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

    A La Carte (July 23)

    A La Carte: Connection and commitment / When your mind gets stuck / Prayer postures in the Bible / Fading with age / Does God care about how I work? / 7 essential things to know about God’s holiness / and more.

  • Evangelize 2024: Growing a Church That Proclaims The Gospel

    This week the blog is sponsored by Matthias Media. Does your evangelistic passion match the New Testament call to proclaim Christ’s name to all people? God calls on us to partner with him in “hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet 3:12) by laboring to make people ready for that day, having…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 22)

    A La Carte: No facts or evidence required / Unity is not the same as total agreement / Christians and magic / Beware of local cults / In the school of contentment / Books by Jen Wilkin / and more.

  • The Hands and Feet of the Bible

    The Hands and Feet of the Bible

    The Bible has life and the Bible brings life because it has been spoken by God. The Bible’s life, its voice, its feet, and hands are the life, voice, feet, and hands of God extended toward his people. For that reason among others it is always worthy of our time, our attention, and our dedication.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (July 20)

    A La Carte: The wedding of the century / Why grieving people need a theology of giving / God desires your happiness / Sincere love and hospitality in the church / Real life is a better teacher than social media / and more.