Reviews | Glimpses of Glory
The Testimony review (from March 2013)
READERS OF the Bible Student magazine will have many fond memories of essays and studies contributed by the late Brother Dudley Fifield. Prominent amongst these were his expositions of the Psalms. The Bible Student ceased publication over a decade ago, but in recent years these studies were completed and compiled into a three-volume commentary on the entire Psalter, The Praises of Israel, published by The Christadelphian from 2008 to 2010. The Brotherhood is richer for the production of this substantial work, and we may be thankful that, although unwell at the time, Brother Fifield was able to complete the task before he fell asleep.
In 2012 The Christadelphian published a further volume of studies from the pen of Brother Fifield under the title Glimpses of Glory. This book brings together thirty-eight separate studies covering a remarkable breadth of topics. The chapters reveal the author’s wide-ranging interests and engaging, accessible writing style. Many of them draw out explicit lessons relevant to our pilgrimage today; similar lessons are implicit in other chapters. Exhortation is a feature of the work, some of it appropriately direct and confronting. In that context the author offers some challenging observations on page 92 about the risk that an unbalanced focus on the immanence of Christ (that is, his presence with us now) may distract us from recognising the imminence of our Lord’s return. These comments deserve close consideration.
The wide-ranging nature of the material in the book is evident from the index of Scripture references, which exceeds six pages. It is inevitable in such a work that certain passages will be dealt with on more than one occasion in different contexts. For example, Brother Fifield has very useful observations on Matthew 17:5 in two separate essays. There is some overlap in the material presented, but there are different emphases in each case.
The compilation includes character studies of Bible figures such as Lot, Moses, Daniel, Nehemiah, James (the Lord’s brother), Judas Iscariot and Timothy. In an engaging study entitled “Enoch was translated” Brother Fifield not only discusses the implications of that intriguing phrase, the subject of much speculation over the years, but also the man’s character and circumstances. His comments in the chapter “The death of Stephen” are similarly expansive and informative. Readers may be surprised by how much information about Enoch and Stephen Brother Fifield derives from seemingly incidental passages.
Prophecy features in two of the studies. In “Interpreting Bible prophecy” Brother Fifield develops a case for what he refers to as ‘recurring fulfilments’ of prophecy, and applies the model with good effect to several well-known prophecies, including Deuteronomy 28, Psalm 2 and Psalm 83. He returns to this concept in the concluding chapter of the book, a brief commentary on Obadiah.
This is a work that is commended to, and will be enjoyed by, all readers; but keen Bible students will benefit in particular from exposure to the author’s analytical and reasoned approach to “rightly dividing the word of truth.” They would do well to follow his example. They will also benefit from Brother Fifield’s useful comments in the shortest chapter in the book, “Concordances,” in which he draws attention to the biases that are present even in works of this nature.
(Originally published in the March 2013 edition of The Testimony Magazine (page 104), and is reproduced by kind permission.