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Book Review

Rightly Dividing the Word, by W S Penfold, N J Jeyanandam, and P K Abraham; published by, and available from, John Ritchie Ltd; price £9.95.

The Publishers note that this book is reprinted to reflect the desire of the sole surviving contributor, John Jeyanandam, to make the work available to rising generations. The reviewer first encountered the work several years ago, and at that time purchased a number of copies to circulate among interested Christians. He was impressed by the range of issues dealt with by comparing Scripture with Scripture. He was also humbled, as he recalled a number of the Lord’s servants who had left Britain to teach the Word among Indian brethren. Now from the Indian sub-continent their ministry was being brought back to Britain and the rest of the English-speaking world. However, it is also encouraging to note that the compilation of papers on "things that differ" is to be translated into the main languages of India and into a few languages of Africa and Europe.

The papers comprising Rightly Dividing the Word include aspects of the Church as a building, a body, and as a flock; Israel and the Church; prophetic matters such as the Times of the Gentiles, the seven feasts of Jehovah and the seven parables of "Israel’s future"; and doctrinal matters such as baptism and the eternal security of the believer. There is some helpful cross-referencing among the papers, which the diligent will find helpful. Other appealing features of the volume are the numerous tables, charts and some illustrations; these seem to have been re-drawn from the reviewer’s edition. The Preface observes that these papers "have been carefully and prayerfully prepared with a view to enable readers of God’s Word to distinguish truths that may otherwise pass unnoticed or remain confused" in the mind of the earnest inquirer.

The reviewer would have found helpful an index of Scriptures cited and a more detailed index of subjects than the otherwise useful Contents page provides. Perhaps for subsequent edition these might be developed. Rightly Dividing the Word will be of great help to believers of all ages.

TW

Prayers of the Saints, by Robert E Surgenor; published by Gospel Folio Press. Available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £10.99.

"Lord, Teach us to pray", is the constantly repeated message in this book, which the author shows is different from, "Teach us how to pray". Actually getting involved in prayer, habitually, fervently and persistently, is what matters. The examples chosen from the Scriptures are used to illustrate this very well, no matter what the situation or the need.

The prayers of eight men and one woman (Hannah) are analysed in detail in nine of the eleven chapters. An introductory chapter, "The Analysis of Prayer", and a concluding one, "The Prayer of the Church", complete the book. The chapters are of very different lengths, the one on Moses being the longest and the one on Abraham’s servant being the shortest, and many helpful lessons are taught in them all.

The style of writing is quite racy, stimulating interest and provoking the reader to keep going on to the next section. Numerous paragraph headings are also helpful, and several relevant items of poetry are included. Along with the analysis of the Scripture text and descriptions of the circumstances surrounding the individuals when they prayed, the author has given some personal anecdotes of interest (although set in North America). He also gives some very relevant advice for personal and assembly behaviour which should characterise us in general at all times, and in particular when we pray.

Altogether this is a challenging and stimulating book to read and reread, and more especially to apply in daily life so that our prayers become more frequent and more effective. It might be difficult to identify the person depicted on the cover, and difficult to place him in the twenty-first century, but the need for prayer is the same in every dispensation, and the message always pertinent: "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving".

RWC

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