
Ezekiel & Daniel
The Minor Prophets – sample
Matthew (3 vol.)
Mark & Luke
John
Acts (3 vol.)
Romans to Galatians
Ephesians to Revelation