Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 31:0 (NA 1999)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

David W. Baker, Elaine A. Heath with Morven Baker., More Light on the Path: Daily Scripture Readings in Hebrew and Greek. Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 1998.

Beginning students in biblical languages are often surprised to discover the richness of meaning communicated by scripture texts in their original tongues. Although many fine English translations are available, none can fully reproduce the artistry of Isaiah’s rhetoric or the intricate nuances of Paul’s labyrinthine Greek. Sadly, however, many find it difficult to sustain language study amidst the demands of ministry. And for those who succeed in doing so, the constant need to refer to grammars and lexicons usually makes reading scripture in the original languages more a labor of the mind than a feast for the soul.

More Light On the Path is thus a welcome resource, for it invites its reader to develop facility in biblical languages within the context of devotional reflection on scripture. The book comprises a series of daily readings, each of which consists of three texts: a brief prayer or meditation followed by short readings from the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Bible. The scripture readings are accompanied by notes which offer morphological analyses of difficult forms and definitions of uncommon words, allowing the reader to grasp quickly the sense of the readings without recourse to other sources. The texts are united by a title which suggests interrelationships between them, and the daily units are joined with others into weekly units grouped by subjects that draw from biblical themes and liturgical calendars (e.g. hope, prayer, suffering, worship, Advent, Easter, Simhat Torah). An explanatory preface and list of abbreviations, as well as a calendar of weekly readings and scripture and subject indexes, facilitate the book’s ease of use as a devotional guide.

Although the daily readings are sure to enhance one’s competence in the biblical languages, the deeper value of the book, in this reader’s opinion, is to be found in its capacity to stimulate meditation and prayer. Since the readings are brief, the technical aspects of grammar and terminology can be worked through quickly, allowing the reader time to read each text again and again. Pondering a text repeatedly in the original language unlocks new meanings and spiritual truths, and these are deepened as reflection is extended to the related scripture passage and the meditation. Each day’s readings thus prompt the contemplation of scripture, a discipline too seldom practiced in a fast-paced society.

Under the daily pressure of busy schedules, even devotional time can become task-driven and perfunctory. More Light on the Path allows a prayerful digestion of scripture which nourishes b...

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