The Pathway Home, Poems by E J Ritchie; published by S Ritchie. Available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £7.99.
The writer of this fine collection of poems, Miss Elizabeth Jane Ritchie, was born in 1874. She originated from Straid, near the village of Claudy, in Co. Londonderry.
Miss Ritchie, known as Jeannie, became a teacher in Monaghan, but was later obliged to retire for health reasons. Revered as a lady of Christian character and saintly life, she was a member of the Straid assembly, and was known as one who lived in the daily enjoyment and presence of her Saviour.
The poems in The Pathway Home were not known to exist until 2003 when two note-books were found in the attic of a relative in Walsall, England. The result of that discovery is this well-presented book.
The Pathway Home focuses upon various aspects of the Christian life. The poems are helpfully grouped under the following subject headings: Salvation; Praise; Worship; Consecration and Aspiration; Christian Service; Exhortation and Comfort; Our Attitude to Others; Our Concern for the Unsaved; Lessons from the Old Testament; Thanksgiving; Nature; Heaven and Home.
The poetry reflects her deep devotion to the Lord. In the poem entitled, "A Prayer II", the fifth stanza states,
"Up, up in the realms of the lovely and glorious
Beholding Thy face may my soul ever dwell,
Where my love may abound, and my life be victorious
And in beauty of holiness seek to excel."
Relevant lessons are drawn from various Bible characters such as Queen Vashti, Samson and Delilah. There is also a powerful poem about erring Ephraim, which vividly describes him heading carelessly "Into pathways unsafe and unknown".
The forty-one poems are interspersed with beautiful full-colour photographs from the Straid district and other parts of Co. Londonderry. These scenes would have been familiar to Miss Ritchie, and add a homely touch to the book.
The rich diversity of subject matter will be valued by believers with a keen interest in poetry that exalts the Saviour and encourages the believer to have spiritual aspirations on The Pathway Home.
Mounces Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words; edited by William D Mounce; published by Zondervan. Available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £17.99.
Many of the readers of Believers Magazine will have used Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words and possibly Wilsons Old Testament Word Studies. Inevitably, readers and the reviewer will make comparisons particularly in terms of ease of use. That the Publishers of Mounces Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (MED) see a need for such a work is encouraging. It tells of a deep interest in the Word of God within the markets Zondervan is addressing. The Publishers also claim that "this volume draws on world-class contemporary scholarship to set a new standard in biblical word studies". No knowledge of Greek is required, although the authors introduction would suggest that a parallel work of his or the recommended computer software would assist the user of MED.
MED is a beautifully produced hardback of 1316 pages. The high quality India paper means the reader has a book of manageable proportions. The volume is carefully designed offering an expository dictionary, a Scripture index to the expository dictionary and Hebrew-English and Greek-English dictionaries. A 26-page guide is provided to assist the reader.
The reviewer is concerned that some readers will find some difficulty in using MED. Although the editors Introduction claims that MED "is not keyed to just one English translation", the reader turning to the noun "physician" will find no entry. Nor is one available under "doctor", but a limited entry under "cure" and more full explanation under "healing" are helpful. Under "servant" the Greek noun used in Matthew 12.18 (AV); Acts 3.13,26; 4.27,30 (all RV) is not listed. An additional difficulty is presented to those who use Strongs numbering to access other works. MEDs primary indexing system is Goodrick-Kohlenbergers. Within any entry in the dictionaries the Strong number is included.
For those able to use MED there are advantages in accessing only one volume. It also contains what the editor calls "golden nuggets" which help illustrate the meaning of a word or context.