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Book Review

The Structural Principles of the Bible by F E Marsh; published 2008 by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 431 pages; price £10.99.

This book is one of the volumes in the Classic Reprint Series. It was originally written as the result of a request which the author received from a friend to write a book on the laws of Biblical interpretation.

The preface records the wise and weighty words of Myles Coverdale which are of paramount importance in the study of God’s Word - "Mark not only what is spoken or written, but of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before and what followeth". This sound advice forms the foundation of this book which is suitably subtitled, "How to Study the Word of God".

F E Marsh takes the Bible as a living organism and uses the human body as a model for twelve distinct themes. He considers: The Body of a United Organism; The Head of a Golden Wisdom; The Spirit of an Intellectual Individualism; The Soul of a Breathing Life; The Heart of a Loving Purpose; The Hands of a Working Design; The Mouth of a Specific Utterance; The Lungs of a Double Action; The Ears of a Perpetual Attention; The Feet of a Progressive Movement; The Finger of a Distinct Direction; The Eyes of a Prophetic Outlook.

Each section contains a rich mine of wealth. The second chapter, "The Head of a Golden Wisdom", contains a thorough study of Christ in the Passover and the Offerings. In a meticulous way, extensive Scripture references are cited throughout the book.

Three illustrative pull-out charts are included. The first relates to the Greek prepositions in connection with the Holy Spirit. The second presents seven judgments in relation to believers in Christ. The third considers the various "days" in the Word of God.

Numerous quotations are utilised by the author. Here is one gem from Spurgeon: "Wait at His door with prayer; wait at His feet with humility; wait at His table with service; wait at His window with expectancy". The heart of the reader will be filled with wonder and worship, as the vast treasures of the Word of God are explored in the company of this outstanding writer.


One God One Message by P D Bramsen; published by Rock International; available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £8.99.

One God One Message is subtitled Discover the Mystery, Take the Journey. The title itself clearly describes the contents of this interesting exploration of the gospel and the God who through the gospel blesses men, women and children with salvation. The reviewer is not persuaded that the subtitle adds to the reader’s sense of the author’s purpose in One God One Message.

The author has been engaged in missionary service on the edge of the Sahara for some 25 years. American by nationality, he authored the book in the Sahel region of Senegal in West Africa where the majority religion is Islam. But One God One Message is not one more publication to assist western Christians to understand a religion that is becoming influential in almost every western country and at all levels in society from Government to the lowest strand of public service and industry. Initially the reviewer thought it was a presentation of the gospel aimed at Muslim readers. Bramsen begins most of his chapters with reference to one of "the countless Muslim inquirers whose emails motivated" him to write, but skilfully shows that the obstacles those inquirers face are the obstacles that caused Cain to perish and the obstacles that every present-day "do-it-yourself" religionist has to overcome.

Bramsen raises and addresses many of those obstacles. He treats of creation, of the allegations that the New Testament was corrupted, that Christ was never crucified, that no one could be sure of eternity, as well as the religions of the world. He illustrates from correspondence but also from the experiences of those who have found the Saviour. His arguments are not superficial, nor are they detailed and complex; as a result the reader is kept engaged for 387 pages. The author provides 31 pages of Endnotes to satisfy the diligent reader of the validity of the sources cited; therein lies a lesson from which we could learn. For these reasons the reviewer is able to commend One God One Message, despite a few jarring phrases.



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