Who was the finest exegete in the history of the Church? - T.V. Moore answers

Thomas Verner Moore was a Biblical commentator of very high rank. In the introduction to his commentary on the books of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi discussed his opinion of who constitutes the best expositor of the Bible in church history.

The first expositor of real value was Calvin. His commentaries on the Minor Prophets were delivered in the form of expository lectures in a daily exercise, and extend through one hundred and eighty-two lectures, which were delivered extempore, and taken down as they were spoken. There is probably nothing that he has left behind him which gives a more distinct notion of the man and the times than these lectures. That a congregation could be formed who would take so deep an interest in such expositions admits us to the heart of the Reformation, and lays bare to us the secret of its life, which was, a living grasp of the Word of God. The style of these lectures, the allusions to passing events, and the ocassional abrupt ending of a lecture with the remarks, "we stop here until to-morrow," gives a life-like vividness, and actual presence to these daily exercises, that invest them with unusual interest. Each lecture also ends with a prayer, and these prayers for condensed energy and fervor, grasp of thought, and concentration of the whole spirit of the preceding lecture into devotional forms, are even more remarkable than the lectures themselves. The prodigous intellect of that remarkable man is felt in these prayers more intensely by a careful reader than in almost anything else he has left behind him. But the lectures are very remarkable productions. Calvin had probably one of the finest exegetical minds that God has ever granted to his Church in modern times. He had a direct looking into the heart of the passage, a fine sympathy with the mind of the writer, a freedom from all that is fanciful and foolish, and a justness of thinking that leads him almost instinctively to the correct view of the passage. To some, this may seem to be extravagant laudation, but not to those who have carefully studied his commentaries. Their merits have extorted tributes of the highest character from those whom nothing could move to give such tributes but the most unquestioned excellence. One of the most remarkable of these is from the pen of the man whose name has been embalmed in theological antagonism to his, the celebrated, acute, and learned Arminius. He says, "Next to the reading of Scripture, which I strongly recommend, I advise you to read the commentaries of Calvin, on whom I bestow higher eulogies than Helmichius did, for I consider that he is incomparable in interpreting Scripture, and that his Commentaries are of more value than all that the library of the Fathers transmits to us; so that I concede to him a spirit of prophecy superior to that of most, yea, of all others." (Commentary on Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, pp. 35-36) - HT: Rocky A. Simbaion