Five Great Books by Assembly Writers
This week we hand the reins over to Ian Jackson who recommends 5 books written by Assembly Writers, that every Christian should own (or at least read!). Within them you will find a rich array of Biblical truth and a deep focus on practical application that is often missing in more modern books. Best of all, 4 of the 5 can be accessed free of charge online. (The Editor)
Foundations of the Faith by F. B. Hole
I was given this book as a Sunday School prize. I am so glad of this: the careful explanations of Bible truth helped me at the time and stimulated within me a desire for deeper understanding of Bible doctrine.
The book gives outlines of truth in respect such things as the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the person of Christ, creation and the fall of man, right through to future events. There are particularly helpful chapters on the meaning and true character of atonement and the distinction between propitiation and substitution.
Another helpful feature is that at the end of each chapter there are a series of questions which might arise in the reader’s mind, together with perceptive answers.
Frank Binford Hole worked as an evangelist, Bible teacher and writer and was known for the pithy and helpful illustrations he used to explain truth.
Synopsis of the Books of the Bible by J. N. Darby
JND is never the easiest writer to digest but every minute reading the Synopsis will be amply repaid by a hugely increased strategic grasp of the Scripture of truth. It is regrettable that the author often receives a bad press, especially at the hands of those who are implacably opposed to dispensational truth, as he had such a wide-ranging grasp of the ways of God with men.
If you have never read him before it will take a little time to begin to grasp the flow of thought and style of writing. But do not be put off! These volumes will bring to life the narratives of the Old Testament, with their pictures of Christ and the church, and the outlines of typical, moral and prophetic truth will stimulate a desire to read and read again God’s word. His penetrating insights are rarely replicated in other writers.
Atonement in Type, Prophecy and Accomplishment by F. W. Grant
No subjects are more important to the student of the Word than the person and work of Christ. In this book our attention is directed to the latter and is essential reading for all who are considering truth relating to the work of Calvary.
It is many years since I read it thoroughly but on perusing it again for the purpose of this review, and carefully reading what I had previously underlined in pencil and noted in the margin, I was struck again by its insight and depth. If true wisdom is to see the difference between things that are similar rather than the similarity between things that are different, then the author was a wise man! To Mr. Grant I am indebted for enlightenment in such matters as the distinction between ‘the blood of Christ’ on the one hand and ‘the death of Christ’ on the other; the one answering to what we have done and the other to what we are. Propitiation and substitution are considered, that which is Godward and that which is manward in the work of Christ being distinguished.
‘The Lord Jesus, then, was the Substitute for believers, and thus made propitiation for the sins of the world, its efficacy being conditioned upon faith. He stood as the Representative of a class, not a fixed number of individuals, - of a people to whom men are invited and besought to join themselves, the value of the atonement being more than sufficient and available for all who come. The responsibility of coming really rests, where Scripture always places it, upon men themselves.’
Though one might not agree with every sentiment expressed in it this book will greatly enhance the reader’s understanding of the subject.
Ephesians by Albert Leckie
This commentary appears in the series What the Bible Teaches published by John Ritchie. The standard of these commentaries is variable but none is better than this one. It is regrettably short but its conciseness concentrates the mind on what the epistle is saying.
Albert Leckie was an outstanding Bible teacher. He was second to none in careful exposition of the text and loved to communicate what he had learned whether in large or small meetings or with interested individuals. The truth of Ephesians was an area in which he particularly delighted. He recognizes that the apostle clearly distinguishes between the nation of Israel and the church, the latter being a heavenly people with spiritual blessings. It is a shame that his comments are so brief on the subject of our election in Christ before the foundation of the world, for they are most helpful. He simply accepts, by faith, what the Bible says on the matter without feeling the need to apply reason and logic to explain away what the human mind is unable to comprehend.
To read this book with understanding will establish a believer in the truth of the church, something which is being badly neglected and refused in our present day. This volume will amply repay the time spent in reading and re-reading it.
An Exposition of the Gospel of John by William Kelly
William Kelly was intellectually brilliant – Spurgeon reputedly said that he had a mind for the universe – and deeply spiritual. His formula for christian living was said to be faith in God's word, true obedience to it and devotedness to the person of Christ.
I never feel that any study of a Bible book is complete until I have read what Mr. Kelly has to say on it. Like so many ‘early brethren’ writers he is, to the modern reader, a little wordy and at times tries the patience of those who desire to get to the nub of what he is saying. However, persevere! Not only does he have clarifying insights as he expounds the meaning of the text but there are golden nuggets of truth strewn on every page.
Some of his books are edited shorthand notes of preached sermons but in the preface to this exposition of John he says that, ‘it was written with care from first to last, with the deep conviction how little my plummet, perhaps anyone's, can sound its revealed depths. Still, its communications are freely given by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, that we might know them through the Spirit in our measure’.
Consider this from the introduction.
‘From John 13 to 17 is unfolded the Lord's position in heaven, and what He is for us then and there - an entirely new thing for the disciples who looked for the kingdom here and now.’
This one sentence, full of insight, opens up a large area of wonderful truth and helps us read the upper room ministry in a true light.
With the exception of Ephesians by Albert Leckie (available from John Ritchie) the books noted above are all downloadable from the STEM website at stempublishing.com, which is one of the most helpful online resources available to the christian reader.