J. Alec Motyer

The Prophecy of Isaiah

I was saved in 1977 in an evangelical Church of England church in Stalybridge, near Manchester, England. It follows that my early theological “heroes” would be those within evangelical Anglicanism. One of those, whose writings would have been most influential in my formative years as a Christian, was Alec Motyer. At the time, he was known as the Principal of Trinity Theological College, Bristol. He was already the author of a number of easy-to-read evangelical commentaries on the Bible.

When I was at the University of Nottingham, I was involved in the Christian Union group. We heard  that Motyer was getting leave of absence from the college, so that he could concentrate on researching and writing a commentary on Isaiah. It was expected that this commentary would be of huge importance.

The years went by. Then, in 1993, came the publishing event that we had waited a decade and a half for – the publication of Motyer's magnum opus, The Prophecy of Isaiah. Twenty-three years later, there is no better commentary on the Bible book that Motyer described as the 5th Gospel – an apt description, in my opinion.

I’m not really a scholar. I’m just a man who loves the Word of God.- Alec Motyer

It is my birthday today. That is of no importance. But many people in evangelical churches of many denominations will note August 26th from now on as the day that J. Alec Motyer went to be with the Lord, whom he served so well.

In 2000, Motyer was interviewed by Geoff Thomas for the Banner of Truth magazine. I just love the first paragraph of the interview.

“I’m not really a scholar,” says J. Alec Motyer softly, “I’m just a man who loves the Word of God.” Now retired as principal of Trinity College in Bristol, England, Motyer has spent his professional career studying the Bible. However, he learned to love the Scriptures at his grandmother’s knee in Ireland. “Grandma was, in worldly terms, a comparatively uneducated lady,” Motyer says, “but she was a great Bible woman. Biblical studies have simply confirmed that which I learned from Grandma – that the Bible is the Word of God – and made it a coherently held position.” He adds, “I had a conversion experience when I was 15, but I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love the Word of God.”[1]

While you and I may not have had godly grandparents, can we say that, since our conversion, there has never been a time when we didn't love the Word of God? In this, Motyer's testimony is to be admired and imitated by today's young Christians.


[1] Thomas, G. (2000), J. Alec Motyer, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth)

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