308pp. £16.50, published by John Ritchie Ltd., 40 Beansburn, Kilmarnock KA3 1RH. (ISBN 0-946351-95-3)
We greet with pleasure this first publication in a new series of commentaries; it has been eagerly awaited by all that have benefited from the now completed New Testament series. A first glance reveals it to be markedly different in composition and appearance to the earlier publications. The main difference is that it does not follow the verse-by-verse approach adopted in the other series. Also, as a means of saving space there is no inclusion of the text of Scripture, but this will cause minimal inconvenience to readers who, generally, will be acquainted with the portion under consideration, and can have easy access to an open Bible. The Genesis text is dealt with in sections and these represent appropriate sub-divisions of the main account and are clearly headed as to their content.
As ever the question we must ask is, ‘What does this book provide that adds to what is already available?’ Prominent on many shelves are well-known, and much loved, books that give an outline of Genesis. For the most part they deal with the spiritual lessons to be derived from the divinely inspired account. One may often look in vain in such books for help with the difficult portions that require more explanation for they claim the attention of the discerning reader. Against this, we have the exhaustive commentaries of scholarly theologians of which the majority, for all their helpfulness, emphasize few of those important lessons taught in this amazing book that need to be applied in the lives of believers.
The answer to the question, and it is a particular recommendation of this book, is that it comes to us as an amalgam of distilled wisdom of notable scholars (the bibliography submitted by the author would support such assertion) and sound exposition of fundamental truths presented in this book of ‘beginnings’. It provides a happy union of disparate methods of approach to the study of Genesis, falling in line with the editor’s comment as to both series that they will ‘together provide an accessible and useful tool for the study of, and meditation on, Scripture’.
Difficulties are not avoided, and where scholars fail to agree as to a correct reading of the Hebrew text, thereby creating some kind of confusion, the author makes a judgement for the reader in logical fashion. No such confusion arises from Wesley Ferguson’s comments for they are lucid, thoughtful, and beautifully expressed. We warmly recommend this book to all our readers – it will prove a great blessing to all who look not only to acquire a knowledge of God’s word, but who also seek to gain, with the help of the Holy Spirit, a true understanding of what He has written.
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