Beginnings: Old Testament Overview Volume 1 - Richard Catchpole
John Scarsbrook, Killamarsh, England
Paperback, 323 Pages, Published by Precious Seed Publications, 34 Metcalfe Avenue, Killamarsh, UK. ISBN 978-1-871642-66-7.
Precious Seed Publications set themselves the very worthy task of providing Christian readers with a series of books that offer an overview of a number of books of the Old Testament at once, arranged according to their chronological rather than their place-in-the-Bible order. This book – appropriately entitled ‘Beginnings’ – covers the familiar books of Genesis and Exodus, while additionally tackling the rarely read book of Job, who is thought to have been contemporary with the earliest patriarchs.
Although one might have expected simple introductions to each book, Richard Catchpole has provided, if not verse-by-verse coverage, then certainly complete topic-by-topic comments. Genesis and Exodus contain some of the most important themes in the Bible, such as the creation, the fall, the flood, the call of Abraham, then the grand themes of the redemption of the children of Israel from Egypt, and worship in the tabernacle, as well as the giving of the Old Covenant in general. These are clearly explained and the New Testament significance of all these topics is also well presented.
The Book of Job is long, and for the first-time reader quite complicated. However, the author deals with the story very well, including a good description of Job’s spiritual suffering, and the unhelpful comments of his friends, who could only think that God was punishing Job for his sins, whereas God actually had a purpose in it all. Where appropriate here and elsewhere in the book, the readers are challenged to look at their own lives in the light of the spiritual issues raised.
For those readers motivated to dig deeper into the Bible books covered, lists of in-depth, reliable commentaries are provided. The reasonable price of £7.50 means that this book is certainly good value for money, and overall represents a good buy!
[Our thanks to Howard Barnes, Westhoughton, England, for this review]