I was saddened to learn this past week about the death of J. Alec Motyer (pronounced mah-teer) on August 26, 2016, at age 91.
He was used of God right up to the end, in that his devotional on the Psalms, Psalms By the Day, only came out earlier this year. Terry Johnson posted A Personal Remembrance of Motyer on the Reformation21 website on August 30th, which I discovered only this past week. Johnson shared a glimpse into Motyer’s personal life, gleaned while sitting under his tutelage in Hebrew exegesis class: “At times he would refer to the comments on the psalm made to his young daughter as he put her to bed the night before; we all glanced around knowingly, as if to say, ‘Oh to be a fly on the wall for those lessons!'”
Perhaps those sorts of sentiments from his students prompted him finally to publish a daily devotional on the Psalms. I know I have thoroughly enjoyed his commentary on Isaiah, as well as Isaiah By the Day. The first book of his I ever encountered was his commentary on Amos, and I am thankful for that first recommendation and introduction to this godly man, who now has entered into the presence of the One he served so faithfully for nearly a century, and yet still speaks through his many works.
It is fitting to pay tribute to Motyer here, because, as Johnson put it, he was very much like a modern day Puritan. Referring to both J. I. Packer and Motyer he noted: “They are like the extraordinary 17th century Puritans, such as Owen, Baxter, Gurnall, Charnock, etc., whose writings live on and on and on. Given the combination of scholarship, piety, and wit, I don’t know if we’ll see their like again.”
Take up and read, and be blessed indeed!
J. Alec Motyer, 1924-2016