Aramaic Bible Companion


Bob Coffey

I was born to Robert(Senior) and Mary Jane Coffey on 21st May 1942. We lived on a small farm within a few miles of where St Patrick lies buried. My parents and grandparents on both sides were Presbyterians within the evangelical tradition. Father came from an Irish branch of the Coffeys which stemmed from Saxons who settled Coventry(Coffey’s or Coifu’s clearing). My mother was 5th generation Huguenot stock whose family generations back fled France for England but were blown Spanish Armada style to Annalong, Co Down.

In my 13th year it pleased the Lord to send evangelist Victor McManus to where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea and there in 1955 by the encouragement of my father at the age of 13, I responded to his gospel appeal being deeply convicted of my need of forgiveness and of the Saviour’s grace. The work of assurance of faith proceeded apace when on a lane named “the lane that time forgot” Andrew Brown gave me helpful gospel literature and from Canada aunt Min sent me a zipped bible whilst Aunt Lily gave me a 3-month loan of a Schofield bible.

My early teens were fraught with health issues, mainly to do with grumbling appendicitis. Once that was sorted God impressed on me amid revival days in Newcastle that I should demur from my idea of an engineering career and prepare to preach and evangelise. With the help of Dr.Anderson my pastor and Dr. David Crawford who was a radiant paralysed minister at that time preaching from a coffin like box and a good friend I made the decision to leave the Technical College and go to Belfast to a grind school. Dickie Burrows could teach any subject at any level and at 17 he had me prepared for matriculation. In due course I graduated at TCD and went on to complete a Bachelor in Divinity degree a few years later.

Whilst at Union Theological College I had the great joy of meeting my wife who agreed to a first date at the annual College party. The union was made in heaven. God gave us two sons who shared our Manses in Tyrone, Antrim and in Southport though by Ayrshire days they had left the nest for Cambridge and Oxford. The story of God’s grace continued in six pastorates over 43 years. It was following retirement in 2007 that I began work on a Bible Commentary in Chislehurst, Kent. The task was resumed in Leicester where I worked in the “commentary box”(a toolshed I renovated) from
7-8am until 6pm daily and also on Sundays commenting on the Psalms and Proverbs. The O.T. completed, I went on to the New Testament Greek. I had trained myself in Greek but in Derry and Belfast, N.Ireland, Professor Irvine & Rabbi Wilson gave me the rudiments of Hebrew. In 2016-17 I ventured to learn the Aramaic language and thereafter was sold on the Master’s voice Peshitta(the simple gospel text that replaced Tatian’s Diatessaron). From this language I have learned the most profound truths and trust that you will find the “sweet word”(MALTHA) of Christ just as inspiring as I have done.

I have delight in commending this work to you.
Expect new material to be added from time to time.

Yours in Our Lord 

Bob Coffey