Collected Writings of John Murray

4 Volume Set

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Weight 6.98 lbs
Dimensions 9.5 × 6.5 × 5.65 in
ISBN 9780851513966



General Theology, Jesus Christ, The Church, The Lord's Supper, The Lord's Day

Original Pub Date


Banner Pub Date

Oct 1, 1982

Page Count




Book Description

The 4 volume set of the writings of Professor John Murray (1898-1975), who was recognized in his own lifetime as one of the leading Reformed theologians in the English-speaking world.

Volume 1 contains the most important of John Murray’s shorter writings and addresses between the years 1935 and 1973. They have been placed together in this opening volume of his Collected Writings as the best introduction to his thought on wide range of Christian truth. Murray’s belief was that, while the expression of truth ‘may be expanded indefinitely and furnish nourishment for the highest intellects to eternity’, it is also capable of presentation in popular and generally-understood terms. Accordingly, he speaks in these pages not so much to students as to the church at large in this critical century of her history. Such chapters as ‘Some Necessary Emphases in Preaching’, ‘The Power of the Holy Spirit’, and ‘The Church of Mission’, show how thoroughly he understood the great inadequacies of much contemporary Christianity.

Volume 2 of his Collected Writings provides virtually John Murray’s own selection from his articles and lectures in systematic theology. In it will be found definitive treatments of subjects upon which, in the judgement of many, he advanced the frontiers of reformed theology and gave fresh elucidation of biblical truth. This is most evident in the chapters on Adamic Administration and Definitive Sanctification, but the seed-thoughts of further insight are also clearly evident in many other places.

The arrangement is in seven sections which deal comprehensively with the themes of Man, Common Grace, Christ and Redemption (2 sections), Sanctification , Church and Sacraments, and the Last Things. To the authors own selection the publishers have added material from his class lectures. None of the 36 chapters has previously appeared in any of John Murray’s volumes.

Volume 3 of Murray’s Collected Writings brings to the reader both the story of his life and some of the choicest fruit of his ministry. Since the publication of volumes one and two of the Collected Writings of John Murray, this third volume in the series has been eagerly awaited. As promised, it contains an extensive account of Murray’s life and the first published collection of his sermons. Added to these are the penetrating and valuable book reviews which he contributed to The Westminster Theological Journal during the period 1939-1953. Iain H. Murray’s biography of John Murray traces his life from his boyhood days in the north of Scotland at the turn of the century, through the First World War (in which he suffered the loss of one eye), his theological training at Princeton and his long ministry as a Seminary Professor in Philadelphia, until his retirement, his return to his native Scotland, and his late marriage and brief period of fatherhood. The biography closes with a moving account of his last days during the early months of 1974.

Volume 4, Studies in Theology, is the concluding volume in the Collected Writings of John Murray. Like the preceding volumes it presents a selection of the finest work, produced mainly during his long and distinguished ministry as Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Volume 4 includes articles dealing with several areas of doctrine which lay close to Murray’s heart. Among them is the hitherto unpublished work, ‘Jesus, the Son of God’, which is possibly his last piece of theological writing. Its chief characteristic – as with all of Murray’s writings – lies in the way in which the text of Scripture suffuses everything he says. This concern to be thoroughly biblical applied also to his doctrine of Scripture, to Christology, and to his understanding of the proclamation of the gospel and the Christian ethic. Outstanding articles in each of these areas may be found in these pages.

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3 testimonials for Collected Writings of John Murray

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  1. Benjamin Lucas

    A wonderful set. Volumes 2 & 4 have proved of particular value to me. Exegetically and theologically deep, Murray isn’t a victim of the contemporary (and erroneous!) separation of ‘biblical studies’ from ‘theology’. A great voice to have on my shelf. Great to be able to sit under his ministry.

  2. Reagan Marsh

    John Murray (1898-1975) was a leading Scottish-born Reformed theologian of the 20th century. He began his teaching career at Princeton in 1929, but left in 1930 to serve as professor of systematic theology at Westminster Seminary. Teaching alongside legends like Machen, Warfield, and Van Til, he wrote prolifically. A large portion of his corpus is preserved in the four-volume Collected Writings of John Murray.

    The blessing of encountering John Murray’s thought begins with its presentation. Nobody packs books like Banner. Four attractive, cloth-bound, jacketed volumes fit comfortably in the hand, despite being roughly ½” taller than Banner’s various Puritan sets (Flavel, Owen, etc.) Sewn bindings and quality craftsmanship ensure that the physical books will provide many happy years of use.

    The content itself matches the quality of the set. While Murray was unique in some of his views – his reformulations of the covenant of works (I.231-36; IV.216-40) and sanctification (II.47-59), his reluctance to affirm a formal pactum salutis while asserting an ‘inter-trinitarian counsel of salvation,’ (IV.234-40; I.73), and his questions about the distinction between the visible and invisible church (I.231-36) come immediately to mind – these volumes show him to be a Reformed thinker marked by exegetical precision, theological depth, and pastoral earnestness. Indeed, the 1966 General Assembly commended his “exactness in the study of Holy Scripture, and…deep reverence for its doctrine.”

    I recommend beginning reading his writings in volume III, which provides a fascinating account of his life. Though given to a life of biblical and theological scholarship, his biography shows Murray a faithful churchman who loved the gospel.

    In volume I, ‘The Claims of Truth,’ we meet Murray the teacher; the book consists primarily of brief essays and addresses to various Christian organizations. Of particular interest were his remarks on the Fourth Commandment and treatment of John 3:16.

    Volume II, ‘Systematic Theology,’ introduces Murray the dogmatician, and is as close as he came to producing a formal systematic theology. Chapters helpfully and clearly engage the doctrines of man, salvation, grace, sanctification, ecclesiology, and last things. Even where one differs, his clear, compelling logic is appreciated.

    Volume III, ‘Life; Sermons; Reviews,’ allows us to glimpse Murray the man and preacher. His fascinating biography, along with nineteen sermon manuscripts, eight Communion addresses, and twenty-eight book reviews comprise this book. Sermons on prayer (#2) and Scripture (#17) were uniquely edifying. The forty-nine book reviews found in volumes III and IV showcase bold biblical conviction and an impressive breadth of theological engagement.

    In volume IV, ‘Studies in Theology,’ we encounter Murray the exegete and scholar. The chapters here, many of which originally appeared in theological journals, provide valuable biblical, historical, and doctrinal instruction.

    Murray waited until later in life to write much, because he ‘did not want to withdraw what [he] wrote!’ (III.100). The fruit of that patience marks these works aimed at developing ‘intelligent piety.’ The reader who takes these volumes under careful study will be better equipped to progress toward such a goal, in knowledge of the exalted Christ whom John Murray loved.

    *Disclosure: I received these books at no charge in exchange for an unbiased review.

  3. Keifer Navey

    Years ago I read “Redemption: Accomplished and Applied” and it was one of the most influential and informative books on my theology. Why it took me so long to get to the rest of his works, I’m not sure but I’m glad I stopped procrastinating. first volume of John Murray feels less like a collection of essays and more like a lively Q&A session. The wide variety covered in 374 pages will answer a lot of questions but leave you wanting more. Thankfully there’s 3 more volumes after this.

    For not being a systematic theology, the first volume covers a lot of ground albeit very surface level. He looks at the study of the Bible, the infallibility of Scripture, the unity of the Bible, the atonement, and the advent. And that’s just the first 100 pages. If you’re looking for a place to get started with John Murray, I’d say this is probably the best place because how balanced the book is in it’s range. It’s very accessible but you will learn more about where he stands on something with only brief explanations.

    Volume Two features select lectures in Systematic Theology. This was the volume I was most eager to read and it did not disappoint. Volume One eases you in, whereas Volume Two jumps straight into the origin and nature of man and Trichotomy. Section two is a single but lengthy chapter on common grace, but sections three and four are Murray’s specialty in the doctrine of Salvation. From there he discusses sanctification, church government and use of the sacraments, and finally two chapters on the last things.

    Now, Volumes Three and Four might be tougher for most folks to read. The last half of both volumes are numerous reviews from John Murray of other theological works. Many of them are short, some limited to a single paragraph but to be honest, I couldn’t make my way through most of them because I had not heard or was unfamiliar with many. But there are a lot of names that pop up in those reviews such as Athanasius, Warfield, Calvin, Vos, Berkhof, Barth, and Ridderbos. Volume three has a biography and nine-teen sermons. Volume Four has more works in theology that highly interesting and features four chapters of interaction with Calvin. I disagree with Murray’s covenant theology but I wouldn’t let that discourage anyone from reading these impressive books.

    I would be blessed to remember half of what Murray forgot in his lifetime. He was truly a brilliant and godly man and these four magnificent volumes from the Banner showcase that perfectly!

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