Your Old Testament Tool Box by Tom V Taylor; published by Gospel Folio Press. Available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £11.50.
Your Old Testament Tool Box is sub-titled Study Helps for the Hebrew Scriptures. It lives up to both descriptions of its contents, providing a number of helpful approaches to studying the Old Testament. The author presents these in a lively way from which few would recoil. He recognises that most of his readers will be believers studying the Bible as the word of God, and in it seeking help for their souls; they would not be familiar with Hebrew or have a detailed understanding of the long periods over which the Old Testament was penned.
The three major studies on Old Testament history, poetry and prophecy are particularly helpful and delivered in elegant prose that should be accessible to every reader. Of those three the 44-page treatment of Hebrew poetry will help in a difficult area of study. It treats of poetic techniques such as parallelism and offers an introduction to little-understood books like Ecclesiastes. The contents include not only sections on Old Testament history, poetry and prophecy, but also how to study persons, events and objects (like Moses rod), institutions (like the family), words, texts and themes. Not surprisingly, it deals with miracles, wonders and signs, as well as dreams and visions. Not all will rush to the appendix dealing with figures of speech, one of three appendices. It includes a valuable Bibliography, but no subject or Scripture index!
One feature of the authors approach that is particularly distinct is his grading of sections for the beginner, intermediate and advanced students. His background as a teacher is the possible motivation for such a presentation. In the reviewers judgment, this approach works well in most, but not all, chapters of the book.
In the preface, J B Nicholson Jr. commends Your Old Testament Tool Box to readers with the statement: "This book is just what we need". The reviewer shares the view that this 280-page paperback is just the book many a believer needs to help in the reading of the Old Testament.
Day by Day: Divine Titles, edited by John Bennett; published by Precious Seed Publications. Available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £6.95.
Divine Titles is the most recent of the Precious Seed Publications Day by Day series. The previous eight volumes in the series have been well received by Christians across the world. Each of the volumes provides daily readings for the Christians meditation. There is no reason to believe that this volume will be any less welcome, dealing as it does with the many titles associated with God and Christ.
The range of the names and titles is considerable, being drawn from both Old and New Testaments. It begins with the Spirit of God as revealed in Genesis 1 and ends with the Testifier of Revelation 22.20. Between the two, we find those titles that have warmed the heart more than the worlds fire ever could. We meet again the Man of sorrows, the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother, Jehovahs Firstborn, the Firstborn of all creation, and the Firstborn from the dead. We also meet the God of Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, and the God of Elijah as well as the Ancient of days.
The very nature of this exercise is such that no writer could provide more than an outline of the unique glories associated these names and titles. The purpose of the series, however, as the reviewer understands it, is to present from each name or title "a fresh glimpse" of the blessed One who bears the name or title. The 24 authors have approached their task with that common purpose in view, but rightly, as they have been helped, have presented a variety of glimpses in a variety of ways. The depth and scope of their writings differ one from another, but all will be of benefit to those who seek to refresh their spirit as they look away to Jesus, the author and finisher of faith (Heb 12.2), or at some revelation of His God and Father or of the Spirit of Christ.