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Book Review

A Re-Introduction to Thomas Newberry - Volume 1; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 408 pages; price £11.99. (9781904064817)

Ritchie’s Classic Reprint Series continues with a collection of works by Thomas Newberry. The Newberry Study Bible is widely used by Christians to this day and for that reason his name is well-known to many. Newberry was called home in 1901, yet not only the Study Bible he edited but also a number of volumes of his writings are still valued.

In Chief Men among the Brethren, Henry Pickering described Newberry as "one of the most reliable and profitable expositors of the Bible", and as "generally beloved" above many. The publication of this collection will make his works available to a wider circle.

Volume 1 contains Types of the Levitical Offerings, Types of the Tabernacle, and Solomon’s Temple and its Teaching. These, first published as separate volumes, were based on lectures Newberry delivered, illustrated from a model of the Temple; "of exquisite beauty and quite unique in its design and workmanship", which he had constructed. They comprise respectively 123 pages, 151 pages, and 110 pages, so are not so detailed as to stumble a young believer looking for the first time at the topics covered. Necessarily there is some overlap between his outline of the Tabernacle and the Temple, but in no way does the measure of overlap diminish the value of either section of Volume 1. Although the Levitical Offerings were important in the context of both the Tabernacle and the Temple, there is no overlap with the other two sections.

One interesting feature of the sections Types of the Levitical Offerings and Solomon’s Temple and its Teaching is the inclusion of Questions and Answers. The first set of Questions and Answers were to help "several hundreds of young believers" whom he taught in a Bible Class. The second set appears to have arisen from the lectures he delivered on Solomon’s Temple. The introductory comment in respect of the first set would apply equally to the second: "… they may yield help on the points which are acknowledged difficulties with many students of the sacred Word."


A Re-Introduction to Thomas Newberry - Volume 2; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 160 pages; price £5.99. (9781904064886)

Volume 2 provides eighteen short essays, the longest of which is ten pages long, originally published as The Expected One, and six published as The Perfections and Excellencies of Holy Scripture. The essays dealing with important prophetic subjects include the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Revelation of the Man of Sin, the Last Week of Daniel’s Seventieth Week of Years and the Judgment of the Living Nations.

The Pentecostal Church sets out clearly the distinction between the place of the nation of Israel and the Church. It also notes the special character of the period from the Day of Pentecost to our gathering together unto the Lord at His coming to the air; and the period following, ending in the Lord coming in clouds. However, in the "types" of the Church the author finds in the Old Testament – the helpmeet Eve, Rebekah won by Eliezer, Asenath who shared Joseph’s glory, the Egyptian wife Solomon took, and Ruth – the reviewer fears some may not recognise that these are no more than interesting illustrations of how the undeserving Gentile has been brought into blessing; they are not expositions of the mystery hidden in God (Eph 3.9).

Of particular interest in the second section are the articles on Creation and Reconstruction and The Fall. In the first, Newberry offers a date for commencement of "the history of this world". He numbers Satan among those angels who kept not their first estate, whose followers are now in chains of darkness (Jude v.6). He also states equally emphatically of Genesis 1: "What interval of time there was between the first and second verses it is impossible to estimate". These views may lead to considerable debate.

Less controversial is the helpful essay on The Fall. All too few authors deal with this and other important events in "the history of this world". Newberry identifies why he believes Adam trusted God after the Fall.

The publication of Thomas Newberry’s works is to be welcomed. Undoubtedly present-day Christians will gain from his studies that were of great help to previous generations.



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