Christian Scriver was a German Lutheran devotional writer. He entered the University of Rostock in 1647, and in 1653 was appointed archdeacon at Stendal, whence he was called in 1667 to Magdeburg as pastor of St. James's. Here he remained twenty-three years, until in 1690 he was made chief court chaplain at Quedlinburg, a position which he held until his death. The friend of Philipp Jakob Spener, Scriver was one of those theologians of the latter part of the 17th century who opposed the formalism then besetting Lutheranism, and thus prepared the way for Pietism, even while himself maintaining strict orthodoxy. Scriver died in Quedlinburg.
The writings of Christian Scriver were devotional, those including the Gottholds vierhundert zufällige Andachten (1667; last edition, Basel, 1893; English translation, Gotthold's Emblems: or, Invisible Things understood by Things that are made, by R. Menzies, Edinburgh, 1857), a collection of 400 parables; Gotthold's Siech- und Siegesbette (1687; new edition, Stuttgart, 1870); and Chrysologia Catechetica, Goldpredigten über die Hauptstücke des lutherischen Katechismus (1687; new edition, Stuttgart, 1861). His most important work, however, was his Seelenschatz ("The Soul's Treasure", 5 parts, 1675-1692; new edition, 3 vols., Berlin, 1852-1853), describing the progress of the soul from misery to eternal life and combining allegory, dogmatics, and ethics. It has been translated at least into Swedish and Finnish.
Christian Scriver was also a hymn-writer, though his hymns never gained much acceptance. Nevertheless, three of his compositions have been translated into English: Auf, Seel, und danke deinem Herrn as "To God, my soul, thank-offerings pay"; Den lieben Sonne Licht and Pracht (his most well-known hymn), found in a number of renderings; and Hier lieg ich nun, mein Gott, zu deinen Füssen as "Here, O my God, I cast me at Thy feet." The collected works of Scriver have been edited by J.H. Heinrich and R. Stier (6 vols., Barmen, 1847-1852).