The Bruised Reed Summary: Introduction & Pre-Read


Lord’s Library editors compiled this brief that offers a short summary of The Bruised Reed, a notable Christian work by Richard Sibbes.

The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes is a popular work of Christian literature that delves into the intricacies of spiritual comfort and redemption. In this title, Sibbes editorializes the compassionate nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through detailed Biblical references and a collection of metaphors, Sibbes communicates the idea that precisely the spiritually broken will find hope in Christ’s unparalleled ability to restore.

Throughout the book, Sibbes weaves together passages from the Bible, particularly focusing on the prophecies in Isaiah, to highlight the prophetic image of Christ as the One who would not break a bruised reed or extinguish a smoldering wick. He also argues that a contrite heart and a humble spirit are greatly esteemed by God. See Isaiah 57:15 and 66:2:

  • Isaiah 57:15: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
  • Isaiah 66:2: “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Sibbes highlights the importance of faith in Christ through belief in the Gospel as the pathway to spiritual healing and restoration. Sibbes’ message is ultimately one of encouragement, reminding believers that their weaknesses and imperfections should not deter them from approaching Christ but rather draw them closer to Him. It’s a recommended read by our editors.

Those looking for information on this work commonly query Google for The Bruised Reed PDF (linked courtesy of Digital Puritan Press), while others are searching for The Bruised Reed audio, or even for the book by its original title of The Bruised Reed and Smoking Flax.

Whatever the case, we made sure to link the best options in this space, and we hope you can take what we’ve written above, and what we outline below, to provide a worthwhile review for your friends, family, or next ministry project.

The Gospel

The Bruised Reed Summary

The Bruised Reed Summary: Points to Know Before Reading

Sibbes Wrote the Book to Encourage the Spiritually Burdened

The primary purpose of The Bruised Reed is to provide comfort and encouragement to individuals who feel spiritually burdened by sin. His aim is to point readers to the compassionate and merciful nature of Jesus Christ. Sibbes then seeks to motivate believers to press on in their faith journey.

The author reminds us that Christ’s grace is sufficient, and our weakness should not deter us from seeking Him.

With a Frame of Pastoral Empathy

Sibbes demonstrates a compassionate pastoral heart in the work, identifying with the spiritual weakness of his readers. He acknowledges properly the brokenness of human nature and does his part to reassure readers as any good ministry leader would. Sibbes continually points readers to Christ as the source of comfort in this way.

The Bruised Reed also addresses the issue of assurance of salvation, a common (and hugely important) pastoral concern. The pastoral approach in this work serves as a model for ministers as well.

Who’s Title Was Inspired by Isaiah 42:3

See Isaiah 42:3: “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”

A reed is a slender, fragile plant that grows along the edges of bodies of water. It is easily bent and broken, which symbolizes human frailty. In the metaphor, The Bruised Reed represents individuals who are spiritually wounded by sin. In the same way that a bruised reed is not discarded but carefully cared for, Christ does not condemn those who come to Him in their brokenness.

And Who’s Content is Gospel-Centered

The Bruised Reed emphasizes that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is fundamentally a message of grace. Sibbes discusses the importance of repentance and turning to Christ in faith as part of the Gospel message. He argues that true repentance is motivated by an understanding of God’s love and grace.

Sibbes touts the significance of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. The Gospel-centered message is that through Christ’s sacrifice, believers are reconciled to God and their sins are forgiven, according to the Scriptures.

That’s Had a Real Historical Impact and Personal Application

The Bruised Reed is a quintessential work of the Puritan tradition, which is known for spiritual introspection, reliance on Scripture, and a warm pastoral approach. The work also played a significant role in shaping pastoral theology by providing a model of empathetic care. An emphasis on personal piety, reliance on Christ’s grace, and spiritual renewal has resonated with various revival movements throughout history.

Lord's Library is a Christian resource hub. Our  editors use a variety of internet research methods like search engines, audio and video, AI, consultations with ministry leaders in the field, and more. Lord's Library should never be a substitute for reading your Bible daily as the Scriptures are to be our final authority on all matters.

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Timothy Andrew

Timothy Andrew

Tim is the Founder of Lord's Library. He believes the Bible commands us to minister "as of the ability which God giveth" (1 Peter 4:11). Tim aspires to be as The Lord's mouth by "taking forth the precious from the vile" (Jeremiah 15:19) and witnessing The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) to the whole world.

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