Brethren Archive
The Year 1897

A New and Concise Bible Dictionary (Morrish Bible Dictionary) - Part 2

by George Morrish

Fred said ...
Finally, after nearly 77 years on earth HE has led me to come upon this excellent 466 pages.
Friday, May 5, 2023 : 15:24
C Gribben said ...
Some material by Darby is included in this dictionary without attribution - see the article on "Atonement," which was published as a separate tract by Morrish and attributed to JND.

The article on creation is interesting, too - gap theory and day-age theory are advanced as possible readings of Genesis 1 - no advocacy of young earth "creation science" views.
Friday, May 5, 2023 : 16:47
Samuel said ...
Has a list of chief contributors to this Morrish Dictionary ever emerged?
It would be great if this could be found
Friday, May 5, 2023 : 17:59
Nick Fleet said ...

The current KBT edition states that it was first published in 1899, but maybe some parts were released earlier? (I seem to recall that I once found a reference internally to "last year (18??)" - a prize for the first pereson to find it !).

I had heard that the main compiler was George Morrish (1819-1912) and his daughter Hannah (1848-1945), put together over about 10 years, with regular visits to museums and the British Library in London.

It should not be a surprise that young earth creationism does not feature as this is a relatively recent view, especially from the 1960s onwards.

Chapter Two advertises it thus: " Contributors include E. L. Bevir, J. N. Darby & J. A. Trench and other gifted men. Perhaps the single best volume to come from the Geo. Morrish publishing house apart from their Bible editions. No Bible reader’s library should be without it. Now also available in Russian."  I understand that Edwin Cross was provided with some information by Everard Morrish many years ago.

Saturday, May 6, 2023 : 02:18
Tom said ...
I've added Part 1.
Saturday, May 6, 2023 : 03:02
Mark said ...

With regard to the mention of "Creation Science" above. As pointed out, "young earth creationism" is something that has come about much more recently. J N Darby, William Kelly, F W Grant, and most leaders in the "Plymouth Brethren" held the "Gap Theory." 

The Bible is not a science textbook. However, the theory of evolution is not only pressed by those who deny the very existence of God, but also is incompatible with the Bible's doctrine concerning man, especially in respect of his true constitution. Man, in the sense of Genesis 1 verse 27 and chapter 2 verse 7, is a moral and spiritual being consisting of body, soul, and spirit. Of this, man's tripartite nature, evolution takes no account. 

The thing that concerns me is that "Creation Science" has become a belief system such that nowadays all are being compelled to accept it even though many of its explanations are hypotheses, suggested possibilities, and in some cases, scriptures are misapplied. 

This does not mean that I force the "Gap Theory" on anyone but simply accept that the universe owes its existence to a Creator God. The early chapters of Genesis set the scene for the whole Bible, the heavens and the earth in terms of God's purpose with regard to men, but particularly in the Old Testament, Israel and the nations on earth. 

I am not sufficiently knowledgeable on the subject to argue with "evolutionists" in an attempt to refute their reasoning, and convince them otherwise. I believe evolution to be wrong, and dangerously so, but anyone claiming that "evolution is only a theory" immediately proves their ignorance of the definition of the word "theory", thereby reducing their persuasive powers to zero. Nor will absurd notions help. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023 : 16:46
Rodger said ...
Some interesting things I have been told about Morrish’s dictionary:

-An older brother told me there was a larger edition (less “concise”), comprising four volumes, but it was lost when the British Library was bombed. I have never found anyone who can confirm this, and wonder how few copies there were if it was lost so easily.

-FE Raven’s son (Edward?) was a major player in the putting together of this dictionary.

-In the BTP edition, the entry for “The Lord’s Supper” has had a few words removed, which can be clearly seen by the long blank space. In the original edition it reads, “It is introductory to the assembly’s proper privilege…” The words “introductory to” are absent in the later edition, demarcating the difference of understanding between groups of “brethren.”
Monday, May 8, 2023 : 03:47
Greg said ...
Extract from Reid, J - F W Grant, His Life, Ministry and Legacy (1995) p.85

"Mr Raven was a very intelligent person with a great mind. Mr P Daniel Loizeaux told the writer that Raven edited Morrish's New and Concise Bible Dictionary, going over every statement. Many brethren consider this the best of any Bible Dictionary. Mr Samuel Ridout said on one occasion that he had read all of Raven's writings and found little he could not agree with. Mr Raven, as following in Darby's steps, was wholly given to the teachings of the Brethren. However, his daughter did marry a Church of England clergyman."
Wednesday, May 10, 2023 : 03:38
John said ...

I think early "Brethren" held to "gap" theory because of geology and the seemingly long periods required since the formation of the Earth to the present day. There were genuine attempts to show how science and the Bible could fit together (see for instance Walter Scott's Bible Handbook). The problem here is that commonly held understandings of geology can be challenged - a helpful DVD called "Set in Stone" by two Christian geologists (at least one is FGS) runs through William Hutton's observations at Siccar Point on the East Coast of Scotland, and ultimately compares them with Mam Tor in Derbyshire to show that they are not necessarily correct - by Hutton's method, Mam Tor would be many times older than the rest of Britain.

Fossils are also interesting - they are used to date the rock, but the rock is also used to date the fossil, and rather than being formed over a lengthy period of years, they must have been formed by cataclysmic events or the fossilised matter would have rotted away leaving no fossil. I suspect that David Rosevear's Fossil Museum in Plymouth would be a worthwhile visit.

I think it is in more recent times that Darwin's theory of Evolution (or perhaps rather developments from it) has been more aligned with geology, and is now seen by many as part of a continuum.

My understanding of "theory" in a scientific context is that it is a commonly accepted explanation, but still not proven (very distinct from a "hypothesis"). I do think that we need to be careful with the use of the word "evolution" also. Its scientific meaning is the change of one species into something quite different, as distinct from what we could call "adaptation" where e.g. a part of the body may adjust to different use - like thumbs in the age of text messaging on Nokia 'phones.

A good few years ago I met a brother who ran a Christian school, and raised the issue of teaching evolution. His response was that it was quite simple - he would teach the theory of evolution and the theory of creation, and would also demonstrate that evidence can point different ways depending upon the context.

I don't know whether I hold to Creation Science or not, but I do see it as showing that there are other ways that the evidence can be put together and lead to different conclusions than the majority of the scientists appear to hold.
Friday, May 12, 2023 : 14:14
Mark said ...


I mentioned something on "Creation Science" since alluded to in an earlier comment, though more was perhaps said than intended. I have no mind to into it in detail.  

To press that the universe is 6000 years old is to put a stumbling block before many. The mathematical calculations based on scientific observations point to a very distant past. The Bible simply opens with the words, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth' (Gen 1:1 KJV). 

I said earlier that I do not force the "Gap Theory" and have reservations myself about some of the explanations given in its support. 

In that known as "Creation Science" are theories too, possible explanations, but some seem little more than guesswork, that with which evolutionists are charged. 

My chief concern is supposed scriptural evidence against "death of animals before sin" to be found in such verses as Romans 5 verse 12, chapter 6 verse 23, 1 Corinthians 15 verse 21, and 2 Timothy 1 verse 10. The first of these states, 'And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.'  This cannot be applied to animals! Justice meted out on sinning animals? "Upon all men" is what it says. As to the second, eternal life for animals? The third, the resurrection of animals? And the last, life and immortality for animals? 

Genesis 1 must be understood as setting the scene for all that follows in terms of the Bible dealing with man (adam or anthropos) as a moral being, and importantly, as having a spiritual component. 

We do not read about the creation of angels, but, as is the main point of the Bible, the creation of and God's purpose regarding man. The 'sons of God' - angels it is assumed - mentioned in Job 38 verses 4 to 7 were already in existence when the foundations of the earth were laid, and at a similar moment, the morning stars sang together for joy.

I think the brother who ran the "Christian school" wise, although he would not endorse the theory of evolution of course. 

Enough said on this since my main reason for returning to the website today is to try and find out where I can obtain a copy of the book by J Reid about F W Grant to which Greg above refers. That said by Mr Samuel Ridout is rather interesting. 

Friday, May 12, 2023 : 17:20
Steve H said ...
Hi All,

I have a much later single volume of :-




I was given it in 1976, which is a very useful book, containing 877 pages.

For more in-depth reference, I have a five volume set of:-


This is an American publication - WM. B. EERDMANS PUBLISHING CO. GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.

Reprinted in March 1978.

All very useful "tools" for serious study.

Have a good weekend.


Steve H.

Saturday, May 13, 2023 : 03:12
Rodger said ...
Hi Mark,

Looks like you can get it from Gospel Folio (maybe John Ritchie on your side of the pond?), and Amazon. I remember it having a few bits of anecdotal interest, but otherwise not helping fill out the picture of FW Grant very much.
Saturday, May 13, 2023 : 12:47

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