Barton Warren Johnson
American minister and educator
Johnson was born in a log cabin on a clearing in Tazewell County, Illinois. His ancestry, on both sides, is of stock which had settled in this country before the Revolution; his father's parents were South Carolinians; his mother was born in Tennessee. His early education was such as could be obtained in a backwoods school, on a farm, and from the few books he could buy or borrow. In his eighteenth year he commenced to study at Walnut Grove Academy, now Eureka College, where he attended for two years. Then, after teaching for one year, he went to Bethany College in 1854. At that time the college was presided over by Alexander Campbell, aided by such professors as R. Milligan, W. K. Pendleton, R. Richardson, and others of less note. In 1856 he graduated in a class of twenty-seven, the honors of which were divided between him and W. A. Hall, of Tennessee.
In the fall of 1856, be engaged in a school in Bloomington, Ill., preaching on Sundays in the vicinity. The next year he took a position in Eureka College, where he remained in all seven years, two years as its president. In 1863, he acted as corresponding and financial secretary of the American Missionary Society, and was re-elected to that position at the convention of 1864, but he declined to continue, having accepted the chair of mathematics in Bethany College. Here he remained two years, until after the death of Alexander Campbell, when he returned to the west.
After a pastoral charge at Lincoln, Ill., he accepted the presidency of Oskaloosa College, in connection with the care of the Church at Oskaloosa. A failure of health compelled him to cease teaching two years later, but he continued to preach for the congregation for four more years. In the meantime, The Evangelist, long published as a monthly, had assumed a weekly form, and he became its editor. For about sixteen years he has been engaged in editorial work; on The Evangelist, in Oskaloosa and Chicago, and subsequently on the The Christian-Evangelist in St. Louis.
In the meantime he has written several books which have had a wide circulation: The Vision of the Ages, Commentary on John, The People's New Testament, in two octavo volumes, and the successive volumes of the Christian Lesson Commentary . In the summer of 1858 he was united in marriage to Miss Sarah S. Allen, of Bloomington, Ill., who has made him a devoted and self-sacrificing companion. Three children, all living, have been borne to the marriage.
Works by Barton Warren Johnson
Johnson's condensed commentary on the entire New Testament, The People's New Testament, achieved considerable popularity after its publication in late 19th century America. This volume concerns John's Gospel in more detail than its briefer appearance in Johnson's other work. As such, Johnson meant this commentary on John's Gospel to serve as a tool for clergy and religious scholars or students. Even so, the interested layperson could use this text as a supplement to Johnson's more general People's New Testament.
The American pastor and teacher Barton Warren Johnson was born in 1833, educated in the backwoods of Illinois, and later attended Bethany College. He taught at Eureka and Oskaloosa colleges and pastored several churches. His commentaries are highly valued, and this People's New Testament is one of the most useful. The volume first includes several helpful lists of information like a harmony of the gospels and a list of Jesus' miracles and parables. The end of the commentary also holds a few valuable lists, such as a reference to the Old Testament verses quoted in the New Testament, and a lists of cities and towns mentioned in the New Testament. The commentary itself is also well-researched and viable. It follows the traditional chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse format, but helpfully includes a short summary of what happens in each chapter. Johnson's commentary is used by a diverse group of people, professionals, and laymen alike. It is a resource that should be preserved and used for many years to come.
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