Book Review: The Home Bible Instructor

The Home Bible Instructor, by Andrew N. Dugger

When I visited the home of a friend of mine in a neighboring congregation, I saw that he had this book, by a well-known author from a religious tradition not unlike my own. The book itself is a modest one, of only about two hundred pages or so, and contains a great deal of interesting information and functions as sort of a catechism about the ways of God as understood by the author. The author was one of the leaders of the Church of God, Seventh Day, and had spent many years as a minister in Oregon, not far from where I live, before moving to Jerusalem. It is pretty obvious that although there are some minor diferences in what is preached (including some aspects of prophetic speculation about the end times), that there are a great many similarities between his own beliefs and my own, such that it made this book a particularly interesting one. The late Richard Nickels did a good job at collecting obscure religious material [1] and making them available to the reading audience of Sabbatarian Christians, such as I happen to be a part of. Whether or not this book has been commonly read, it is certainly a worthwhile and interesting volume.

The contents of this book are pretty straightforward, and the organization haphazard almost if not at the point of randomness. The book contains dozens, if not hundreds, of topics, most of them very short questions and answers taken from the Bible with minimal commentary from the author, except at the beginning and end, which features some historical discussion about the burning of Bibles and of heretics, as well as the religious beliefs of various groups. The topics included in the book are of great historical interest but would likely be different if the book was written today, because despite the large amount of material shown there is a great deal of material that is not discussed that would be of interest today but whose answers could be gathered from the biblical law, which this author takes a keen interest in. By and large, the book urges a straightforward and godly life, talking about the sort of issues that remain common issues of conversation among Seventh-Day Christians, from the sure word of prophecy and the prophecies related to Christ’s birth to forgiveness, baptism, purity, duties of parents and children, the law of God, Sabbath observance, the glorious New Jerusalem, submission, marriage, reconciliation with God, the mortality of mankind, the time of the crucifixion, various matters relating to Revelation and its contents, the origin and significance of Israel, and so on and so forth.

It is noteworthy that this book is written with the purpose of helping in home Bible study. It is apparent, given the fact that the book focuses on issues that may be important to children and families–albeit those from a less corrupt time of our own, as there is no discussion of issues of homosexuality and transvestitism, rather ones on the sanctity of marriage and the importance of avoiding fornication–that it was meant that children should be asking these questions and adults should be answering them from the Bible, so that both children and adults would become more familiar with the worth of going to the Bible and seeking from it answers as to how to live our lives. The author is very clear about his motives, and they are praiseworthy motives. If there are some things that the author does not discuss (including the holy days) that I would think well worth discussing, the author clearly describes the obligation of honor and respect towards authority, even as he urges the reader to obey God rather than men when the two are in conflict, which is entirely as it should be. This is the book of a principled and orderly person devoted to following God’s ways as he understands them, and as such this book is a very worthwhile one to read in our own times, even though a book of this kind written by someone in our times would be quite different on account of the different times, even if it would say many of the same things and point to the same scriptures as the source of insight in those matters.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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3 Responses to Book Review: The Home Bible Instructor

  1. jamesbradfordpate says:

    My Dad has that book. I enjoyed reading Richard Nickles’ Giving and Sharing Newsletter. I think that I first learned about Philo of Alexandria from that. My Dad knew Mr. Nickles because both served on the Bible Sabbath Association board.

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The Daily Question For You And Your Child | Edge Induced Cohesion

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