I have long been interested in John Gill (1697-1771). In standard histories of the English Calvinistic Baptists he usually gets blamed for the decline that came upon this community in the 18th century. It’s a judgment that has poisoned many against his very name and they want nothing to do with the man. I think the actual impact of Gill upon the Baptists of his day, though, is far more positive than the usual reading of his life allows and a much more complex story than these histories present. In this vein it was good to find this blog from Kevin T. Bauder, the President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota, about his reading of Gill: Biblical Languages Then and Now (@ Nos Sobrii ). Bauder begins thus:
“I’ve been spending a good bit of time lately in some of John Gill’s commentaries. His treatments are in certain ways typical of the Puritan writers (not that Gill was a Puritan—just that these similarities do exist). He was quite verbose, which does more than his profundity to account for the remarkable length of his volumes. He was skilled with logic and argued well. He was enormously learned by the standards of his day, and mastered the biblical languages to the level at which they were then known.”
He goes on to speak of the deficiencies of Gill’s knowledge by today’s standards. But I am thrilled that Gill is being read.