Preacher Feature: James Montgomery Boice
"The root of pride is saying that we can do without God."
James Montgomery Boice
[as quoted in The Complete Gathered Gold]
The above quotation from James Montgomery Boice is illustrative of his life and work. That is, Boice dedicated his life to preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ as an antidote to the sin that separates humanity from God.
Born in 1938, James M. Boice has become synonymous with 20th century expository preaching. Many would have been intimidated to follow the late great Donald Grey Barnhouse at 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, but Boice recognized the calling upon his life to preach God’s Word in this historic urban congregation. From 1968 to 2000, Boice faithfully preached the entire Bible, not afraid to tackle any passage or difficult subject often ignored by other preachers. Boice’s coverage of the Bible was so complete in his expository preaching that his sermons have been published as commentaries on both the Old and New Testaments, benefitting other pastors as a model of expository preaching and any individual who wants to better understand the Scriptures.
Boice pastored 10th Presbyterian at a time when many churches were abandoning the urban locations for the suburbs. This was not even a consideration for Boice, who stressed the need not only for witness in the cities, but also for active engagement with universities and local politics—the locus of decision-makers and influencers that had wide-ranging impact in our nation.
During the time of Boice’s ministry at 10th Presbyterian, his reach expanded to a worldwide audience that continues to this day. His sermons were published as the 27-volume Boice Expositional Commentary, released for the Accordance Library today, and he is also the author of dozens of other titles. He can still be heard on the radio in repeats of The Bible Study Hour. Active in Evangelical life, Boice also served as chair of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy and was a founding member of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.
From an earthly (but surely not eternal) perspective, James M. Boice’s ministry was cut short when he died of liver cancer at the age of 61. Shortly before Boice’s death, Thom Schreiner made these remarks in the Summer, 2000, issue of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology:
I recently heard some words from James Montgomery Boice, the pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Boice has been diagnosed with liver cancer and his prospects for life are not encouraging. He reminded the congregation of God’s sovereignty in the situation, rejecting the idea that God was not in control. But he said that what has struck him even more powerfully is the goodness of God. God is sovereign and he loves us. God is in control and he has a tender and ardent love for his children.
To the end, James Montgomery Boice lived a life fully dependent upon God and His revealed Word, while preaching for others to do the same. His legacy will continue to draw others closer to a complete and abundant life that glorifies God.