The Holy Spirit – John Owen

Making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland

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The Holy Spirit – John Owen

Of all the books I have read recently, John Owen’s A Discourse concerning the Holy Spirit has proved the most challenging and most inspirational.

John Owen lived, preached, wrote and served Christ during a time of huge political and social upheaval during the middle to late seventeenth-century. Owen was a prominent figure in both the political establishment and the church and preached in Parliament the day after Charles I’s execution.

A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit was first published in 1674 under the catchy title, Pneumatologia, and can be read online for free in its 900 page entirety (read here). However, be warned, this unabridged, unmodernised and largely unpunctuated version is not an easy read. Instead, I would recommend R.J.K. Law’s modernised and abridged version, The Holy Spirit, published by Banner of Truth and available secondhand for just under £5 (buy here).

In The Holy Spirit, Owen provides a detailed and thoughtful study of the Spirit’s work in the regeneration, conversion and ongoing sanctification of believers . In other word’s, Owen sets out what scripture has to teach us about how you and I were transformed and became a ‘new creation’ (as the Apostle Paul describes us).

The modernised version is an excellent and zippy read, however, do not be fooled into skimming through this too quickly; Owen’s work is best served by slow, careful reading with time taken to think through the implications of what scripture is saying and how this applies to our lives. He expects readers to follow up and pray through the many references to scripture.

I have no hesitation in saying that I leaned on Owen’s work heavily in preparing for parts two and three of the teaching series on the Holy Spirit. Chapter 86 (in The Banner of Truth edition), entitled ‘Regeneration Itself’, is perhaps the best explanation I have come across in terms of how God’s grace woos and allures us at the deepest level by transforming our will and then our lives.

I warmly commend this book to believers everywhere.

Andy Evans

R.J.K. Law’s modernised and abridged version of John Owen’s, The Holy Spirit, can be purchased by clicking here. The unabridged, unmodernised edition of Pneumatologia: A Discourse concerning the Holy Spirit can be read online for free by clicking here.