“[Y]ou will find in Poole’s Synopsis a marvellous collection of all the wisdom … of the critics…. Query–a query for which I will not demand an answer–has one of you ever beaten the dust from the venerable copy of Poole which loads our library shelves? Yet as Poole spent no less than ten years in compiling it, it should be worthy of your frequent notice…. Matthew Poole also wrote Annotations upon the Word of God, in English, which are mentioned by Matthew Henry … and he not only highly praises them, but declares that he has in his own work all along been brief upon that which Mr. Poole has more largely discussed, and has industriously declined what is to be found there…. On the whole, if I must have only one commentary, and had read Matthew Henry as I have, I do not know but what I should choose Poole. He is a very prudent and judicious commentator…” Spurgeon’s Commenting and Commentaries, 6.
In the late-seventeenth century, the Puritan divine and Biblical scholar, Matthew Poole, compiled his massive and masterly Synopsis Criticorum (Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters), a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, drawing together the exegetical wealth of the Jewish Rabbis, early Church Fathers, Medieval Schoolmen, and Reformation-era exegetes (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed). His thought: To set the most important interpreters and interpretive positions side-by-side, for the help of the student of God’s Word. His achievement: The ascended Christ promised to provide faithful teachers for His Church in all ages (Ephesians 4:11-13); the Synopsis is a record of their testimony concerning the right reading of Holy Scripture.