A Brief Book Summary from Books At a Glance
by Steve West
Editor’s Note: Most of our readers will already be at least somewhat acquainted with John Owen (1616-1683), “the prince of Puritans,” but it is not likely that many have read him extensively. His works are not only voluminous – they are tightly packed and deeply considered. Owen is neither quick nor light reading!
Today we continue our year-long series of summaries of Owen’s famous works. We trust these will be of help in introducing and/or increasing your acquaintance with this giant Puritan theologian.
Summary, Part 1
A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit—Continued
Chapters I & II
This work will examine the way that the Holy Spirit illuminates the minds of men. We will look at the grounds and reasons for believing that the Scriptures are the word of God, and how it is that we come to know the mind of God and the revelation of his will as found in Scripture. Illumination is a supernatural effect made in the mind whereby a person can know the mind and will of God. The only objective cause and means of such illumination is supernatural revelation. The only way to have spiritual illumination is by the work of the Spirit. In the Old Testament, God revealed himself to certain people in such a way that they had no doubt it was God. They accepted it by faith, but he also gave convincing proof. The revelation that God gave was always sufficient for the times. During every era, God provided a sufficient ministry and raised up servants as his vessels, but the majority fell away into apostasy.
God brought together into the canon all of his revelation that the church needs and benefits by, and this canon will last until the Lord returns. It was in Christ that the Scriptures were brought to fulfillment and perfection. Thus, the Scriptures are the only external means of supernatural illumination, since it is the only place where God’s special revelation is found. There are other adjuncts that God uses to teach us about himself, like our personal studies, the preaching of the word, and mutual instruction, but these are in service of God’s word. For illumination, we believe that the Scriptures are the pure word of God, and that it is perspicuous and understandable. It, “is the work of the Holy Spirit to enable us to believe the Scriptures to be the word of God” . . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
Buy the books
THE WORKS OF JOHN OWEN, VOLUME 4: THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT