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May 28

John Owen on Beholding Christ

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Books,Lord's Supper,Quote,Sermon Follow-Up

Last night, at our Lord’s Supper service, I preached from Heb. 12:1-4 and emphasized our need to “fix our eyes on Jesus” and “consider him.” I quoted from John Owen’s excellent book, The Glory of Christ (1684):

How, then, can we behold the glory of Christ? We need, firstly, a spiritual understanding of his glory as revealed in Scripture. Secondly, we need to think much about him if we wish to enjoy him fully (1 Peter 1:8). If we are satisfied with vague ideas about him we shall find no transforming power communicated to us. But when we cling wholeheartedly to him and our minds are filled with thoughts of him and we constantly delight ourselves in him, then spiritual power will flow from him to purify our hearts, increase our holiness, strengthen our graces, and sometimes fill us “with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”

This quote is taken from the Puritan Paperback version — modernized, abridged and made easy to read. You can see the other volumes in the Puritan Paperbacks series here. If you’re feeling courageous or have some comfortability with reading Puritan prose, the unabridged edition of Glory of Christ is available online for free or in the hard cover Volume 1 of Owen’s Works.

I’d recommend eventually getting to and working through (even if it is work) the older, unabridged edition, but no matter what version you start with, I cannot recommend this book enough. It might be in my top three of all time favorites.

UPDATE: My friend, Justin Taylor, pointed me to a version of The Glory of Christ that I unfortunately didn’t know about. It appears to be an unabridged yet revised/updated edition of the book, put out by Mentor. So this edition would be something between the two options listed above: longer than the abridged Puritan Paperback, but in more contemporary language than Volume 1 of Owen’s Works (which was last edited in the 1850s). If you’re interested to read more about the Puritan John Owen, a good place to start is Justin Taylor’s website JohnOwen.org.