John William McGarvey
Clergyman, educator, and editor
His father was a native of Ireland, and did not move to this country until he was grown. He located in Hopkinsville, Ky., where he was married to a Miss Thompson, who was born and reared near Georgetown, Ky. When J. W. McGarvey was four years old, his father died, and his mother afterwards married Dr. G. F. Saltonstall. In 1839 the family removed to Tremont, Tazewell county, Ill., where McGarvey was trained to habits of industry, and thoroughly instructed in the primary and academic branches by Mr. James K. Kellogg, a successful educator of the place.
In April, 1847, in his eighteenth year, he entered Bethany College, and graduated with honors in the year 1850, delivering the Greek speech. While at Bethany he confessed faith in Christ, and was baptized by Prof. W. K. Pendleton. Immediately upon his conversion, his mind turned toward the ministry, and it was not long before he gave good evidence of fitness for the work. In the meantime his family had removed to Fayette, Mo., at which place, soon after leaving college, he taught a male school for ten months.
At the call of the church in Fayette, McGarvey gave up the school there, and was ordained to the work of the ministry, and continued his labors for the church there and in neighboring county churches until February, 1853, when he moved to Dover, LaFayette county. In March, 1853, he was married to Ottie F. Hix, of Fayette. He resided at Dover nine years, dividing his time with the home church and preaching extensively over the State of Missouri. He also held five religious discussions with representatives of various religious parties during this period, and collected money to erect a boarding school in his village, which he conducted two years.
In the spring of 1862 he accepted the pastoral care of the church in Lexington, Ky., where a large field of usefulness was open to him. During the same year he published his "Commentary on Acts," which had been in course of preparation for more than three years--a work which yet holds its place in our literature as a work of superior merit. On the removal of Kentucky University to Lexington in 1865, he accepted a chair in the College of the Bible, but still maintained his labors for the Church, which had greatly prospered under his care. In 1866, he resigned his place in the Church to give his whole time to the work in the University, but continued to share its pulpit for a time with President Graham, until L. B. Wilkes was chosen as his successor. He then preached three years for country churches in connection with his other labors. When in 1869 the growth of the Lexington Church required the organization of a second one, he was called to serve that congregation, which he did for eleven years. During that time the Church increased its membership from 126 to 400. He then resigned his work in the city, on account of his college duties, and resumed country preaching.
In order to better qualify himself for his college work, the teaching of sacred history, be made a tour of Palestine in 1879, and in 1881 published the result of his observations in Lands of the Bible, a work which for its painstaking accuracy, and clearness of description, has received high commendation from Biblical scholars. In 1886 he published Volume I of a work on Christian Evidence, entitled Text and Canon and this was followed in 1891 by Volume II, Credibility and Inspiration of the Bible. These works bear the marks of conscientious and careful investigation, and received favorable notice from various sources.
Works by John William McGarvey
McGarvey, in his introduction to this commentary, notes that he wrote the work with the reader in mind. He designed it to be read more as a narrative than simply as a reference book, and encourages readers to use it so. Written in the late 19th century, Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles is a verse-by-verse look at Acts, which McGarvey believed many theologians had misunderstood before. He cites an encyclopedia entry which he believes best represents the book: "The design of Luke, in writing Acts, was to supply, by select and suitable instances, an illustration of the power and working of that religion which Jesus had died to establish." McGarvey was a teacher for much of his life, so his commentary is accurate and easy to understand. The book of Acts of indeed a powerful testimony to Jesus' life, and believers will be enlightened by McGarvey's intuitive and unique notes on the text.
This mixture of gospel harmony (a comparison of identical stories from each of the gospels, placed in chronological order) and commentary (a verse-by-verse analysis of a passage) by John William McGarvey is a highly technical but incomparably useful guide to the biblical Gospels. McGarvey, a serious student of the Bible and author of many other commentaries, is at his best here in the unique blend. Users should be sure to read the introductory sections in order to understand the abbreviations, symbols, and set-up of the volume to avoid confusion and to get optimal use from the source. This reference is a wonderful expansion of Gospel commentaries, and is one of the only books of its kind.
Popularity is calculated by comparing this book's number of views to our most commonly read book. Popularity is calculated by comparing this book's number of editions to the book with the largest number of editions.