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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

Tell me more about the Holy Spirit by Jack Hay; edited by Bert Cargill; published by and available from John Ritchie Ltd; 44 pages. Price £4.99. (9781907731594)

This is the fifth book in the series Tell me more about prepared for young believers who are seeking to learn the fundamentals of "the faith … once delivered unto the saints" (Jude v.3). Recognising needs among young believers and those whose native language is not English, the writer is conscious of his readership, so "complicated sentences and difficult words" are noticeably absent, as the editor's brief required.

This Tell me more about book comprises four chapters – The Holy Spirit and His Work; The Holy Spirit and the Believer, The Holy Spirit and the Church, and The Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Tongues and other Miraculous Signs. These are important aspects of truth relating to the Holy Spirit that believers, young or old, must grasp if they are to make progress in their understanding of the Bible, and are to appreciate the great blessings into which they have come. Each of the chapters concludes with a very helpful summary of key points and guidance as to further study.

The author begins Chapter 1 with a consideration of the word "trinity" that Unitarian writers oppose so vehemently. He notes the singular "name" at Matthew 28.19 – "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"; the plural Hebrew noun rightly translated "God" at Genesis 1.1 used with the singular verb "created"; and other proof verses. He emphasises that that "there is one God" (1 Tim 2.5) and the Scriptural revelation of three Persons without reverting to ancient creeds with which few readers would be familiar.

Tell me more about the Holy Spirit also includes clear statements about other areas of controversy such as the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit. Their Place and their Passing are two headings developed to address teaching that is still prevalent in some ecclesiastical circles. In so doing the author distinguishes Biblical terms that are often confused – the baptism in the Spirit, the filling of the Spirit and speaking with tongues. Clarity is a marked feature of this helpful publication.

T Wilson


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