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John Gill

John Gill (November 23, 1697-October 14, 1771) was an English Baptist, a biblical scholar, and a staunch Calvinist. Gill's relationship with hyper-Calvinism is a matter of academic debate.

He was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire. In his youth, he attended Kettering Grammar School, mastering the Latin classics and learning Greek by age eleven. The young scholar continued self-study in everything from logic to Hebrew. His love for Hebrew would follow Gill throughout his life.

At the age of about twelve, Gill heard a sermon from his pastor, William Wallis, on the text, "And the Lord called unto Adam, and said unto him, where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9). The message stayed with Gill and eventually led to his conversion. It was not until seven years later that young John made a public profession when he was almost nineteen years of age.

His first pastoral work was as an intern assisting John Davis at Higham Ferrers in 1718 at age twenty one. He was subsequently called to pastor the Strict Baptist church at Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark in 1719. In 1757, his congregation needed larger premises and moved to a Carter Lane, St. Olave's Street, Southwark. His pastorate lasted 51 years. This Baptist Church was once pastored by Benjamin Keach and would later become the New Park Street Chapel and then the Metropolitan Tabernacle pastored by Charles Spurgeon.

During Gill's ministry the church strongly supported the preaching of George Whitefield at nearby Kennington Common.

In 1748, Gill was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen. He was a profound scholar and a prolific author. His most important works are:
  • The Doctrine of the Trinity Stated and Vindicated (London, 1731)
  • The Cause of God and Truth (4 parts, 1735-8), a retort to Daniel Whitby's Five Points
  • An Exposition of the New Testament (3 vols., 1746-8), which with his Exposition of the Old Testament (6 vols., 1748-63) forms his magnum opus
  • A Dissertation on the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language (1767)
  • A Body of Doctrinal Divinity (1767)
  • A Body of Practical Divinity (1770).

John Gill is the first major writing Baptist theologian. His work retains its influence into the twenty-first century. Gill's relationship with hyper-Calvinism in English Baptist life is a matter of debate. Peter Toon has argued that Gill was himself a hyper-Calvinist, which would make Gill the father of Baptist hyper-Calvinism. Tom Nettles has argued that Gill was not a hyper-Calvinist himself, which would make him merely a precursor and hero to Baptist hyper-Calvinists.

John Gill was one of the most influential Baptist thinkers and pastors of his day, and all of his writings are contained in this massive 19 volume collection. Known for his expository works on all of Scripture and for compiling a practical book of theology for his congregation, he is most famous for his passionate defense of Calvinism and the sovereignty of God in all situations. In Sermons and Tracts, vol. 3, Gill includes his famous essays, The Doctrine of the Trinity Stated and Vindicated and A Dissertation Concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowel-Points, and Accents.

Gill’s writings helped to define and encourage Reformed Baptist thinking in the 18th century. Considered to be the first major Baptist scholar, Gill continues to shape modern Calvinism. Although modern scholars debate about Gill’s role as the father of Baptist hyper-Calvinism, it cannot be denied that at the very least, he was a forerunner to that tradition. During his lifetime, Gill and his church backed the preaching and ministry of George Whitefield. His work represents not only essential eighteenth-century biblical scholarship, but a turning point in Reformed theology.

Gill’s commentaries are still widely used today by laity and pastors, being theologically sound and practical for daily study. Gill makes the Scripture accessible and applicable to the everyday reader, believing that sound doctrine impacts daily life. Containing over 12,000 pages, The Works of John Gill is an essential resource for any student of the Scriptures and of Reformed thinking. Perfect for the general reader, professors, and Bible scholars, these 19 volumes will enlighten, encourage, and stimulate thinking and application. Gill’s writings include everything from exposition, commentary, essays, and a biography to help aid understanding of this prominent man of faith and his works. The Logos edition makes study easy by linking with every Scripture reference to the Bibles in your library.

John Gill was born in 1697 in England. A Baptist clergyman, Gill was also a biblical scholar, learning Latin and Greek by age 11. He was also a fervent Reformed thinker, holding to the Five Points of Calvinism. Gill is considered by many to be the father of hyper-Calvinism. He was a preacher at the Strict Baptist Church for fifty–one years, which later became the Metropolitan Tabernacle, pastorate of Charles Spurgeon. Because of his considerable scholarship, Gill was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Aberdeen in 1748. He is most known for being the author of definitive academic works, including, The Doctrine of the Trinity Stated and Vindicated, The Cause of God and Truth, and A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, all of which are included in this collection. Gill died in 1771.

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