The Epistles of Paul to the Philippians and to Philemon, by Jac. J. Muller. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. Price $3.50.
This is one of the volumes of the New International Commentary on the New Testament which is being published by the Eerdmans Publishing Co. Except for the notes on the bottom of each page, it is easily accessible to the general public and as such we gladly recommend to our readers. Those who wish to prepare themselves for a Sunday school lesson or for a discussion in a society, can very well make use of this volume. It is written in a very clear style and the author emphasizes the truth that the work of salvation is throughout to be attributed to the sovereign grace of God.
A few minor comments we wish to make.
First of all, we wish to remark that we cannot agree with the author’s interpretation of the phrase “all the saints in Christ Jesus,” in vs. 1 of ch. I. He explains that they are saints, not subjectively, but only objectively. Cf. p. 34-35. In this he is probably influenced by Barth, to whom he also refers. But the saints, though objectively they are holy in Christ, are, nevertheless, also subjectively holy in virtue of the principle of the new life that is in them.
A second observation concerns the important passage of Ch. 2:5-8. We refer particularly to the phrase in vs. 6: “being in the form of God,” which is the key to the entire passage. The author explains the participle “being” (huparchoon) as being “an imperfect participle.” This is an error. There is no imperfect participle and “huparchoon” is present. And it is very essential that the present tense should be maintained in the interpretation for it refers to an eternal present. Christ eternally IS in the form of God even while He emptied Himself in the human nature.
But we gladly recommend this commentary to our readers.
General Revelation by Dr. G.C. Berkhouwer. Published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. Price $4.00.
This book is a translation from the Dutch. I read the book in the. Holland language and reviewed in theStandard Bearer several years ago. Cf. Vol. 28 of theSB. This time I read it again, partly to check up on the translation. The latter is very good. H
As to the contents of the book, in eleven chapters the author, Dr. Berkhouwer, who by this time is rather well-known among us, discusses the theme of general revelation from various viewpoints. First he considers the different views of various theologians, especially of Barth who, as is well-known is a determined opponent of a “natural theology” and who also must have nothing of a so-called general revelation. His own conception the author offers especially in chapters seven to nine under the headings: Revelation and Knowledge, Revelation and Fulfillment of the Law, Revelation and Illumination.
Although, as is well-known, I do not agree with Dr. Berkhouwer, especially with regard to his view on common grace, I heartily recommend this book to all that are interested in the question concerning general revelation. The author is a man of study and wide reading. Any theologian ought to find a good deal in this particular product of the author’s pen that is worthy of his attention. Even the views of others which Dr. Berkhouwer discusses in this book are of great interest to any student of dogmatical subjects.
Hence, I recommend this book to all that are interested in subjects of this kind. I recommend it for intelligent and serious study. The last word has not been said about this subject any more than about that of “common grace” to which that of “general revelation” stands closely related. Dr. Berkhouwer, in connection with his discussion of Rom. 2:14, 15, writes on p. 184 that “Hoeksema also lost the right path on account of his apriori opposition to common grace.” I could not help but smile a moment when I read this. But surely, I cannot possibly agree with the author’s interpretation of the above mentioned passage from Romans. When he paraphrases or translates ta tou nomou, the things of the law, or to ergon tou nomou, the work of the law, simply by “the doing of the works of the law,” I do not agree with him, for the simple reason that it is very evident from the preceding and following context as well as from Rom. 1:18-32 that this cannot be the meaning of the apostle. Besides, of the work of the law, to ergon tou nomou, the apostle writes that it is written in their hearts. Unless you interpret the genitive nomouas a genitivus subjectivus (the work which the law does in the hearts of the heathen) you make the apostle say that the heathen have the law written in their hearts.
But I better not criticize any further in this book review. I heartily recommend the book to the intelligent and critical student.
Expository Outlines on the Whole Bible, by Charles Simeon. Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Mich. Price per vol. $3.95.
The Zondervans sent me a few more volumes of the Expository Outlines. It is impossible for me to review them all in detail. But I perused them rather carefully and the more I examine them the more I come to the conclusion that this is, indeed, a very excellent work. In proof of this let me furnish the reader with one or two illustrations. In the commentary on the Romans, the author explains vs. 6 of chapter 9 as follows:
“In the chapter we are about to consider, the Apostle begins with expressing his deep and continual sorrow on account of the judgments impending over the Jews for their obstinate rejection of their Messiah. He then anticipates an objection which would be brought against him; namely that if, as he had supposed, the Jews were to be cast off, the Word of God, which had promised all manner of blessing to Abraham and his seed, would be made void. But to this he replies, that the promises were made to Abraham and his spiritualseed: and that all others, however they might be descended from him after the flesh, would assuredly be cast off, since they were not “all Israel, who were of Israel; neither, because they were natural seed of Abraham, were they necessarily to be numbered amongst the children to whom the promises ‘were made.”
This is sound exegesis. Again he writes:
“It is here supposed that the whole nation of Israel possessed the same advantages, and, in appearance, enjoyed the same blessings. Yet the Apostle distinguishes between some of them and others; and affirms, that some had claims and privileges, to which the others were not entitled. This was true respecting them. And it is true at this time, also, in relation to ourselves. For as then, so now also all not objects of electing love.”
Throughout the author emphasizes God’s absolute sovereignty in the matter of salvation and his electing lode.
Not only because of his correct emphasis on the truth of predestination, but also because of the rest of the exegesis and application in this commentary, I would heartily recommend it to the reader.
De Psalmen (The Psalms), by Dr. J. Ridderbos. Published by J.H. Rok, N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands. Price f 18.50.
This is the first volume of a series of three by the same author. The present volume contains a commentary on Psalms 1-41: At the end of this volume we find an appendix in which are discussed the questions of the superscription of le-David in many of the Psalms; that of recent opinions about the Psalms; that of the enemies mentioned in many of the psalms; and that of the cursing prayers in the psalms. In this commentary the author characterizes himself, as we would expect of him, as a sound exegete, as believer in holy writ, as one that throughout accepts the Scriptures as the inspired Canon, and as a thorough scholar.
Without further comment this ought to be sufficient as a ground for my recommendation of this commentary to those that are interested in the study of the Word of God and who, moreover, are still master of the Dutch language.
Beslagen Vensters (Dimmed Windows), by Rev. H. Veldkamp. Published by J.H. Kok, N.V., Kampen, the Netherlands. Price f 3.90.
In this little book of 110 pages, the author discusses in a popular way the important subject of prayer, the purpose, the contents, the motives, the limitations of prayer, etc.
I read this little book with a mixed impression. On the one hand, I found many beautiful thoughts in the book, beautifully expressed in the characteristic style of the author. On the other hand, I feel that I cannot subscribe to all that the author writes concerning prayer. He leaves the impression with the readers that the believer may and can pray for anything he desires, when he “prays in faith,” and may expect the positive answer to his prayer. This is true, not only in regard to his spiritual, but also with respect to his earthly and bodily needs. When he prays for prosperity in his business, if his motive is only the glory of God, his prayer will be heard. When he is sick or his wife is sick, and he prays for healing and for the lengthening of his life or the life of his wife, if only the purpose in his heart is that he may glorify God a little longer on the earth, he must expect that his prayer will be answered. He criticizes Landwehr when he says that in many cases the believer must add to his prayer: “Not my will, but Thy will be done.”
With this rather emphatic tendency of the book we cannot agree. Do not forget that, in the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, the Lord teaches us a very simple and extremely limited prayer for our earthly and physical needs. When we are sick, it is of the Lord, and we must learn to be willing to walk in the way of the Lord. If it appears that the Lord leads us in the way to the end of our earthly life, we must be willing to die and become prepared for our entering into the house of many mansions and not ask for the prolongation, of our life.
This means, not that I advise our readers that can read Dutch not to read the book, but to read it and judge for themselves.