Day by Day Bible Commands, edited John Bennett; published by Precious Seed, 2006; 384 pages. Available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £6.95.
The Day by Day series has been well received among Christians who, in addition to their own private Bible study, find in it helpful consecutive teaching in an aspect or portion of the Word of God, and guidance in reading systematically. Day by Day has been meeting those needs. This latest volume, Day by Day Bible Commands, extends the series to an examination of divine commands that the saint would profit from considering.
According to the well-established pattern, each command occupies one page of the volume less than 400 words. The commentary on the particular command is therefore succinct and often practical. The commands considered begin with "Let there be light" (Gen 1.3) and end with "Seal not the sayings of this book" (Rev 22.10). One third of them is drawn from the Old Testament and the remainder from the New Testament, thus providing the reader with a balanced diet over the course of a year.
The commands are varied. They include encouragement to worship the Lord, to stand in awe, to teach children, to use a just balance, and to walk in the Spirit. They deplore money-lending, profaning the name of the Lord, making a graven image, vain glory, and forsaking the gatherings of the saints. It is encouraging to see the rightful place given to the commands within the Sermon on the Mount, often commands ignored by the saints despite their having been first delivered to us by the Lord Himself.
British readers will be familiar with the majority of the writers. It would be invidious to list some and not others. The approaches adopted by the authors do not differ greatly within the editors guidelines; as a result the new reader should readily become accustomed to the volume and be able to use the pages to good effect. The reviewer commends this new publication to all who seek help to read the whole Bible in a systematic way.
The Fruitful Vine: a Celebration of Biblical Womanhood, by Warren Henderson; published by Gospel Folio Press, 2005; 172 pages. Available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £8.95.
Books like this by a present day author are few and far between, written in a refreshingly clear way, and with a clear directive contrary to that in which the feminist movement has taken society. Because it is all too easy for believers to be swayed in their thinking by this movement and its prevalence in the western world, this treatise on womanhood as taught in the Scriptures is essential reading for todays women and men.
The author skilfully explores the different roles of women, whether single (by choice or by circumstance) or married, mothers or grandmothers, widows young or old. Sound scriptural advice is given for each situation. Using the figure of the Fruitful Vine (Ps 128.3, with cognate verses from The Song of Solomon), the beauty and honour of marriage is described, from the industrious to the intimate, from the everyday things to the special occasions which family life contains. Whilst focused on the role of the wife, the role of the husband is constantly called into the foreground, for it is (correctly) argued that the one cannot be fulfilled without the other.
In the Preface, the position is taken that biblical manhood advocates biblical womanhood; or put in more everyday terms, "an ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband". The treatment of this subject is both doctrinally sound and practically orientated. The permanence of the marriage bond, the truth of headship and its consequences in the home and in the assembly, the necessity for complete fidelity and confidentiality in marriage are each stressed.
Problem areas like marital satisfaction and how to promote it, disagreements and how to resolve them, love and how to keep it fresh, gossip and how to avoid it (the author calls it sin), are all explored in detail, as is some very practical advice about the smooth, economical, responsible running of the home which is where the womans best influence lies. Readers outside of the USA where the book originated may find some of the details less appropriate, but the overall message is very important and applies everywhere.
Sin has invaded every realm of society, marriage included, but its effects can be controlled by the application of the Word of God, which is what this book successfully attempts to do. If read and its message heeded, it will be an asset in every young believers marriage, and every older ones too. The men as well as the women should read it.