There is something impertinent about writing for fellow ministers on “the importance of keeping spiritually renewed and refreshed in mind as well as in spirit.” The need is undeniable. But who feels qualified to exhort busy men to still more effort?
Let us then take refuge immediately behind a row of books—four well-known and rewarding volumes that most men of fifty will have within reach.
E. F. Scott’s The Fourth Gospel was a seed-book, and still after sixty years it is stimulating, provoking, delightful to read, sending one back to John if only to refute Scott!
James Moffatt’s Introduction to the New Testament was monumental, summarizing a hundred books, and citing (surely) a thousand, setting all New Testament study on higher ground. It is a weird collection of the radical, the fantastic, the illuminating, all possible and impossible theories, and brilliant suggestions, and it provided the groundwork for the New Testament’s first great breakthrough into modern speech. It is superseded now, except as a history of New Testament studies, but no one will ever measure what modern Bible-lovers owe to James Moffatt.
R. W. Dale’s Atonement was a teething ring for many evangelicals, a fairly stiff introduction to theological ways, enlightening as a scriptural survey and philosophical enough to persuade more than one earnest young man that the “old, old Gospel” was intellectually respectable. Though dated now, in its day it was a magnificent protest against subjective theories of the Cross.
J. S. Stewart’s A Man in Christ was a brook by the traveler’s way: rich, refreshing, modern, scholarly, heart-warming. Taken up for study, it served for devotion, most of all perhaps by keeping Paul close to the life he really lived, in all its depth, ...1
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