Book Review: Synopsis of the Books of the Bible by J. N. Darby

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 14
In 2 Timothy 2:1515Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15) Paul encourages each believer to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I am thankful for the many, exhaustive Biblical references, dictionaries and concordances that exist to aid the believer in the study of the precious Word of God.
One of the best study guides available is the 5-volume set of the Synopsis by Mr. Darby. It has been a constant source of help and blessing in my personal study of the Bible.
In his preface to the Synopsis, Mr. Darby writes: “[The reader] is not to expect a commentary, nor, on the other hand, to suppose that he has a book which he can read without referring continually to the Word itself in the part treated of.”
As he states, the Synopsis is not to be considered a commentary on Scripture, but rather a help for one who desires to study the Word for himself.
I have found in using the Synopsis that it is indeed important as he states to carefully read the passage of Scripture under study (referring continually back to it) while reading the author’s comments.
The preface closes with these words: “It has not been [the author’s] object to unfold the blessed fruits the Word produces in the mind and ways of him who receives it, nor the feelings produced in his own mind in reading it, but to help the reader in the discovery of that which has produced them.”
Finally, in his introduction to the Synopsis, Mr. Darby writes: “I propose giving in this work a short synopsis of the principal subjects of each book of the Bible, to aid in the study of this precious volume that our God has given to us. I do not at all pretend to give the full contents of each book, but only (as God shall grant to me) a sort of index of the subjects, the divisions of the books by subjects, and (as far as I am enabled) the object of the Spirit of God in each part, hoping that it may aid others in reading the Book of God.”
May we be freshly energized to carefully and prayerfully read and study the Word of God, that each may “hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:1313Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:13)).
Ed.
Note: Because it is my understanding that the Synopsis has been printed by several different publishers over the years and that in at least one edition, some unwarranted changes have been made to the original work. I recommend that those considering the purchase of a set do so through the publishing sources listed in the January 1998 issue of the Christian Shepherd.