Few Christian writers have helped me understand the deceitfulness of sin and my own heart more than the Puritan divine John Owen. When I need biblical counsel on the heart-work of mortification and battling temptation I go to Dr. Owen. With the publication of Overcoming Sin and Temptation, editors Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor have done the church a great service.
The editors don’t paraphrase Owen. They allow the good doctor to speak for himself, while providing the reader with many helps to hear Owen’s voice clearly. They footnote difficult words. They transliterate Greek and Hebrew. They translate all Latin phrases. They modernize some of the punctuation. They provide insightful overviews for all three books. Basically, Overcoming Sin and Temptation is the content of Volume 6 of Owen’s Works (Mortification of Sin, On Temptation, and On Indwelling Sin) minus the exposition of Psalm 130, arranged in a very reader-friendly format, with outlines and introductions to assist the reader in following the author’s complex arguments.
Reading Owen will always be hard work. But Overcoming Sin and Temptation goes a long way in making Owen accessible to a new generation of Christians who desire to wage war on sin. Owen, like a spiritual drill instructor, teaches Christians “the art of battle, which includes understanding the nature of sin, the complexity of the human heart, and the goodness and provision of God.” (p. 26) To that end, Kapic invites readers to embrace the challenge and blessing of reading these soul-searching writings: “You stand at the threshold of Dr. John Owen’s office. Will you enter and receive the diagnosis, and stay to hear your cure?” (p. 35)
All who enter owe Kapic and Taylor much thanks for tidying up Dr. Owen’s office. I highly recommend Overcoming Sin and Temptation as a helpful companion for all those on the quest for godliness.
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 464 pages
Publisher: Crossway Books (September 25, 2006)