During the course of 1962 two significant study Bibles, representing two divergent approaches to Scripture, made their appearance. One of these, The Oxford Annotated Bible, contains the text of the Revised Standard Version together with brief introductory articles and numerous footnotes, which, as far as the Old Testament is concerned, are written from the standpoint of the modern “critical” view of Scripture. At the conclusion of the volume there are useful articles on geography and archaeology as well as chronological tables and excellent maps. The other work, the Holman Study Bible, also RSV, has introductory notes to the biblical books written by evangelical scholars, some valuable articles which serve as helps to Bible study, and a concise concordance. From the fact that evangelical scholars have contributed these notes it of course does not follow that they would all give unqualified approval to the Revised Standard Version. Indeed, both of these study Bibles would be greatly improved by notes calling attention to the major weaknesses in the Revised Standard Version, for at least in the Old Testament it is in many respects an inferior version (e.g. Ps. 2:12; Isa. 7:14). Attention should also be directed to The Amplified Old Testament, Part Two—Job to Malachi (Zondervan). The format of the book and its clear type make it easy to use, and it should prove to be a genuine aid to readers of the Old Testament.

As a companion to The Oxford Annotated Bible there has appeared the Oxford Bible Atlas, which is compact, reliable, and beautifully printed. The maps are clear and quite useful, and there is a wealth of archaeological and historical material, accompanied by excellent photographs. The standpoint from which the articles are written is the same as that which characterizes the Annotated Bible.

The Bible and its Background. Perhaps it is not out of place to mention a work that should be in the library of all who love Palestine. We refer to the little volume by Bertha Spafford Vester: Flowers Of The Holy Land (Hallmark Cards, Inc.). Here are 17 reproductions of Mrs. Vester’s original watercolors, beautifully done. He who has heard Mrs. Vester’s “story” and has been to Palestine will derive much enjoyment from this book.

John Gray’s Archaeology and the Old Testament World (Nelson) is a serious, scholarly discussion. The volume is well illustrated, and the author is abreast of the latest discoveries. He writes from the standpoint of the dominant “critical” view of the Old Testament.

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Equally scholarly, but representing the views of a Bible believer, is the valuable work The Bible and Archaeology (Eerdmans), by J. A. Thompson. The book contains material which had earlier appeared in three smaller volumes, but which is here brought together, rearranged, and enlarged. The many splendid illustrations greatly increase the book’s value, and help to make it a most helpful compendium of reference for the average reader of the Bible.

One of the needs of our day is for a volume dealing with the philosophy of archaeology and its position in a genuine Christian apologetic. To the best of the present writer’s knowledge, this question has not yet been adequately treated.

Aids to Bible Reading. That portions of the Old Testament are difficult for the average reader cannot be denied. Genuine helps, therefore, are truly to be welcomed. One method of studying the Old Testament is to devote attention to its great personalities. In Women Who Made Bible History (Zondervan), Harold J. Ockenga has done just this. He has given us several penetrating yet popular studies of different women of the Bible, the reading of which should bring profit and a deeper understanding of the Scriptures.

As a help in the study of one of the more difficult periods of Old Testament history, Exile and Return (Baker), by Charles F. Pfeiffer, can be heartily recommended. It is written in language for the layman, is well supplied with helps such as illustrations and maps, and is faithful to the Scriptures.

Two further Bible Guides (Abingdon), Historians of Israel (1), by Gordon Robinson, and Historians ofIsrael (2), by Hugh Anderson, dealing with Samuel–Kings and Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah respectively, present a popular approach to these biblical books. The works are scholarly, well written, and easily readable, but they present an approach to Scripture which is not that of the Bible itself.

A popular approach to Exodus is found in Holy Ground (Baker), by Douglas M. White. One who is not familiar with the Bible should be helped by reading this book. The expositions are practical and devotional. The Making of a Man of God (Zondervan), by Alan Redpath, consists of popular studies in the life of David. The studies are devotional and should be a help in opening up the portions of Scripture with which they deal.

Dr. Herbert Lockyer has followed his many other volumes with another, All the Promises of the Bible (Zondervan). This is a big book (610 pages), and it keeps the Scripture constantly before the reader’s eyes. Its reading can bring much profit.

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A Hebrew Grammar. One aspect of Old Testament study seems to bring forth more groans from theological students than any other, namely, the Hebrew language in which the Old Testament is written. Those who wish to do serious work in the Old Testament, however, must study Hebrew. Modern helps, guides, outlines, and so on, are no substitute for a knowledge of Hebrew. But to obtain a competent knowledge of this language is no easy task. Any help in the study of Hebrew is to be welcomed, and the appearance of a twenty-fifth edition of Davidson’s Hebrew Grammar (T. & T. Clark) shows that many have found the book useful. This edition has been subjected to a thorough revision by John Mauchline, who has performed an extremely difficult task in a most capable manner. This reviewer is unable to accept in its totality the approach to Hebrew found in Davidson, but this is by far the best edition of this work to appear.

It is a sign of encouragement that 1962 should see the appearance of a reprint of The Semantics of Biblical Language (Oxford), by James Barr, a book that exposes the fallacious use of Hebrew and Greek linguistic evidence by some modern scholars. It is time that someone should write a book of this kind. Had the author done nothing more than expose the misuse of the Hebrew word dabar (word-matter) by some modern theologians, he would deserve the gratitude of all biblical scholars. At times, it may be, the argument is carried too far, but this is a valuable book, to be carefully read, pondered, and heeded.

Old Testament Prophecy. At the heart of Old Testament studies are the prophets; in interest and significance, at least, they occupy a predominant place. Abraham J. Heschel has written a large volume, The Prophets (Harper), which, although scholarly, can yet easily be followed by the educated layman; it is written in beautiful English, interspersed with frequent quotations from the prophets. Attention is devoted to each of the prophets and also to the great questions which are involved in the study of prophecy. But one could at times wish for more penetration in the treatment of some of these problems. Thus in a note it is declared that four theories of the Servant of the Lord have been presented (p. 149), but among these the Messianic interpretation is not mentioned. Despite the learning which characterizes this work, its thesis will not be acceptable to the Christian who believes that the prophets spoke of Christ.

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Perhaps the most significant and profound work on the prophets to appear in our generation is J. Lindblom’s Prophecy in Ancient Israel (Basil Blackwell). Through the kindness of Professor G. W. Anderson the author’s English has been improved, so that the reading of the work is a pleasure. It is no exaggeration to say that this volume will take its place along with Hölscher’s work as a standard reference book. It is nothing if not thorough. The prophets are not discussed individually, as was the case with Heschel’s book, but due attention is paid to their teaching. Despite its profundity and thoroughness, however, the book does not really come to grips with the basic problem in prophetic study. That basic problem is not whether the prophets believed that God had spoken to them—on that point there seems to be little room for doubt—but whether God actually did speak to them. Were they really the recipients of special, direct, propositional revelation from the one living and true God? That is the question to be faced. If God did not give special revelation to the prophets, then they were fundamentally mistaken about themselves. It is no light issue, for the very truthfulness of Christianity is involved, but it is one which neither of the two books under discussion faces squarely.

Historical Study. Because of its importance there is one monograph deserving particular attention. Professor H. H. Rowley has written on the difficult subject of Hezekiah’s Reform and Rebellion (The John Rylands Library), presenting a strong defense of the view that there was only one campaign of Sennacherib. The significance of this will immediately be apparent to every biblical student. Possibly it is time to suggest that biblical students, whatever be their viewpoint, abandon 715 as the date of Hezekiah’s accession and the whole unfounded view of two campaigns of Sennacherib. No serious student should neglect what Rowley has written.

Special Studies. Many will welcome a reissue of H. Wheeler Robinson’s Inspiration and Revelation in the Old Testament (Oxford Paperbacks). The book will not be satisfactory to a conservative Christian, but it is an excellent presentation of a certain viewpoint. Jack Finegan has written a popular exposition of Genesis with practical application, In the Beginning (Harper). The book is abreast of archaeological studies but represents an approach which this reviewer cannot share.

Under the title Israel’s Prophetic Heritage (Harper), 16 scholars have presented essays in honor of James Muilenburg. None of the articles is written from a conservative standpoint, but all are scholarly, and some are particularly thought-provoking, a worthy tribute to the great scholar whom they honor.

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Old Testament Theology. Many of the works which treat of the content and teaching of the Old Testament are based on a particular evaluation of the Old Testament represented by scholars such as Alt, Noth, von Rad, and Mowinckel. The following books more or less agree with this point of view, although each is an independent work. But the underlying position is one which, in this reviewer’s opinion, does not do justice to the supernaturalism of the Old Testament.

George A. F. Knight gives an informing discussion of Law and Grace (Westminster) with many challenging ideas to consider. The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith (Abingdon), by Paul J. and Elizabeth Achtemeier, endeavors to show the importance of the Old Testament for Christianity. Even though one may disagree with much in the book, he will yet profit from its reading. John William Wevers has given an interesting and informative study of the Psalms and Wisdom Books in The Way of the Righteous (Westminster). His work is a useful introduction to a certain modern approach to the Psalms. Whatever Gabriel Hebert writes is thought-provoking. His The Old Testament From Within (Oxford) attempts to show the real issues of faith in the various stages of Old Testament history, but the Bible believer will not find it satisfactory. Of particular importance is Murray Newman’s The People of the Covenant (Abingdon). This work shows thorough acquaintance with the writings of some of the scholars mentioned above, but also exhibits considerable originality. It stands out as a book of unusual moment, and may be studied as one of the best available guides to a particular interpretation of Israel’s history.

Three Translated Works from Germany. At last there has appeared an English translation of von Rad’s monumental theology. Old Testament Theology, Volume I (Harper), is a beautifully printed work, and will make the thought of this great scholar available to English-speaking people. Von Rad’s approach is radical, at least as radical as that of Wellhausen, and the basic standpoint adopted is one that cannot be called biblical. Certainly a theology should face up to the question of special revelation from the triune God, but this work does not do so.

A second commentary in Westminster’s “Old Testament Library,” Exodus, by Martin Noth, will be of interest to students of Old Testament history. It builds upon the untenable documentary hypothesis with the result that the supernatural in Exodus is not adequately dealt with. The treatment of the burning bush, for example, is quite unsatisfactory.

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Another commentary in this Westminster series is The Psalms, by Artur Weiser. The work presents the same general approach to Scripture as does that of Noth, but the deficiencies of that approach do not seem to make themselves apparent in a commentary on the Psalms to the extent that they do in the treatment of a book like Exodus, where the shadow of the documentary hypothesis is in the foreground. Weiser’s work is profound and filled with useful material. But how much richer are Calvin and Hengstenberg!

Two Evangelical Works. Dealing with the difficult subject of Christ’s second coming, Dr. J. Barton Payne, The Imminent Appearing of Christ (Eerdmans), has defended a premillennial interpretation which is worthy of serious consideration. A second work, Theology of the Older Testament (Zondervan), is of major proportions, and constitutes a serious, scholarly study of Old Testament biblical theology. The book represents a tremendous amount of reading and researching, and is characterized throughout by faithfulness to the infallible Word of God. In a work of this size there are sure to be some areas of disagreement, but even where one cannot follow the author he can learn from him. And Dr. Payne’s gracious method of dealing with those with whom he disagrees might well be emulated by us all. Above all, the presuppositions which undergird this book are true, for they are scripturally grounded. This is the path in which all scholarship must walk, if it will truly come to an understanding of God’s inscripturated Word.



He that believeth not is condemned already.

Who? Who will pluck the blazing brand away

From this the quivering tablet of my soul?

And who will stop this turning wheel

On which my spirit, stretched with eternal straining, cries?

Or who will cool my burning tongue

With but a drop of mercy’s dew,

And speak a word—one little word

Of comfort in my pain perpetual?

Dark is the day—the never-dying day,

Whose dawn I curse; whose close I now despair.


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