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The Acts of the Apostles by John M Riddle

Published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd £10.99 / 9781907731457

This 425-page commentary on Luke’s unique history of the thirty years after the Lord’s resurrection and exaltation will prove helpful to many. We have no other Scripture that provides a record of the spread of the gospel from Jerusalem to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1.8). The book will guide the reader through countries, provinces, and cities, and across seas. With accuracy Luke deals with political leaders, both local and provincial, and varied presentations of the one gospel. All these matters are reflected fairly in the space allocations of this book.

The author’s Preface comments on the origin of this commentary. He states that it is "not a commentary" in the usual sense of the word… [but] represents the substance of Bible Class discussions" over 19 months in 2008/09. The efforts to capture the detailed discussions that took place are commendable. The Acts of the Apostles now published allows a wider audience to gain from the profitable discussions in Cheshunt.

The range of truth presented in The Acts is considerable, and the accompanying problems faced were considerable. The Lord’s Person and Work are set out for various audiences - audiences as markedly different as the Jews assembled for the Feast of Weeks from the idolatrous nations where Paul laboured. There were cultural issues, but deeper were those involving ceremonies required of Jews; these surfaced at various times (e.g. Acts 15, 21) and are carefully considered. Important sequential records (e.g. Acts 2, 10, 19) noted in the commentary should disperse some of the clouds of misinterpretations that have left some earnest Christians confused. Interesting characters like Apollos and Timothy are important in the development of the Acts narrative. In both cases there arose issues that should not occur today, and these are not avoided in this volume.

The publication of The Acts of the Apostles is to be welcomed. Its teaching is presented in very accessible language, and its lessons deal with doctrine that still needs to be taught today. Inevitably, within the scope of 425 pages, not every detail in the 28 chapters of The Acts can be covered to the satisfaction of every reader.

T Wilson

God’s Timetable for a Troubled World by Donald C B Cameron

Published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd £6.99 / 9781907731495

In a world of increasing uncertainty, there are many who, having neither anchor nor compass, are "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph 4.14). In the postmodern Western world so much scorn has been cast upon the Bible, both as to man’s origin and his destiny, that more interest is generated in what the Ouija board says about tomorrow than in the divine revelation that God has given about the future. In the eastern hemisphere the traditional religions of those nations hold the attention of most, while in the Middle East the prophetic voice of Islam promises dominance to its followers. The Publishers of God’s Timetable for a Troubled World recognise that there are many "with little or no prior knowledge of the predictive prophecy of the Bible". This 126-page volume is aimed at such people as well providing Christians with an eminently-readable introduction to Bible prophecy.

The author has published several books on prophecy, so draws from many years of study and a deep understanding of the needs of those not well-versed in Scripture. In the scope of this slim volume, he covers a range of topics from Messianic prophecies to the Rapture of the Church, Israel’s future, the Tribulation Period, Earth’s Golden Era and the New Heavens and Earth. Clarity marks each chapter, and each is anchored in Scripture; key passages are quoted at length and italicised to ensure the reader is aware that these are not a man’s views but the Scriptures of truth. He has also anticipated the shallow depth of knowledge that will mark many readers, so has included a helpful six-page glossary of terms – an example that other authors might wisely follow.

The very title of God’s Timetable for a Troubled World may arrest some to buy this book. It is sub-titled "Investigating End Time Events", underscoring its purpose. It could be confidently put into the hands of any earnest inquirer.

T Wilson

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