Perhaps fewer men have been more neglected than John Gill (1697-1771). In fact, few Reformed Baptist read Gill, often associating him with Hyper-Calvinism and Antinomianism. Yet, it has been my experience that few people have read Gill for themselves, often merely taking for granted what they’ve heard. What Spurgeon said of Gill’s Song of Solomon could be said of his works as a whole: “Those who despise it, have never read it, or are incapable of elevated spiritual feelings.” Now, on the front end, I confess Gill was not without faults. He was a good man, not perfect. Yet, as I shall attempt to show, John Gill deserves a far greater respect and esteem than he often receives.
1. He was Reformed. Gill tirelessly defended that system commonly called Calvinism. “Perhaps, no man, since the days of St. Augustine, has written so largely, in defence of the system of Grace; and, certainly, no man has treated that momentous subject, in all its branches, more closely, judiciously, and successfully” (Toplady). Thus if you love to read those doctrines that best extol God and His free grace—read Gill.
2. He was Baptistic. He wrote several major works on baptism: The Ancient Mode of Baptism by Immersion (1726), and Antipedobaptism, or, Infant Sprinkling an Innovation (1753). His Reformed and Baptist convictions are fully seen in his Body of Divinity, the first systematic theology written from a baptistic perspective. “John Gill can be claimed to be the first and greatest Baptist who stood in the traditions of the Reformers and Puritans to work out a definite systematic theology for his own church and the Baptist movement as a whole” (Ella). Thus if you love to read works from our Baptist forefathers—read Gill.
3. He was theological. No man defended the truth more in the eighteenth Century, than did John Gill. He wrote against Deism, Liberalism, Catholicism, Pedobaptism, Anglicanism, Arminianism, and Antinomianism. “The Doctor considered not any subject superficially, or by halves. As deeply as human sagacity, enlightened by grace, could penetrate, he went to the bottom of every thing he engaged in” (Toplady). Gill’s theological works are characterized by precision and profound Scriptural and logical arguments. Thus if you love to read works that defend the old paths—read Gill.
4. He was pastoral. “Gill was a prolific author and it is commonly assumed that he spent most of his time writing with a view to publication, thus spending far less time on sermon preparation and pastoral work. The fact is that most of the over 10,000 pages of his works started life as sermon notes or grew out of conversations with his church members and fellow ministers” (Ella). He pastored the same church for 51 years, receiving the deepest love and adoration from his people. His sermons are characterized by pastoral care and sensitivity. Thus if you love to read sermons that emphasize warm-hearted experimental religion—read Gill.
5. He was Christocentric. This is perhaps the greatest reason to read Gill. His commentaries, sermons, tracks, and Body of Divinity are full of Christ. This becomes evident by merely considering his sermon titles: The Fullness of the Mediator; Christ the Savior from the Tempest; The Necessity of Christ’s Making Satisfaction for Sin, Proved and Confirmed; The Appearance of Christ in Human Nature, and His Discoveries of Himself to His People, Comparable to the Light of the Morning; The Manifestation of Christ as a Savior to his People a Cause of Great Joy. Furthermore, Gill excelled at preaching Christ from the OT Scriptures: The Meat-Offering Typical both of Christ and of His People; The Table and Show-Bread, Typical of Christ and His Church; The Wave-Sheaf Typical of Christ; Solomon’s Temple a Figure of the Church: and the Two Pillars, Jachin and Boas, Typical of Christ; David a Type of Christ. Thus if you love to read Christ-exalting and glorifying material—read Gill.
In short, while Gill was not without his faults, it is my opinion, his writings deserve a larger reading than they presently have. In the words of Augustus Toplady: “While true religion, and sound learning, have a single friend in the British empire, the works and name of Gill will be precious and revered.”Mike Waters Heritage Reformed Baptist Church North Canton, Ohio
 Gill’s strengths were often his weaknesses: (1) in emphasizing God’s eternal purposes he may have failed to stress their application in time, and (2) in attempting to interpret the OT he is accused of finding Christ where He was never intended.
 There are fundamentally three sources of Gill’s writings: (1) his commentary on the Old and New Testaments, (2) his Body of Divinity, which consists of two parts, Doctrinal and Practical Theology, and (3) a multivolume set of Sermons and Tracks which includes a selection of sermons and his major theological works. Much, if not all of these writings can be purchased at www.gospelmissionbooks.com