And is it so…?

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. Romans 8v28-30

 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3v1-2

John Nelson Darby wrote:

And is it so! I shall be like Thy Son?
Is this the grace which He for me has won?
Father of glory–thought beyond all thought!
In glory, to His own blest likeness brought!

Oh, Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize and travail of Thy soul.

Yet it must be: Thy love had not its rest
Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest;
That love that gives not as the world, but shares
All it possesses with its loved co-heirs.

Nor I alone; Thy loved ones, all complete
In glory, round Thee there with joy shall meet
All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord,
Object supreme of all, by all adored.

Romans: The Gospel of God’s Grace – Alva J. McClain

What a book! If there was one commentary on the Romans which I believe provides readability, accuracy and simplicity it is this one. It is full of illustrations and pictures to bring out the truth. It is also dispensational (ch9-11) and he sees a future for Israel in ch11.

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For anyone starting out to study this great letter to the Romans, don’t forget this easy-to-read commentary.

Alva McClain was a very gifted teacher of the scriptures during the 20th Century.   He has written other books some of which I am just longing to look at. These include “Daniel’s Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks”, “Law and Grace…” and of course “The Greatness of the Kingdom”.

“And God Said…” by Farid Abou-Rahme

What can I say about this book?! I find it interesting and yet I have grave concerns.

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From a Christian perspective and if you have any involvement in science (which i have studied), this book is interesting. The author gives his theories as to how the pre-flood earth operated and The dimensions of the ark are calculated and you can see the scale of it.

My serious concern with the book is not with the Author’s desire spread the gospel, nor with his promotion of the truths of creation (which I completely agree with) but it is with the biblical thinking behind the book. 

The extended title is “And God said: Science confirms the authority of the bible” – does SCIENCE confirm the authority of the BIBLE??? This is completely the wrong way round! The Bible does not need science to prop it up. Science is never and should never be thought to be the bedrock upon which the Bible is built. This is wrong! It would be truer to say “the Bible confirms that the Creation Scientist is right in his conclusions”. The infallible word of God is not to be subjected to our puny intellect to prove that it is the truth. Imagine the foolishness of me saying “God is right because I think so”

Do we need to intellectually work out truth before we believe it? This order is wrong, the scripture says “by faith we understand…” (Hebrews 11v3) If we descend to this type of thinking we will become like the faithless man in the street who says “seeing is believing”.  May God grant us lower thoughts of our own intellect and higher thoughts of Him.

I must believe God created everything because He told us (Gen 1v1) NOT because science proves it (even if it does). My faith MUST rest in the power of God NOT in the wisdom of men. Take time to read of Paul’s presentation of the Gospel to the worldly wise at Corinth in 1 Cor 2 – I think it is relevant here. There are real dangers if our faith is depending on our thinking and not in God and His word.

Daily Study Bible – William Barclay – AVOID, it’s poison!

Just thought I would add my voice to the disapproval of anything by William Barclay.

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 Among the things that Barclay is reported to have denied are the following

1. He denied the Virgin Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. He denied the deity of Christ (somewhat contradictory and confusing in light of other comments made by him).

3. He denied the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ on the Cross.

4. He denied many of the literal miracles of Christ

5. He denied the truth of eternal punishment for the lost

 Strangely, his books are still found in many evangelical Christian bookshops!

I took time to check out one or two of these things myself and was very disturbed.

Christians – I appeal, stick to good food! Don’t be tempted by food laced with poison – however nicely presented.

Barclay was not a Christian, no true believer denies that the Lord Jesus is God, John 1v2, Hebrews 1v8 etc etc.

The Lord Jesus used the Name of God (Exodus 3) the “I Am” to denote His own Deity. And the words from the lips of the One Who cannot lie were:

 “If you do not believe that I Am, you will die in your sins.” John 8v24

Daniel, Romans, Galatians, Revelation – John Ritchie

John Ritchie was a teacher among Christian assemblies around the turn of the 19th/20th Centuries. He also set up the Christian bookseller/publisher which still runs under his name. He was a distinguished looking chap! (From www.wholesomewords.org)

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 All his books are worth reading! Anything I’ve ever read by him seems packed full of scripture. He rarely wrote down a truth without placing beside it a reference to where that truth could be found! I only wish that, like WE Vine, a Collected Writings Set had been created.

This volume (Daniel, Romans, Galatians, Revelation) was a compilation done in the Assembly Writer’s Library series and is thoroughly worthwhile reading (I have looked at Daniel, Romans, and Revelation).

His other writings include “From Egypt to Canaan” “the Tabernacle in the wilderness” “the feasts of Jehovah” “The Second Coming of the Lord” etc etc, a recommended process would be to go on to www.abebooks.co.uk and type in John Ritchie as a author and search through the 200+ results for the Christian commentaries (also note his son, John Ritchie, wrote a few books as well, e.g. “bulwarks of the Christian Faith”)

Thoughts on Revelation (3)

“Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth…”  (Rev 1v4-5)

 A blessing to Christians from the Trinity! This is clearly seen from the passage. Just check out the word “from”.

1) From God who is eternal
2) From the Holy Spirit (seven speaks of His completeness and perfection – used lots of times in the Revelation)
3) From Jesus Christ…

 Then there is another “3”. Three things are told to us about the Lord Jesus. He is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler over the kings of the earth”

The faithful witness – this looks back over His life. He was always full of grace and truth. Eventually it cost Him His life…

The firstborn from the dead – this looks at Him presently as conquer and chief up from the dead…

The ruler over the kings of the earth – this looks forward to His reign, when he will be displayed as the Person to whom God has given complete authority (Matt 28), see also Psalm 2, 110 and Revelation 19 “on his head were many crowns” Rev 19v12
 

The Collected Writings of W. E. Vine (5 Volumes)

Old Standard. He covers a number of the New Testament Letters in his first 3 Volumes, and then in Vol 4 and 5 he touches upon other precious truths for Christians such as the Person of Christ, Prophecy and Christian missionary service. A self teaching course by W. E. V. on New Testament Greek is also included in the Writings!

If you are interested in seriously studying the New Testament Letters I would really recommend anything by Vine, you are bound to find something helpful in it.

Old Testament Commentary – Merrill F. Unger

This is a commentary on the whole of the Old Testament by a Bible Teacher of much repute. He speciallized in OT studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and taught it, if my memory is correct, for more than 20 years there. It is warm, reverent and helpful. If you don’t have many books on the Old Testament and are looking for something generally helpful – GET THIS BOOK!

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It is easy to see from a reading of the book that he was a student of the Hebrew language and he brings out some of the rich treasures it contains. Also he had a wide grasp of the archeology and history of the times which at time can be interesting for believers. I love it and if I was asked to rate it I would give it 9.5 out of 10.

E-sword (Bible program)

This is a great Bible software program set up to help believers in the study of the Word. It can be downloaded free on www.e-sword.net . It is user friendly.

I have worked with it quite a bit and would recommend it to anyone. There are a number of free additional downloads. Like anything else, don’t use it if you have a system you are comfortable with and enjoying (“if it’s not broken don’t mend it“). They have now added on a number of programs which aren’t free (due to copyright laws) but some are worthwhile paying out on! I’ll tell you some of the features that I find helpful, and you can decide if it suits you and download accordingly 

 W. E. Vine’s Expository Words – an excellent dictionary on words in New Testament (and some in Old), the NT is by WEV, a reverent student of the Scriptures and a thorough  scholar.

Strong’s Dictionary – an old favourite William MacDonald – Believer’s Bible commentary – a monumental, easy-t0-read commentary on the whole of the Bible. On the whole, probably better in the New Testament than the Old.

 ESV – English Standard Version of the Bible, easy to read, helpful and illuminating especially in some of Paul’s letters.

ASV – the American Standard Version – the American version of the Revised Version (1881) on the whole probably more well thought of.

Darby – Darby’s New Translation of the Scriptures – not the easiest to read but at times very thought-provoking (the E-sword version doesn’t have his footnotes – which are great and that’s a pity!)

There are other word studies and general commentaries which also would probably be worth having as well. Such as “The Complete Word Study Dictionary” and “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” but as I haven’t really used them much I’ll not comment. The big thing in everything is to keep the Word central. It is what as Christians we should feed on, love and reverence. Don’t agree with any commentator who disagrees with the substance or the spirit of this wonderful Book!