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The Bruised Reed

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  722 ratings  ·  60 reviews
In this famous exposition of Isaiah 42:3, Sibbes unfolds the tender ministry of Jesus Christ, who is 'a physician good at all diseases, especially at the binding up of the broken heart'.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Banner of Truth (first published March 1st 1658)
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Confessions by Saint AugustineThe Pilgrim's Progress by John BunyanThe Reformed Pastor by Richard BaxterThe Latter Rain Covenant by D. Wesley MylandA Grammar of Christian Faith by Joe R. Jones
Canon of Theologians
6th out of 31 books — 9 voters
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Puritan Paperbacks
15th out of 44 books — 1 voter

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I read this book as part of a Puritan challenge, and have found it to be a very worthwhile book. The book was written by Richard Sibbes, who lived from 1577 to 1635, and was one of the most influential figures in the Puritan movement in the early part of the 17th century.

The book is based on Isaiah 42: 1 - 3
Isa 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
Isa 42:2 He will not cry aloud or li
Derek Brown
I think Martin Lloyd Jones' endorsement of this book is a good place to start: "I shall never cease to be grateful to...Richard Sibbs who was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired, and therefore subject in an unusual manner to the onslaughts of the devil...I found at that time that Richard Sibbes who was known in London in the early seventeenth century as 'The Heavenly Doctor Sibbes' was an unfailing remedy."

There are many reasons why we may feel like t
Alexis Neal
This exposition of Isaiah 42:3 ("A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench . . .") is, I believe, Sibbes' best known work. It has been consistently praised by theologians and preachers I respect and seems to be very highly regarded by all who've read it.

Except me, apparently.

Honestly, I found it rather underwhelming. Maybe I've just heard it talked up too much; maybe my expectations were unreasonably high. Whatever the reason, this book was kind of a letdown for
My introduction to Sibbes. Very fine work and a source of great encouragement for me being at a pause between two busy seasons of ministry.

Lloyd-Jones said:I shall never cease to be grateful to Richard Sibbes who was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired, and therefore subject in an unusual manner to the onsalughts of the devil. I found at that time that Richard Sibbes, who was known in London in the early seventeenth century as "The Heavely Doctor Sib
I picked up this title out of (to be honest) self-pity, wanting some comfort because I felt like I was being badly treated (thus, a bruised reed, right?). However, Sibbes' main premise is that every Christian is a bruised reed or a smoking flax, who still holds weakness even while emitting light. Sibbes' ethos throughout is both compassionate and erudite, hardly representing the stereotypical Puritan I grew up hearing about in public school.

Perhaps my favorite part, surprisingly, was Sibbes' enc
I love reading the works of those long before us. Their work will stand because of the integrity to the glory of God. The Bruised Reed is a work of the broken and bruised in spirit. It has reflection on the government of Jesus and the Gospel. I thought this was most insightful.
Steve Thomasma
A very good book. The first half of this book was very engaging and hard to put down. The second half of the book, while theologically sound, was extremely dry. I do not regret reading this, but it did take a lot longer than it should have.
Mitch Majeski
The mercy and favor of God towards the redeemed... this book may have been the most important for my soul this year.
Very encouraging. Simple gospel truths to store up and meditate on in order to fan the smoking flax into flame.
Short but wonderfully encouraging book on how Christ works in us. If you've ever struggled with wondering if Christ is "for" you or are facing spiritual discouragement, this is a great book for you. Below are a few select quotes.

"O beloved, it is a comfortable thing to conceive of Christ aright, to know what love, mercy and strength we have laid up for us in the breast of Christ. A good opinion of the physician, we say, is half the cure. Let us make use of this mercy and power of his every day i
Chad Gibbons
Okay, the Puritans have gotten a bad rap as killjoys, but these guys were awesome. They came on the scene in the mid 1500s and over the span of about a hundred years, they revolutionized nearly everything they came in contact with. These were a people who loved life, art, music, politics, religion and anything else they found worthy to be loved. Their heavy impact can still be felt today in nearly every aspect of the English speaking world.

One of their foremost influences was on literature. Duri
This, I think, will be one of those rare books that I read again and again. Almost every page was encouraging and helpful. I would read a page or two before reading my Bible in the mornings and I found it well-suited for that. Sibbes is gentle without excusing sin as he deals with weak Christians, or really I should say Christians in general, since I suppose we all feel our weakness in one way or another. He is also profound without being hard to understand. One of my favorite quotes is on page ...more
Spurgeon was right that Richard Sibbes scatters diamonds with both hands. This is an excellent treatment of how Christ nurtures bruised reeds and smoking wicks, Christians who are hurting and feel hardly alive. Sibbes has eyes to see grace and the direction that grace is taking someone, now matter how early or fledgling the beginning.
At times it was plodding and difficult to follow [it was written in 1630], but in many other places it was encouraging and helpful. Like most of the Puritan Paperbacks, the parts that people quote are the best parts, there are few hidden treasures. I would have given it a 3.5 if I could give halves.

I did find interesting in the last chapter that Sibbes says:
Satan will object, 'You are a great sinner.' We may answer, 'Christ is a strong Saviour.'

I had always heard that quote/idea "I am a great si
John Nash
Richard Sibbes is a legend! As Spurgeon said, this man really does "scatter emy arms and diamonds with both hands." I suppose it's worth noting that, besides the titles obvious allusion to Isaiah, this work is not an exegetical work by any means. It is a work for the heart; each and every sentence aimed at relieving some sorrow or pain in the reader. His definition of a smoking flax or a bruised reed are obviously his own creation, yet they are born from a thorough knowledge of our Lord and his ...more
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hmm, it's not so much that I think the points he's making are wrong, it's just I'm not sure they really are necessarily so definitely related to the Isaiah bruised reed passage. He kind of just takes that image and runs with it, making all sorts of connections I'm not sure are there with respect to the bruised reed passage. But I'm not a scholar, so maybe they're there....

while I technically finished, I really didn't pay clos
Amazing. It's pretty deep though, and since it was first written in 1630 it's no light read. It requires concentration and thought, and I'm willing to bet I'll be able to reread it multiple times and get more and more from it. In fact, that's what I plan on doing.

I'm surprised I've never heard of this before, because Richard Sibbes writes words of comfort and, more importantly, truth. Even though the writing sometimes has difficult wordings, he makes the truth of God very clear and simple. I wou
J. Alfred
Beautiful collection of sermons preached on that verse in Isaiah: "the bruised reed he will not break, and the smoking flax he will not quench." In Sibbes' (who was a puritan writing just before the English Civil War) hands this verse means that everyone who is in Christ is a bruised reed ("Christ bruises reeds that they may know that they are not oaks") and smoking flax (our good works [fire] are still always shot through with sin [smoke]). It is encouraging, sweet, and sound. At one point, he ...more
Oliver Pierce
Definitely worth digging into and putting some effort in. There many gems to be found and overall it's a very encouraging book. Yet still it is a Puritan book and you have to slow down a bit to think through the grammar. However also as Puritan book, it is soaked with scripture and worth the slow pace. I probably will re read this later and get even more out of it .
Todd Miles
For those who love the Puritans, this is a must-read. For those who do not yet love the Puritans, Richard Sibbes provides a fantastic introduction to the pastoral heart that characterizes so much Puritan literature. In "The Bruised Reed," Sibbes unpacks the implications of the gentle nature of Christ prophesied in Isa 42. The book is rooted solidly in Scripture and provides encouragement to the pastor to watch over their congregants with the tenderness of Christ.
Mark A Powell
Christians are encouraged to remember the mercy shown to us by Christ for salvation, and to understand that this same Christ continues to extend mercy to us each day of our lives, even when we stumble or fall. He will never leave us or forsake us. There is a great deal of truth squeezed into this little book, and I am quite honest when I say that it has instantly become one of my all-time favorites.
Keith Ray
Sibbes is very insightful. Some theologians have concerns regarding his thoughts on the way grace "prepares" the sinner to embrace Christ. I did not agree with everything he said, but I found the work thought provoking. I will read it again in the near future. Just a closing thought, if you don't read something because it will challenge your beliefs in an area then how are you going to learn?
Great humility-inducing book. Sibbes is an extremely honest pastoral writer whose experience comes through in his writing style. You can tell that he is not only expounding on scripture, but also speaking from years of walking with Jesus. Learning from guys like him how to successfully know and walk with the Lord is why I read the puritans.
Beautiful, pastoral work by Puritan pastor Richard Sibbes. The book deals with Christ's compassion towards the weak, and as such, is full of encouragement. It is interesting that Puritans tend to be strongly pastoral, given their reputation in modern America. Highly recommended for anyone struggling in faith or life. You will be blessed.
Evan Knies
I love this book.
Tim Chaney
There is a reason this book is considered a classic. It is fabulous! If you love the puritans, read it. If you dislike the puritans because you think they were heartless, read it.

This can be a weighty read at times but if you follow Sibbes' writing you will be uplifted and challenged!
Jul 09, 2009 Jonathan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who is hurting
A wonderfully heartfelt and truth-filled response to the one suffering in Christ. Christ heals the one-winged bird.

Does anyone know of a two-winged Christian?


Me neither.

(We all need Christ, we are not of ourselves, we need Christ. We need Him).
Alex Houston
This is a must read exposition of Isaiah 42:5 from the Puritan Richard Sibbes highlighting the tenderness of Christ's love for the suffering and struggling Christian. Read this book and you will see why Sibbes was affectionately called the "heavenly doctor".
Excellent book. As with all Puritan writings, one must take his time to meditate and to fully understand all that the author is trying to portray. Sibbes writes in a very picturesque way that helps the reader visualize theological concepts.
Marguerite Harrell
I have this in e-book edition. I am enjoying this book so far! I just finish reading this book and do wish that I have this book in book form! Love it so far and want to read it again but in book form and mark them up and highlight them.
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“Weakness with watchfulness will stand, when strength with too much confidence fails. Weakness, with acknowledgement of it, is the fittest seat and subject for God to perfect his strength in; for consciousness of our infirmities drives us out of ourselves to him in whom our strength lies.” 9 likes
“God knows we have nothing of ourselves, therefore in the covenant of grace he requires no more than he gives, but gives what he requires, and accepts what he gives.” 5 likes
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