C.H. Spurgeon, in his famous work, Commenting and Commentaries, placed Davenant on Colossians in the first rank of commentaries on this Pauline epistle and approvingly quoted the words of Charles Bridges about this volume: ‘I know no exposition upon a detached portion of Scripture (with the single exception of Owen on the Hebrews) that will compare with it in all parts…in depth, accuracy, and discursiveness.’
On the title page of an old Latin edition a satisfied reader made a note of his deep appreciation for Davenant’s masterpiece: ‘Don’t abuse this good old book: for it is an extraordinary piece, and the best Exposition on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians that ever was published…and I am afraid there will never be a better so long as the world endures.’
The preacher James Hervey expressed his appreciation of this commentary in more measured terms. ‘For perspicuity of style and accuracy of method; for judgment in discerning and fidelity in representing the Apostle’s meaning; for strength of argument in refuting errors, and felicity of invention in deducing practical doctrines, tending both to the establishment of faith, and the cultivation of holiness, it is inferior to no writing of the kind; and richly deserves to be read, to be studied, to be imitated, by our young divines.’
On the strength of such high recommendations as these, the Trust is making available this ‘much praised’ commentary with the prayer that it will continue to instruct, encourage, and sanctify the faith and life of Christian people in the 21st century.
John Davenant (c. 1576-1641), was a graduate of Cambridge. At the age of thirty-three he was awarded his D.D. and was made Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity in the University. A member of the Church of England delegation to the Synod of Dort, King James I later appointed him Bishop of Salisbury in 1621, a position he was to retain until his death in 1641.