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The Bruised Reed

4.36  ·  Rating Details ·  1,286 Ratings  ·  96 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 January 1st 1620)
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Jeff Shelnutt
"A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall not He quench; He shall bring forth judgment unto truth" (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20).

Beginning with this verse in reference to its fulfillment in Christ, Richard Sibbes, in classic Puritan fashion, seeks to extract the essence by exploring the whole of Scriptural teaching on the subject.

Sibbes defines the "bruised reed" as one who "is sensible of sin and misery, even unto bruising; and, seeing no help in himself, is carried with re
Jul 10, 2008 Melinda rated it really liked it
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
Jun 22, 2013 Derek Brown rated it it was amazing
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
Philip Mcduffie
Jul 28, 2014 Philip Mcduffie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
I have committed myself to reading this book every year. This is my third time reading it, and every time it brings much encouragement to me. I cannot help by have my affections stirred for Christ as I work my way through the pages of this beautiful piece of literature.

"His love to us moves him to frame us to be like himself, and our love to him stirs us up to be such as he may take delight in."

"So, though sin cleaves to what we do, yet let us do it, since we have to deal with so good a Lord, an
Alexis Neal
Aug 24, 2012 Alexis Neal rated it liked it
Shelves: 100-books, religion
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
Alex Stroshine
I think this is the fourth Puritan book I've read (fifth if you count J.I. Packer as one ;) ) and this is my favourite one. This is an encouraging spiritual classic that refreshes those beset by sin and draws the reader closer to the heart of Christ. Richard Sibbes reveals how even in the midst of temptation, the "smoking flax" of the believer will not to extinguished by a merciful and gracious God.
Chad Gibbons
Jul 25, 2011 Chad Gibbons rated it really liked it
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
Steve Hemmeke
Oct 29, 2016 Steve Hemmeke rated it it was amazing
Richard Sibbes was a Puritan, but the opposite of the caricature we all have of Puritans. Instead of staunch and stern, Sibbes was sensitive. Where we’d expect harshness, he deals out compassion and mercy in abundance.

The theme text is Isaiah 42:3:
“A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.”

Sibbes’ burning passion was to assure the faint hearted that their souls were safe with the Savior. Yes, we have failed Him often. But that doe
Chris Wray
Nov 11, 2016 Chris Wray rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Really enjoyed this, as it exhaustively explores its topic in typical Puritan fashion. Sibbes defines the bruised reed as one who is in some kind of misery, with sin as the cause, and who needs to come to Christ for mercy and healing. The smoking flax is slightly different, being one who has some measure of grace, but that mixed with corruption and imperfection. I think this describes all believers at some point, and so there is rich encouragement here for any Christian who is conscious of their ...more
Dec 26, 2012 Scott rated it really liked it
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
so wonderfully written. he must have been an amazing shepherd, you can almost hear the gracious tone of his voice as he deals so carefully and gently with the downcast and burdened. chalked full of truth this book is like salve for the saved, but yet a heralding hope for the lost and castaway. a good read for any season but especially in times of hardship and dejection.
Joel Rockey
May 13, 2016 Joel Rockey rated it really liked it
A pastor friend of mine recommended this book to me. I always enjoy reading the old Puritan writers, but at the same time I feel like I just scratch the surface. Quite frankly, I have a hard time understanding what they write sometimes. There were great truths scattered throughout this book, but I'll probably have to read it again to get more out of it. All-in-all it was very good.
Sep 15, 2011 Jeanie rated it really liked it
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
Oct 19, 2013 Steve Thomasma rated it really liked it
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.
Very encouraging. Simple gospel truths to store up and meditate on in order to fan the smoking flax into flame.
Mitch Majeski
Sep 08, 2010 Mitch Majeski rated it it was amazing
The mercy and favor of God towards the redeemed... this book may have been the most important for my soul this year.
Audra Falk
Feb 01, 2017 Audra Falk rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
I did not know what this book was about before picking it up--it had only been recommended via a blog that I trust, and decided it was worth giving it a chance. I'm so glad I did! It is full of comfort for Christian believers who find themselves in times of weakness, doubts, and failures (which is pretty much all of us at some point or another, and some for longer periods of time than others!) I found the language required a little more concentration when reading, but it was not insurmountable. ...more
Jan 18, 2017 Monique rated it it was amazing
This is so full of truth and deeply moving. The author focuses our eyes on Christ and the beauty of his grace; and our hearts on the assurance of our salvation, reminding us that “Heaven is ours already”, what great comfort that brings to a weary soul. Many things are discussed here paying close attention to suffering, our doubts, and weakness of faith; however, in regards to our faith he is quick to have us remember that “the little that is in us is fed with an everlasting spring.” I feel like ...more
Oct 31, 2016 Ryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sibbes again shows the fruit of slow, thoughtful meditation on Scripture, this book being the fruit of meditating on Isaiah 42:1-3. Sibbes wonderfully displays the patience and kindness of Christ who bears with the weak and promises to be victorious and hold us fast even in the small beginnings of faith. It is reading a Puritan, so put on your thinking cap and be ready for a few archaic phrases and word choices, but it's well worth the effort.
Chad Grindstaff
Dec 15, 2016 Chad Grindstaff rated it it was amazing
If you want comfort and confidence in your Christian life - read Sibbes. This is a great and tender exposition of Isaiah 42:3 and how Christ's work in believers will not fail. When we fail (and we will) he will not crush us, but will restore and strengthen in him. His government will increase (Isaiah 9:6,7) and he will subdue and defeat all his and our enemies.
Chrys Jones
Nov 02, 2016 Chrys Jones rated it it was amazing
Excellent and encouraging book for Christians who are battling sin or lack of assurance. Recommended read for anyone counseling or preaching to potential bruised reeds as well. Sibbes provides such great hope in the gospel and the promised grace of Christ toward those who are His.
Alice Oloo
Jan 28, 2017 Alice Oloo rated it it was amazing
It's a blessing
Ken Powell
Jul 30, 2015 Ken Powell rated it liked it
This was a fascinating look into early seventeenth century Puritan thinking. Richard Sibbes' classic treatise first published in 1630 has had its language modernised a little and headings inserted to make it easier for the modern reader to follow but otherwise is the author's voice as was.

The book is a commentary on Isaiah 42:1-3 and centres on the prophesy of Jesus that "a bruised reed shall not he break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench."

For all the modernising, Sibbes language is stil
Oct 05, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
Very much of its time (Stuart England) - with regular slapdowns of popery and religion, in contrast to the purity of puritanism (which is, of course, too often unfairly maligned and disparaged these days). But apart from that (regardless of the rights and wrongs of that), this is a wonderful book, full of wisdom, pastoral care, and deep-reaching balm for the soul.

Sibbes greatly understood the strength of weakness and recognised how poorly Christian communities treated the weak and vulnerable - i
Joe McFadden
Aug 11, 2016 Joe McFadden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read full Summary/Review Here:

This is my second book I have read written by a Puritan author and another work of acclaim by many. Sibbes follows Matthew’s interpretation of this text, seeing it to be fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (Matt. 12:18-20). His exposition breaks down into three basic parts: (1) Christ will not break the bruised reed; (2) Christ will not quench the smoking flax; (3) Christ will not do either of these things unti
Mar 24, 2011 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Abigail Hartman
Jun 21, 2016 Abigail Hartman rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
"The Lord reveal himself more and more to us in the face of his Son Jesus Christ and magnify the power of his grace in cherishing those beginnings of grace in the midst of our corruptions, and sanctify the consideration of our own infirmities to humble us, and of his tender mercy to encourage us. And may he persuade us that, since he has taken us into the covenant of grace, he will not cast us off for those corruptions which, as they grieve his Spirit, so they make us vile in our own eyes. And b ...more
Jun 04, 2013 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves: devotional
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
Feb 24, 2015 Shannon rated it really liked it
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
Mar 26, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology, jesus
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
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Richard Sibbes was born at Tostock, Suffolk, in 1577 and went to school in Bury St Edmunds. His father, 'a good sound-hearted Christian', at first intended that Richard should follow his own trade as a wheelwright, but the boy s 'strong inclination to his books, and well-profiting therein' led to his going up to St John's College, Cambridge in 1595. He was converted around 1602-3 through the power ...more
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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.” 14 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.” 8 likes
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