A Brief Biography of and Quotes from Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry was born October 18, 1662 in Wales, though he lived most of his life in England. His father, Philip, had been a cleric in the Church of England but had just been ejected due to the Act of Uniformity. A man of some means, Philip was still able to see that Matthew had a good education. He was very fond of books, and his mother Katharine often had to shoo him outside for fresh air.

Though he began studying law, he soon gave it up to learn theology instead. In 1687, he became minister at a Presbyterian congregation in Chester. He later founded the Presbyterian Chapel in Trinity Street, and on June 22, 1714, he died suddenly of apoplexy.

Known best for his six volumes of commentary known as Exposition of the Old and New Testaments (or Complete Commentary), Matthew Henry went verse by verse through the Bible exhaustively. He made it from Genesis to Acts before his sudden death, and the remainder was finished by thirteen other ministers using notes from those who had listened to Matthew Henry’s sermons.

A Brief Biography of and Quotes from Matthew Henry


Women were created from the rib of man to be beside him, not from his head to top him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from under his arm to be protected by him, near to his heart to be loved by him.

Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces.

Peace is such a precious jewel that I would give anything for it but truth.

The way to preserve the peace of the church is to preserve its purity.

No man will say, “There is no God” ‘til he is so hardened in sin that it has become his interest that there should be none to call him to account.

It is easy to be religious when religion is in fashion; but it is an evidence of strong faith and resolution to swim against a stream to heaven, and to appear for God when no one else appears for Him.

A modest dress is a very good thing, if it be the genuine indication of a humble heart, and is to instruct; but it is a bad thing if it be the hypocritical disguise of a proud ambitious heart, and is to deceive. Let men be really as good as they seem to be, but not seem to be better than really they are.

Men cannot expect to do ill and fare well, but to find that done to them which they did to others.

The beauty of holiness is that which the grave, that consumes all other beauty, cannot touch, or do any damage to.

The Christian religion is the religion of sinners, of such as have sinned, and in whom sin in some measure still dwells.

The Christian life is a life of continued repentance, humiliation for and mortification of sin, of continual faith in, thankfulness for, and love to the Redeemer, and hopeful joyful expectation of a day of glorious redemption, in which the believer shall be fully and finally acquitted, and sin abolished for ever.

If you take a book into your hands, be it ‘God’s book, or any other useful good book,’ rely on God to make it profitable to you. Do not waste time reading unprofitable books. When you read, do so not out of vain curiosity but with love for God’s kingdom, compassion for human beings, and the intent to turn what you learn into prayers and praises.

When God intends great mercy for his people, he first of all sets them praying.

The anger of a meek man is like fire struck out of steel, hard to be got out, and when it is, soon gone.

No sooner was the wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed.

None so deaf as those that will not hear. None so blind as those that will not see.

It is not talking but walking that will bring us to heaven.

Shallows where a lamb could wade and depths where an elephant would drown.

Whatever we have of this world in our hands, our care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it come between us and Christ.

No attribute of God is more dreadful to sinners than His holiness.

It is good for us to keep some account of our prayers, that we may not unsay them in our practice.

Goodness makes greatness truly valuable, and greatness makes goodness much more serviceable.

It is good news, worthy of all acceptation; and yet not too good to be true.

Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in gay, fine colours, that are but skin-deep.

The first lesson in Christ’s school is self-denial.

Tears are a tribute to our deceased friends. When the body is sown, it must be watered. But we must not sorrow as those that have no hope; for we have a good hope through grace both concerning them and concerning ourselves.

Those who complain most are most to be complained of.

Cast not away your confidence because God defers His performances. That which does not come in your time, will be hastened in His time, which is always the more convenient season. God will work when He pleases, how He pleases, and by what means He pleases. He is not bound to keep our time, but He will perform His word, honour our faith, and reward them that diligently seek Him.

Grace is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God to mankind.

Many mourn for their sins that do not truly repent of them, weep bitterly for them, and yet continue in love and league with them.

Hope for the best, get ready for the worst, and then take what God chooses to send.

We should take heed of pride; it is a sin that turned angels into devils.

The Bible is a letter God has sent to us; prayer is a letter we send to him.

The more reverence we have for the Word of God, the more joy we shall find in it.

Prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thorns in the flesh, we should give ourselves to prayer. If an answer be not given to the first prayer, nor to the second, we are to continue praying. Troubles are sent to teach us to pray; and are continued, to teach us to continue instant in prayer.