Tag Archives: Philip Graham Ryken

Why Everything Matters by Philip G. Ryken

Why Everything MattersRyken, Philip G. Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2015. 160 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Westminster books for less or on Kindle.


I reviewed Philip’s work King Solomon a few years ago and found it to be very informational and an excellent read. He currently serves as the President of Wheaton College. Before this, he was Senior Minister of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He has written a number of books and commentaries as well as contributing to many more. You can find many of those here.


Divided into ten chapters over 141 pages of text, Dr. Ryken delves into arguably the most philosophical book found in the Bible. He begins by asking, and answering, the question, Why Bother? and then works his way through the text of Ecclesiastes.

Other chapters include a look at the ultimate quest and meaningful hedonism. He takes from the Puritan Thomas Boston with a chapter entitled The Crook in the Lot in which he seeks to answer the problem of personal pain and suffering.

The last chapter sums up the entire book as only the Holy Spirit could do. Ryken unpacks for us Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil,” in a chapter entitled The Final Analysis.


For many the book of Ecclesiastes is one of those difficult books that we tend to shy away from while reading and studying Scripture. This is to our detriment since the Lord’s Holy Spirit saw fit to include it in the canon. Philip Ryken does a masterful job of unpacking the essence of this extremely important book found in the Old Testament.

Heavily footnoted, one can build a commentary and study library based on the footnotes alone. This also shows that Ryken is not leaning on his own understanding. Rather, he is seeking the thoughts of others who have gone before him. Personally, I find this more and more refreshing as I read and review books.

What is more, he shows how the entire book, chapter by chapter, points us to the necessity of faith in Christ. This, in turn, shows today’s reader not only the importance of the Old Testament, but its authority and practicality for the Christian today. Reading more like an exposition of the text, this work will serve both laymen and pastors at varying levels.


I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about Ecclesiastes. It will serve both the pastor in his study and the laymen in theirs. Reading Why Everything Matters and seeing how Ecclesiastes points us to Christ is a gift from Philip Ryken to the Christian church.

King Solomon by Philip Graham Ryken

Ryken, Philip Graham.  King Solomon – The Temptations of Money, Sex, and Power.  Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2011.  256 pp.  $16.99.  Purchase at Westminster Books for less.


Dr. Philip Ryken currently serves as president of Wheaton College.  Before that, he was senior minister at the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.  He has authored a number of books and is also a co-editor of one of my favorite commentary series, The Reformed Commentary Series.


This work is divided into thirteen chapters and includes a study guide.  In essence, it is a biblical look at the life of Solomon, the most wise of all men in the Bible.  Dr. Ryken follows the rise and fall of the son of David as he begins with a heart for God and is led astray by a life that looks to find joy in other areas of life.  Most importantly in the areas of sex, money, and power.

Every chapter points the reader to the failure of man to keep covenant with God.  Every chapter points to the One who was able to keep covenant with God.  Each chapter will lead you to a deeper understanding of your need for Christ.


It seems as though money, sex, and power are always the main culprits behind most crime (yes, the argument can be rightfully made for pride) and this work by Dr. Ryken clearly shows that this is not a new phenomena.  On these pages, the reader will discover the necessity of trusting day by day (sometimes hour by hour) in the mercies of Christ.

While Solomon is known as the wisest man in the Bible, he did ultimately fail.  Reading King Solomon will help you to see 1) where he failed, 2) when the failure began, and 3) the means by which we can overcome failure in life.  It has been said that the best defense is a great offense.  In this case, the saying rings all the more true.  If you are aware of your lifestyle and choices, from a biblical perspective, you will be better equipped to avoid the dangerous pitfalls that accompany most everything we do in life.


This work will serve two purposes in your life and for that reason, I recommend it to all.  First, it will show you that there is truly nothing new under the sun (Ecc. 1:9) and that there is no temptation that is not common to man (1 Cor 10:13).  It will also equip you to deal with these inevitable sins.  For those reasons, pick up this book and be equipped.