Skip to content ↓

The Life of John Murray

Book Reviews Collection cover image

John Murray, long-time professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, was, until his death in 1975, widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost Reformed theologians. Iain Murray (no relation to John Murray) is regarded as one of the world’s foremost Reformed biographers. And here, in The Life of John Murray, the biographer brings us the life of the theologian.

John Murray was born in 1898 Badbea, in Sutherland county, Scotland. Coming from the long line of Scottish Presbyterianism, Murray was trained from a young age to know and to treasure the Bible and the doctrine it contains. He served in the British Army in the First World War and soon after the war’s end took up studies in theology. He studied first at the University of Glasgow and then at Princeton Theological Seminary where he studied under such notables as J. Gresham Machen and Geerhardus Vos. In 1929 he was asked to teach systematic theology at Princeton and accepted on the condition that he would only have to teach a single year. His limited agreement was providential, for the next year many of the faculty members, in the face of the theological liberalism polluting Princeton, left to found Westminster Theological Seminary. Murray was soon encouraged to join the faculty at the new school and did so, teaching there until 1966.

He retired to his native Scotland where, at the ripe old age of 69, he married and soon became the father of two children. He died in 1975, leaving a rich legacy of orthodox theology and a life lived for the glory of God.

Originally published to accompany the four volume set of The Collected Writings of John Murray, this biography, weighing in at just over 200 pages, describes Murray’s life, focusing on his contributions to theological discourse, on his impact on his students, and on his relationships with other pastors and theologians. We’d expect nothing less than excellence from the pen of Iain Murray and he does not disappoint. The book deals well and deals fairly with this eminent theologian. It’s an interesting glimpse of a life of singular purpose and particular godliness. I am glad to recommend it.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (March 30)

    A La Carte: What happens when half of your opponents in a women’s soccer match are men? / Do nine out of ten churched students actually drop out of church after high school? / The genius of the church at the turn of the age / Seventh year sabbath / An overlooked argument for the…

  • Are We Living in the Last Days

    Are We Living in the Last Days?

    The world is a mess. The world is a mess and seems to be getting messier. I could draw up an inventory of all the wars and conflicts, the diseases and disasters, the rise of immorality and decline of virtue, but that would be to tell you what you have already observed and already know.…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (March 29)

    A La Carte: How to protect your kids from sexual abuse / Talk to God about what hurts / How’s your Bible reading plan going? / Resentment between men and women in the church / and more.

  • A Batch of New Books for Kids

    A Batch of New Books for Kids (and Teens)

    Every month I put together a roundup of new and notable books for grownup readers. But I also receive a lot of books for kids and like to put together the occasional roundup of these books as well. So today I bring you a whole big batch of new books for kids of all ages…

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (March 28)

    A La Carte: The case against the abortion pill / What I’ve learned about grieving with hope / Heartbreaking deception: teen girls, social media, and body image / Could podcasts save the church from stupidity? / Count it all joy / and more.

  • What God Wants You To Forget

    What God Wants You To Forget

    We are never far from reminding God of our credentials, of providing him with a curriculum vitae that lays out all we are, all we have been through, and all we have accomplished for his sake. We are never far from making the subtle turn from grace to merit, from what is freely given to…