Derek Kidner, the Old Testament scholar and teacher, has died recently, at the grand age of 95.
I only heard him preach once – a number of years ago, at Holy Trinity Norwich. But I have acquired most of his commentaries on various parts of the Old Testament and they are all gems.
Kidner’s contributions to the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary series (Genesis, Ezra/Nehemiah, Psalms and Proverbs) and to the Bible Speaks Today series (Hosea, Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah) are models of their kind. He had a unique ability to present godly thought in concise, elegant, memorable prose.
Here is a typical example, his introductory comment on Psalm 23:-
Depth and strength underlie the simplicity of this psalm. Its peace is not escape; its contentment is not complacency: there is readiness to face deep darkness and imminent attack, and the climax reveals a love which homes towards no material goal but to the Lord Himself.
At a celebration of Kidner’s life held on 3rd December at St Andrew’s Church, Histon, Cambridgeshire, Bishop John B. Taylor noted Kidner’s many gifts, saying,
For one with such gifts – pastoral, musical, theological, linguistic and literary – it comes as a surprise to meet the man and to find him to be so self-effacing. His modesty and humility were legendary. Someone of a different tradition described him as having the humility of a Mirfield Father. Those who attended his weekly Bible studies when first he retired to Histon said that they arrived weary from a day’s work and returned home refreshed as if they had been in the presence of Jesus. The world’s admiration meant nothing to him. His head could not be turned. He sought only to please his Master and he was never quite confident that he did. He would instinctively have echoed the words that Jesus taught his disciples to say, “Behold, we are unprofitable servants; we have done only what it was our duty to do.”
Read the full text of Bishop Taylor’s sermon here.