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Henry Cowles

Right now, you can get the best price on the Henry Cowles Commentary Series, which includes all 16 volumes of Cowles’ commentaries.

Who was Henry Cowles?

Henry Cowles was born on April 24, 1803 in Norfolk, Connecticut. After a childhood working on his family’s farm, he entered Yale College in 1822, with the dream of going into congregational ministry. He graduated from Yale in 1826 and enrolled in Yale’s Theological Department. In 1828, Cowles was licensed to preach by the Litchfield North Association.

In 1835, Rev. Cowles was hired as professor of languages at Oberlin College. Shortly after he joined the staff at Oberlin, he teamed up with abolitionists around the state to form the Ohio Anti-Slavery Society. In 1837, Cowles became professor of ecclesiastical history and pastoral theology at Oberlin Theological Seminary, and in 1840, he was named professor of the literature of the Old Testament.

Upon retiring, Cowles assumed part-time editorial work for the Oberlin Evangelist. From 1863 until his death in 1881, Cowles worked almost exclusively on writing biblical commentaries. What began as a project on the Old Testament expanded to include the entire Bible, with 16 published volumes.

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Each volume begins with a lengthy introduction, which provides contextual information. Much of the commentary is verse by verse, though Cowles treats the Pentateuch and historical books topically in chronological order. Although Cowles makes full use of his original-language expertise by explaining literary and linguistic background as necessary, this commentary series is accessible for English-only Bible study. It’s beneficial for both pastors and scholars, as well as lay readers.

Many of these volumes also contain essays on relevant theological topics—an essay on atonement in the volume on Hebrews, an essay on prophecy and eschatology appended to Revelation, an essay on theodicy appended to the volume on the Pastoral Epistles, and more.

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