The Hand of the Lord - Book review



Brother Islip Collyer is well-known for his deep insights into how men and women think and their responses to Bible teaching. In this book, subtitled “An Historical Survey Abraham to Saul”, he brings these insights to bear on the Bible narrative of the emergence of the Jewish people from the call of Abraham to the establishment of the kingdom. First published in about 1930, this is the first time it has been reprinted.

In his introduction Brother Collyer says, "We shall try to keep the record so free from complexity and so simple in style that wise men will approve, and all readers will be able to understand”. Successful in this regard, the work has much to offer all readers, from the teenage novice to the hoary-headed long-term Bible student.

Commencing with Abram’s calling out of Ur and his journey to Canaan, the author follows the Bible record up to the establishment of the kingdom under Saul. Along the way he addresses some of the more obscure aspects of the record about which readers may have wondered and highlights some of the incidental harmonies which are a feature of the inspired record.

The first ten chapters (more than one third of the book) covers Genesis, followed by a smaller section of five chapters which looks at the exodus, including two chapters on Moses. There is then a chapter on the Judges and finally three chapters which cover the times of Samuel and Saul.

Brother Collyer presents fresh perspectives on the record. Not every reader will agree with all the conclusions the author draws. For instance, his suggestion about Sarah’s response to the incidents on Mount Moriah in Genesis 22 will challenge many readers. On the other hand, his comments on lot’s wife, Esau, Jethro and Korah will be found to be very apposite. His observations about the Memorial Name also are well worth considering.

The text is complemented by the illustrations used in the first edition. As with Brother Collyer’s writing style, these are now rather dated but their authenticity and charm more than makes up for this. It is very pleasing to see this book back in print and available to a new generation of readers. It would make a lovely gift or Sunday School prize for a senior scholar.


Geoff Henstock

 This review first appeared in The Testimony magazine for October 2018