Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries

Knollys' Commentary on RevelationKnollys on Revelation


New Testament

Hanserd Knolly
Hanserd Knollys

Hanserd Knollys, born in 1599 in Chalkwell, Lincolnshire, England, emerged as a pivotal figure in the early Baptist movement, known for his staunch advocacy for religious freedom and his influential role in the development of Particular Baptist congregations. Educated at the University of Cambridge, Knollys initially served as a Church of England clergyman. However, his growing dissent with the Anglican Church's rigid doctrines and practices led him to abandon his position, embracing Puritanism and, subsequently, Baptist beliefs, which emphasized adult baptism and the separation of church and state.

In 1638, facing persecution for his nonconformist views, Knollys fled to New England, where he hoped to find a haven among like-minded Puritans. Nevertheless, his radical beliefs, particularly regarding baptism, soon put him at odds with the Puritan establishment in Massachusetts, compelling him to return to England in the mid-1640s amidst the tumult of the English Civil War. This period of conflict and the ensuing Interregnum offered Knollys and his fellow dissenters a unique opportunity to openly practice and propagate their faith, leading to the establishment of several Baptist congregations.

Knollys was deeply involved in the political and religious debates of his time, participating in the Baptist movement's efforts to define its doctrines and ecclesiastical polity distinctly from other dissenting groups. His writings, including pamphlets and commentaries on biblical texts, contributed significantly to Baptist theology and the broader Puritan religious discourse. Notably, his works often delved into eschatology, reflecting his millenarian beliefs.

Despite facing renewed persecution with the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Knollys remained a resilient advocate for his convictions, enduring imprisonment for his unlicensed preaching. His legacy endures through his contributions to Baptist thought and the enduring impact of his advocacy for religious liberty. Hanserd Knollys passed away in 1691, leaving behind a rich legacy of theological scholarship and a steadfast commitment to the principles of religious freedom and individual conscience.

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