- Written for any student of the Bible
- Reflects the theology of the American restoration movement
- Known by many as Johnson's Notes
The People's New Testament Commentary also known to many as Johnson's Notes on the New Testament was first published by Christian Board of Publications in 1891. This commentary was originally published in two volumes which covered: The Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles, The Epistles and Revelation.
About the Author:
Barton Warren Johnson was born in 1833, in a log cabin on a clearing in Tazewell County, Illinois. His ancestry on his father side was English while his mother was of Scottish decent and their families had settled in this country before the Revolution. His early education was obtained in a backwoods school, on a farm, and from the few books he could buy or borrow. When he was eighteen he began studying at Walnut Grove Academy, now Eureka College, where he attended for two years. Then, after teaching for one year, he went to Bethany College in 1854. In 1856 he graduated in a class of twenty-seven, the honors of which were divided between him and and a fellow student of Tennessee.
In the fall of 1856, he engaged in a school in Bloomington, Illinois and preached on Sundays in the vicinity. The next year he took a position in Eureka College, where he remained seven years and served two years as its president. In 1863, he acted as corresponding and financial secretary of the American Missionary Society, and was re-elected to that position at the convention of 1864, but he declined to continue, having accepted the chair of mathematics in Bethany College where he remained for two years. After a pastoral charge at Lincoln, Illinois, he accepted the presidency of Oskaloosa College, in connection with the care of the Church at Oskaloosa. A failure of health compelled him to cease teaching two years later, but he continued to preach for the congregation for four more years. In the meantime, The Evangelist, long published as a monthly, had assumed a weekly form, and he became its editor. For about sixteen years he was engaged in editorial work; on The Evangelist, in Oskaloosa and Chicago, and subsequently on the The Christian Evangelist, in St. Louis. During this time he wrote several books which have had a wide circulation: The Vision of the Ages, Commentary on John, The People's New Testament, in two octavo volumes, and the successive volumes of the Christian Lesson Commentary, from 1886 to 1889.
In his Bible studies he had been made to feel the need of a personal knowledge of the places mentioned in the Bible, of the people, manners and scenes of the east; and hence, in the summer of 1889 he crossed the Atlantic. During his absence of between four and five months, he visited Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey in Asia, Palestine and Egypt. The enforced absence from his desk was of great advantage to his health, which had become somewhat impaired by his arduous labors.
Johnson was considered to be an outstanding preacher, editor, and writer in the Restoration Movement during the Nineteenth Century. He passed away in Oskaloosa, Iowa, in 1894.