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The Beauty (and History) of Scotland


My EPIC church history journey continues to take me around the world. Most recently I traveled through Scotland to research its history and admire its beauty. Here’s a brief overview of some of what I found and experienced.

My thanks goes to Zondervan for sponsoring the video to draw your attention to the definitive third edition of Nabeel Qureshi’s Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. You can learn all about it here.


Tim: This video is made with thanks to our sponsor, Zondervan. They want you to know about the new definitive edition of Nabeel Qureshi’s excellent book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. I’ll tell you more about it in just a moment.

Considering his prominence, there are not that many statues of John Knox around Scotland. I suppose that’s fitting though since he presided over an era in church history when the Protestant’s were doing what they could to get rid of images. Probably the last thing he would have wanted is sculptures or statues of himself. So there’s one here, kind of ironically I guess, in St. Gile’s Cathedral. I know there’s another in Glasgow. Not that many around. Of course, this is Knox, the Reformer, the great man of the Word, holding a Bible, gesturing to an open Bible. It’s a fitting presentation of who he was, what he was all about.

John Knox is, of course, one of the towering figures of church history, yet believe it or not, he’s buried in one of the most obscure places you can imagine, in the parking lot outside St. Giles Cathedral. We’ll go see if we can find the spot or maybe there’s a car parked over the top of it today.

Parking spot 23 at St. Giles Cathedral is the burial place of John Knox. It says, “The above stone marks the approximate site of the burial in St. Giles graveyard of John Knox, the great Scottish divine, who died 24 November 1572.”

John Knox’s house here along the royal mile marks about the halfway point of the street. The royal mile runs from Edinburgh Castle up at the top all the way down to Holyrood Palace down at the bottom. We’re here at Knox’s house and just right above us, there is St. Giles Cathedral where he ministered for a number of years.

Words that nicely summarize the life of Knox, “Rendering my troubled and sorrowful spirit into the hands of the eternal God, earnestly trusting at His good pleasure to be freed from the cares of this miserable life and to rest with Christ Jesus my only hope and life.” Great prayer. Strangely, they also have these last words of Mary, Queen of Scots, she and Knox are great enemies. Knox trying to bring the Gospel into the nation, trying to make this a Protestant nation, where there’d be freedom of worship, Mary doing all she could to root out Protestantism and return the nation to its Catholic roots. “Into they hands O God, I commend my soul.”

The Reformation was all about preaching. It was rediscovering God’s Word and then preaching God’s Word and trusting the Word of God to do its work, to be powerful and effective. This pulpit was the pulpit in St. Giles where John Knox ministered. Whenever you see John Knox, statues of him, sculptures of him, he’s invariably holding the Word of God. He was first a preacher. So it’s fun to imagine him standing up here, holding that Word, opening that Word, preaching that Word. Without preaching there’s no Reformation. Without the preaching of John Knox, there’s really no Reformation of Scotland.

Of course, John Knox is neither the beginning nor the end of the history of Christianity in this incredible land. There’s much more we need to see, many more trails we need to follow. If you want to see that though, you’ll have to wait for the full episode. In the meantime, here’s some photographs and here’s some footage of the rugged beauty of this incredible land.

Nabeel: If Christianity were true and it meant you had to give up everything to follow God, would you want to know the truth?

Tim: Nabeel Qureshi’s Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus has sold over 500 thousand units and been on the New York Times list of best sellers. It’s a phenomenal book that tells his story, from Islam to Christianity. Born in a loving Muslim home, began to question his faith and soon encountered the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s now available in a definitive 3rd edition that has some bonus content, as well as some new reflections. It has this new epilogue that shares how Nabeel told a friend of his about his decision to follow Christ. It contains some reflections on his life and legacy by his wife, Michelle. And it contains a new Afterward by Mark Mittelberg. You can learn more about it by visiting

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