Book Review: The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was a prolific hymn writer and the son of a non-conformist puritan in the height of the Elizabethan Settlement. In the book The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts, Douglas Bond explores the life and faith of this man and his contribution to the worship of the church through his many hymns.
This is the second book I have reviewed in Reformation Trust’s Long Line of Godly Men series. After a biographical sketch of Watts’ life and upbringing, Bond engages in an exploration of the various aspects of Watts’ writing and ministry.

Bond roots the purpose of his book in a corrective to what he perceives to be a somewhat hollow worship experience in many Evangelical churches. However noble this may be, or however accurate, the fact that he begins his book with an assault on the chosen worship style of those he hopes to convince seems to be contrary to the purpose of winning them over to the deep hymnody of Watts.

As I noted in my other review of Bond’s work on John Knox, the style of this book is very dry and I found it to be difficult to engage. Perhaps a person with particular interest in Watts, or hymnody, may wade through it. However, I find it hard to believe that much of anyone would progress past the first few chapters.

Please note: Reformation Trust / Ligonier Ministries has provided me with an electronic version of this book for review purposes, and will be providing me with a hard copy edition in exchange for this review. They do not require positive reviews, nor have they edited or modified this review in any way.

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