By Tom Ratcliffe. ISBN 1 872734 26 X. Published by Christian Year Publications, Bristol, and distributed by John Ritchie Ltd, and in N. America by Gospel Folio Press. Hardback, spine blocked in gold and with a four-colour dust jacket, 278 pages in full colour throughout. £16.95.
A number of authoritive books dealing with this specialist subject are already available to the Bible student for consultation. However, what we have here is something uniquely different to anything that has been published previously. Tom Ratcliffe, the author, has catalogued the 100+ species of plants that are referred to in Scripture, and then deals briefly with the nature, general location and usage of each plant. He is eminently qualified to write on such a specialist subject, for after gaining his initial qualification he spent the remainder of his working life in horticulture. However, the distinctive feature that places this book in a different category to all the others is that it goes on to consider, in depth, the spiritual aspects of each plant as presented in Scripture. The author avers that mention of these plants, fruits and products, in whatever context, must hold spiritual significance and forms part of the typical teaching of Scripture. With meticulous attention to detail he submits delightful, thought-provoking, comments that open up fresh fields of exploration to the devoted student, and point to the limitless extent of the truths contained in God’s word. This hard-covered volume is beautifully illustrated, the author’s colour photographs and watercolour paintings being used. There is also an exhaustible table of Bible references to plants, fruits and plant products. Since I found this book to be highly readable, hugely informative and most enjoyable, I warmly recommend it to all our readers.