Notes and Reflections on the Psalms by Arthur Pridham; published by Chapter Two; available from John Ritchie Ltd; 622 pages; price £25.00.
According to Chapter Two, Pridham's Notes on the Psalms was first published by Binns and Goodwin in 1852, and the second edition by James Nisbet in 1869. For some years the reviewer has enjoyed his copy of the James Nisbet edition, and for that reason welcomes this Christ-exalting volume becoming available to a wide readership. Within this 622-page book, readers will find brief expositional and devotional commentary on each of the 150 Psalms.
A schoolteacher by profession, little is known of Arthur Pridham. He appears to have been in fellowship among assemblies in the middle period of the 19th century in Rochdale and Weston-super-Mare. His work drew appreciative comments from William Kelly, Charles Spurgeon and others. They described his writings as "not unprofitable", "sound and gracious". The 21st century reader will also find Notes on the Psalms to be "not unprofitable". He will find that Pridham does not limit the value of the Psalms to "consolation only", but esteems highly their value for instruction. He points out in the Introduction that a true understanding of the Psalms follows the Christian learning to distinguish in the light of the New Testament between the Church and Israel. For that reason, the author describes the sufferings of the Saviour in Psalm 22 and the hope of millennial blessings for Israel. He carefully notes Israel's portion in the One declared to be awaiting His enemies becoming His footstool (Ps 110.1) and the Priest after the order of Melchisedek, whilst also noting the ministry the saints of this period find in that Priest. In Psalm 60, treating of David's conquests he finds, not only "joyous exultation in the God of his (David's) own deliverance", but also that David "being a prophet perceived the future bearing of this noble strain".
The reader of Notes on the Psalms will find much of Christ. Pridham's rich language may sound a little unfashionable, but few will doubt that it comes from a heart appreciative of the glories he finds in Christ.
Evidence for Christianity by Josh McDowell; published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006; available from John Ritchie Ltd; 743 pages; price £11.99.
In addition to new documentation, this book includes extensive material from Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Volumes I and II, andNew Evidence that Demands a Verdict, also by Josh McDowell.Evidence for Christianity is a compilation of notes prepared for his lecture series, "Christianity: Hoax or History?".
Josh McDowell's purpose is plain, "These notes, used with a caring attitude, can motivate a person to consider Jesus Christ honestly and direct him or her back to the central and primary issue the gospel".
The format of the notes is in outline, and the transitions between them are not extensively elaborated on. This has been done with the intention that the reader will think through the individual sections and develop one's own convictions. The author comments, "Thus it becomes your message and not the parroting of someone else's".
The book begins with a consideration of, "The Case For The Bible" which is divided into the following sections: The Uniqueness of the Bible; How We Got the Bible; Is the New Testament Historically Reliable?; Is the Old Testament Historically Reliable?
"The Uniqueness of the Bible" is split into four insightful subsections: Unique in its Continuity; Unique in its Circulation; Unique in its Translation; Unique in its Survival. This last section is again sub-divided to further reveal that the Bible has survived through time, persecution and criticism.
As the book progresses, a wide range of questions are presented: How was Jesus Christ profoundly different from any other man who ever lived, and why? Is Christianity based on a blind faith or a faith rooted in historical reality? Is the Bible a reliable historical record of the events it describes? Was the resurrection a hoax or is there evidence that it was an actual historical event? Relevant in-depth answers are presented to all these questions and many more.
This is a well-written book. The Bibliography of 62 pages provides enough evidence to indicate the vast amount of time and effort spent in producing it. Evidence for Christianityunashamedly testifies to the living reality that Christianity is indeed both true and real in a sceptical world.