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Insects of the Bible

By Tom H. Ratcliffe
June 2016 | Review by Philip Bell
  • Publisher: Bell & Bain
  • ISBN: 978-1-871642-81-0
  • Pages: 84
  • Price: 6.99
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Book Review

The author of this edifying little volume is a decades-long entomology enthusiast. Taking nine types of insects, he aims to set out ‘their spiritual significance, as they appear in the Word of God’. A readable style, coupled with colour illustrations and photographs, make this an accessible book.

Although biological aspects of these insects are briefly discussed, those wishing to learn details of their anatomy, physiology, life-cycles and behaviour should look elsewhere. The tone of the book is more devotional, and lovers of biblical truth will indeed appreciate its many edifying lessons.

For instance, in encountering ants, spiritual parallels are drawn from their industrious work, storage of food, communication, social life and hygiene. David’s words to Saul, in which he likens himself to a flea (1 Samuel 24:14; 26:20) are highlighted — God often chooses the weak to shame the strong!

Jesus’ words about the Pharisees ‘straining out a gnat’ (Matthew 23:24) teach us to be wary of fault-finding while neglecting weightier matters of justice. From the buzzing sound of hornets and their feared stings, we are reminded of how the Christian’s conscience may be exercised and how a painful rebuke is sometimes delivered.

Salutary lessons are also drawn from flies, lice, locusts and moths. A few are arguably contrived. For instance, ‘The bees in the mane of the lion [killed by Samson in Judges 6] are a type of the saints today who are alive unto God’ (p.31).

The final chapter is about moths. Some species may spoil garments, even to their ruin. Sober parallels are drawn regarding testing, chastisement and final judgment (Hosea 5:12; Isaiah 50:9). In the light of this, there is a short meditation on the Lord Jesus Christ’s great worth, as he whom all true Christians possess and should constantly aim to set their affections upon. We are reminded to ‘lay up treasure in heaven’, which cannot be consumed, damaged or stolen (Matthew 6:19-20).

Philip Bell


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