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The New Bible Hymn-Book

By Henry Waters
July 2016 | Review by Jonathan Bayes
  • Publisher: Fast-Print Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-78456-289-2
  • Pages: 640
  • Price: 15.00
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Book Review

This work is a labour of love, compiled by Dr Waters over many years. The underlying idea is brilliant. The book consists of a selection of hymns, each connected with a particular passage or verse of Scripture, arranged in biblical order.

Since some hymns echo several biblical texts, the allocation is often somewhat arbitrary. This is, however, unavoidable, although occasionally the connection between a hymn and a biblical text seems rather tenuous. But this does not detract from the overall merit of the work.

A strength of the book is that some wonderful older hymns, less familiar today, have been nobly rescued from oblivion. The main sources are four hymnbooks of Reformed or Strict Baptist provenance, three of them dating from the nineteenth century, plus Grace Hymns and the original edition of Christian Hymns; 63 per cent of the hymns in these six publications are included in this compilation, making up over 90 per cent of the selection.

I was surprised that two hymnbooks represented in Reformed churches today (New Christian Hymns and Praise!) had not been used, and the work could have benefitted from the inclusion of some of the better recent productions, such as those by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, as well as some from Sing Psalms. That said, I recognise that the compiler had to stop somewhere.

The book is beautifully enhanced by an attractive cover design, but I found some page headings inconsistent. It seems unlikely that many churches will adopt this work as their congregational hymnbook. However, I cannot overstate its excellence for personal devotion. Since receiving the book, I have made it my daily practice to read the hymns linked to the passages in my personal Bible reading plan, and have found this a useful prelude to praise and prayer.

Jonathan Bayes

Thirsk

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