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The Song of Solomon by Thomas Newberry; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 90 pages. Price £6.99. (9781907731686)

Ritchie’s Classic Reprint Series already contains works by Thomas Newberry. The inclusion of The Song of Solomon indicates the high regard in which this godly student of the Word is held more than a century after his death. Most believers’ bookshelves do not contain many expositions of the Song of Solomon. More recently, John Ritchie has published J M Flanigan’s exposition of the Song in the What the Bible Teaches series. Yet the Song is largely neglected, perhaps because of difficulties related to its interpretation.

The interpretation of the Song is not as thoroughly treated in this Reprint as it is in Flanigan’s commentary. However, Newberry’s purpose was clearly not to seek to interpret the events chronicled in the Song, but to apply the teaching of the Song to the believer’s relationship to Christ, more particularly to the Church’s relationship to Christ. On p.1, Newberry suggests that in Solomon’s Gentile wife "is shadowed forth the great mystery, Christ and the Church (Eph 5.23-32)."

Some of Newberry’s applications are unusual. When the Bride is compared to "a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots" (Song 1.9,-10), he reminds the reader of the "royal service" that is ours in the fellowship of the gospel" (Phil 1.5). In his comments on the Bride’s visit to the city by night when she loses her vail, he comments that "even this is turned to good", although in reality, in Solomon’s age, immediately she would have been classified as immodest, even shameful, especially at night. Newberry comments: "Now she is ready to bear testimony for him". However, many of his applications are telling and his appreciation of Christ striking throughout this little volume.

Newberry’s prepared marginal notes for readers with no access to the Hebrew text are included in this volume. A brief article by Newberry entitled "The Bride of the Lamb" is appended to this helpful devotional work. An editorial note observes that this article has been helpful to some who have encountered teaching suggesting that "the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife" is not the Church but "a restored Israel of the future".

T Wilson

Analytical Studies in The Psalms by Arthur G Clarke; published 2012 by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 372 pages. Price £10.99. (9781907731679)

In the Foreword of this classic book on the Psalms, W E Vine observes "The brightest and best steel comes through the hottest furnace. The beauty of the pearl is the result of the bitterness of pain. The most gorgeous butterflies gain their freedom by means of a struggle through the thickest cocoons".

This book is the result of an experience of solitary confinement, when the author, who was serving God as a missionary in North China, was arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II. Much comfort was derived from the Psalms during that difficult period until his release in 1945.

The book commences with "Introductory Notes" and contains helpful instruction as to the Psalms and their Order, Date and Authorship, Titles, Form of Hebrew Poetry, and Interpretation.

The author establishes that to truly understand the Psalms, it is necessary to study them from three view-points "(a) the Primary Association or Historical Aspect; (b) the Prophetic Anticipation, or Typical Aspect; and (c) the Personal Application, or Devotional Aspect".

The author is fond of alliteration which he extensively employs throughout the book, but his method never appears to be overstretched.

As an example, Psalm 95 is entitled "Reaching Redemption Rest". The psalm is divided into three sections. 1. The glad worship of the people (1-7b). 2. The great wish for the people (7c). 3. The grave warning to the people (8-11).

The psalm is then considered in the three ways set out in the "Introductory Notes".

The study of each psalm concludes with a section of "Verse Notes". The book concludes with twelve helpful appendices including "Poetic figures of Speech".

A Cameron


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