Free Church Books: Reviews

Read the latest book reviews from Free Church Books.
July Book Reviews

BOOK OF THE MONTH: ‘Luke 1-13: The Year of the Lord’s Favor’, Dale Ralph Davis (2021) 

Christian Focus Publications have done the Church a great service by commissioning Dale Ralph Davis to write a commentary on the Gospel of Luke. Davis is better known as an Old Testament commentator. By his own admission, ‘I tend to find the New Testament more difficult than the Old Testament.’ His commentaries on books like Judges and Joshua (as well as many others) have brought the Old Testament alive for those of us who find the Old Testament more difficult than the New Testament.   

Dale Ralph Davis is a model expositor, preacher and Christian. ‘Luke 1-13’ is a masterpiece.  True to the level at which the ‘Focus on the Bible’ pitch their other commentaries, ‘Luke 1-13’ is accessible without being simplistic; accurate without being dry and applied without being trite. One of the advantages of an Old Testament scholar like Dale Ralph Davis writing a commentary on a New Testament Gospel is that he provides strong foundations from the culture of the day, the expectations of 1st Century BC Jews and the fulfilment of promise in the ministry of Jesus Christ. ‘Luke 1-13’ is full of rich Christian experience, but more even than that – it is full of Jesus.   

You could use this commentary in a number of ways. Each chapter takes about 10 minutes to read, so given there are 33 chapters, you’d get a good month of private devotional studies in the Gospel of Luke. It’s a pity there aren’t questions at the end of each chapter, but you could also use this commentary in a Small Group/Bible Study setting. But if your minister announces that he is going to commence a 33-week study in Luke 1-13, you can wink at each other and at least pretend to be surprised. I highly recommend Dale Ralph Davis on ‘Luke 1-13’.   

This book is available from Christian Focus Publications

Colin Dow, Glasgow City Free Church 

‘A Cause Worth Living For’, David Hamilton (2021) 

One of the real strengths of 10Publishing is the discovery, or re-issuing, of powerful personal testimonies (10Biography). These true tales are all deeply challenging, moving, and full to the brim of the power of God to redeem and restore. 

In ‘A Cause Worth Living For’, the reader encounters Davy Hamilton, a former Northern Irish paramilitary whose life was radically changed by prison and the people, and Person, he encountered there. As someone who is married into a Ulster family, I have come to understand that the Troubles were a period of time that was very complex, and hard to understand exactly how traumatic it was to live through. In Davy’s account, the reader is brought vividly into his particular experience of the Troubles, and in the overwhelming need there was for the Lord’s power to change, heal and forgive. When Davy speaks of a “cause worth dying for”, it was something he truly believed of the violent struggle, and his story of gospel transformation is all the more powerful because of it. 

I found this book especially engaging because of how clear Davy’s voice is throughout. You hear his thoughts and speech, and get a real sense of his earthy humanity. His life was real, messy, and painful – perhaps in more explicit ways than ours, but fundamentally similar nonetheless. Whatever his sins, Davy came to know that Jesus paid the price, and that the gospel is the only cause worth “living for”. This is a message we all need to hear. 

This book is available from

Miriam Montgomery, Free Church Books 

‘The Reformation Study Bible (Student Edition)’ (2021) 

The most important aspect of the Christians life is their relationship with God, so being well acquainted with His word is vitally important to allow for growth in their walk with God.  

If you take the time to explore different Study Bibles available in any good Christian Bookshop, you will quickly realise there are an abundance of options available. Whether it’s a Men’s or Woman’s, Archaeological or Systematic Theology Study Bible, the choice available is vast. Each Study Bible has their own unique area of intrigue to the potential reader. What then are the unique factors that stand out with The Reformation Study Bible (Student Edition) from Ligonier Ministries?  

Well firstly, The Reformation Study Bible (Student Edition) is wonderfully designed to better equip the reader in digging deeper into His word. This is achieved through the clear verse-by-verse notes that aide the Christian in growing not only in their knowledge of God, but in their walk with Him.   

Secondly, what I found particularly striking and unique to this Study Bible were the 200+ insightful questions and answers sprinkled throughout the pages of each Book of the Bible. These questions give you the opportunity to learn and grow as a Christian with the assistance of teachings from Dr R.C. Sproul of Ligonier Ministries. The 200+ questions will allow the reader to learn more about the people of the Bible, help to round their theology on different topics and prepare growing Christians to apply God’s teachings in their own lives.  

Below is a small sample of questions you will find answers to in this Study Bible:   

2 Samuel – What was the Davidic covenant?  

Esther – Why isn’t God mentioned in the book of Esther?  

Isaiah – What is the Trinity?  

Jeremiah – Can Christians get depressed?  

James – Can we sin unknowingly?  

Thirdly, each book of the Bible is given an eye-catching double page introduction. On the left page you’ll find one key verse from the respective Book, with the opposite page dedicated to a short introduction. You will then find yourself taken on a brief guided tour by exploring the History, Structure, Themes and Lessons of the Book in great detail.  

Finally, at the back of the Bible, there are additional resources to support your study of God’s word. These include a Concordance, Bible Reading Plan, Table of Weights and Measures as well as vibrant Colour Maps from the Holman Bible Atlas (1998).    

If you’re on the lookout for a new Bible that not only provides you with the Scriptures in a readable format, but also wish to dig deeper and study His word, then The Reformation Study Bible (Student Edition) will serve as a fruitful companion as you grow in your faith. Equally, if you’re looking for a gift to give someone in your family, congregation or student just about to leave home, then this Study Bible will be the perfect tool to equip them in their faith. A worthwhile addition to any bookcase. 

This book is available to purchase from

Stuart King, North Harris Free Church