I want to first thank Reformation Trust Publishing for giving me a chance to read this book for free in exchange for an honest review! I enjoyed every page.
I have read a lot about John Calvin in the past five years. For the most part, I am more familiar with Calvin’s teachings and successors than I am the words from the man himself! In fact, A Little Book on the Christian Life is the first book I have finished that was written by John Calvin. I started the Institutes on the Christian Religion, but the length of this work was daunting. However, after reading A Little Book on the Christian Life I am looking forward to devouring more of Calvin’s works.
Aaron Denligner and Burk Parsons translated this well-written work from its original language, having been released in 1539 to be reintroduced in 2017, to a very readable English translation. In fact, this was their goal in producing this small book. They aimed at being faithful to Calvin’s original meaning and at the same time be faithful to his original words. I believe they succeeded.
This book only has five short chapters, but that is precisely what makes this book so powerful. If you are intimidated by larger volumes on theology then look no further! Prepare to be amazed in 132 pages of great wisdom.
The first chapter focuses on Scripture’s call to Christian living. Scripture prompts the believer to live a life pleasing to God. Chapter two focuses on the self-denial in the Christian life. Much of what Paul wrote about being living sacrifices in Romans 12 is the basis for Calvin’s reasoning. Chapter three is tied closely to chapter three in that it exhorts the Christian to bear their cross as a part of self-denial. If the Lord Jesus submitted himself to the Father’s will in obedience by going to the cross, what excuses the believer from obeying the will of God?
The fourth chapter looks to the hope of the future life in the presence of the Lord. We should not hate this present life, but at the same time, we should not place our hope on the temporary things of Earth. We should with Paul have our eyes fixed on the future glory to come.
The final chapter, definitely the shortest, teaches the believer how to use the gifts that God has given to them wisely. Really this chapter is all about wise stewardship.
With a book so short it would be assumed that there might not be enough meat in it for the Christian. Not so with this brilliant work! Calvin has weaved plenty of Scripture and wisdom in these pages that it will change one’s perspective in their walk with Christ.
A Little Book on the Christian Life is sure to be an instant hit and I would recommend its wise words to any Christian, especially those in my local church! This book will be a benefit for you dear Christian!