Read A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin Tom Parks Online


For centuries, Christians of all ages have turned to this book to help guide them in their journey as they follow Christ. This book is one of the great classics of the Christian faith, calling believers to pursue holiness and endure su ering as they rest in Christ alone. In this new translation, Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons capture John Calvin’s biblical faithfulness,For centuries, Christians of all ages have turned to this book to help guide them in their journey as they follow Christ. This book is one of the great classics of the Christian faith, calling believers to pursue holiness and endure su ering as they rest in Christ alone. In this new translation, Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons capture John Calvin’s biblical faithfulness, theological integrity, and pastor’s heart....

Title : A Little Book on the Christian Life
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ISBN : 9781683666684
Format Type : Audio CD
Number of Pages : 3 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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A Little Book on the Christian Life Reviews

  • Douglas Wilson
    2018-11-17 16:42

    Very good. Straight to the point, a lot of them.

  • Calvinist Batman
    2018-11-12 18:29

    This was a great little book. The translation is really good though a little awkward here and there because it's modern (though not slang) english so it distracted me a couple times thinking "Did Calvin really talk/write like this? lol". It feels like Jeff Vanderstelt wrote this book, and language-wise that's a good thing. It makes you feel like you're listening to your best friend.Calvin mainly talks about three things in this book:1. The need for obedience (as opposed to legalism/antinomianism)2. The fruit of the Spirit in a believer's life3. How suffering helps produce points 1&2His sections on suffering are deeply penetrating and presents doctrines like election from a different angle than many know them by. These doctrines aren't just for our salvation, they are for our sanctification as well.This book has become my go-to resource for answering the question "Why do Christians suffer?"Get it. Listen to it. Read it. Rinse. Repeat.

  • Michael Galdamez
    2018-11-10 19:33

    Coming from Calvin's Institutes, this new translation by the guys at Ligonier Ministries put together a refreshing, encouraging, and powerful little book.Why read this if it's just from the Institutes? Why not just read it out of that? A few reasons. One, it's short, making it very concise and easy to read. Two, this isn't just a cash-grab (not that I would suspect Ligonier of something like that). This is a well thought out, excellently translated version of Calvin's Christian classic. Which brings me to my third point, this little segment from the Institutes has a history behind it. Almost every time the Institutes was translated and published in another language, this little book was published first. It came to be known by many names, including The Golden Booklet, On the Christian Life and various others.Calvin places much of his time reminding believers to look to what God has in store for them in Heaven and on the New Earth. He stresses the necessity of bearing our crosses and to not become so comfortable here on Earth that we forget that God has given us so much more. Suffering and sorrow in the lives of Christians is a key point Calvin makes, seeking to point us to Christ alone to find our joy and peace in Him and not in any earthly thing.It's extremely hard for me to put into words what Calvin has already so beautifully said, so all I can really say is that I think all believers should read this little book. It is an impressive, powerful, bold, convicting, and encouraging writing. I thank God for the teachings of brothers and sisters in Christ who have come before me.

  • Jeanie
    2018-11-22 22:52

    Scripture comes to our rescue with the best of reasons for doing good to all people. It teaches us not to regard others according to their own merits, but to consider in them the image of God to which we owe both honor and love. Walking in the Christian life when walked with Christ and seeing Christ in all things can be freeing. Free to love and free from fear and anxiety. It is when we take our eyes off Jesus, the author of our faith, is when the tension of the Christian life can be difficult and impossible to maneuver. I loved this little book because it kept the focus on what Christ did and not what I have to do in a 10 step plan to be a good Christian. All I have to do is pursue Christ and his righteousness. His righteousness becomes my desire according to scriptures. Christian living becomes devotion to the work of Christ and who Christ is.It is not our nature for Christian living because it deals with self-denial and bearing the cross. It is however, in these attitudes and choices, we become more like Christ. It is in suffering we know Christ. It is in gratitude that our desires change. The temptation for all people is that we become so in love with the gifts of this world, we loose sight of the giver. Such good reminders of what it costs to walk with Christ. It costs us nothing but then it costs us everything. It is a battle of sin, pride, and pleasures. This book deals with the battle and gives you the tools to fight.A Special Thank You to Reformation Trust Publishing Ligonier Ministries and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

  • Rafael Salazar
    2018-11-18 22:49

    Heart-warming and soul-stirring. This is the type of book a pastor would do well to hand out to his church. Calvin cuts through the fogs and delivers timeless insights in issues such as suffering, death, possessions, eating, clothing, growing in holiness, callings... Really hope we have it in Portuguese soon (if not now).

  • Suzanne
    2018-11-20 16:42

    I think it would be impossible to overlook the satisfying brevity of this slim volume and the refreshing novelty of a religious treatise that is scarcely weighty enough to kill a medium-sized housefly and could do no more than discourage a larger one. One is not accustomed to such economy in this genre. However, it must be said that this is the distillation of a much heftier program which I might attempt to read some day. For now, this will suffice. This was a very enlightening book in many ways. I will have to read the other book to get a better understanding of where Calvin parts ways with Luther. My overall feeling as I put this down and thought about what I had just read was that it might be time for a new voice to take up the Calvinist line of thinking and write a new treatise addressing the current Duck-Dynasty-flavored, media-driven Christio-political zealotry. He/She could call it "Christianity: You're Doing It Wrong".

  • NinaB
    2018-12-10 00:53

    What a gem of a book! It is a simple explanation of the Christian's sanctification: how we are called to Christlikeness because we are to reflect His righteousness as His children; how our dying to self is necessary in order for us to be more like Him; how suffering for His glory enriches our lives; how our hope lies in the world to come, thus we can endure anything in this life; how the comforts and joys now should be used to help, not hinder, us in our quest to be more like our Lord and Savior. I highly recommend this book!

  • Jordan Shirkman
    2018-11-26 22:41

    “Unless we are devoted—even addicted—to righteousness, we will faithlessly abandon our Creator...”John Calvin knows the depths of our own human wickedness and yet reminds us of the goodness of the image of God in every person. He reminds us to get the log out of our own eye before pointing out our brother’s speck. A beautiful treatise on self denial, with a heart-centered approach to enjoying the things of this life to wrap up the book. Lots of gospel truth and reorienting exhortations.

  • Bambi Moore
    2018-12-04 21:47

    Should be reread often. Enjoyed this so much.

  • Adam
    2018-11-28 19:42

    This little book represents a self-contained excerpt from Calvin’s Institutes, five consecutive chapters from that book dealing with essential matters of practice in the Christian life. The book functions as a good, brief introduction to the reformer. This being my first direct encounter with his writing, I found Calvin very different from the modern caricature of him. And when you do get to the “typical Calvin” teachings, he does an admirable job of balancing his doctrine and considering legitimate, natural objections that he knows will arise. Chapter 2, I believe, has been used to promote state socialism but, obviously, read in context it is meant to inspire personal generosity and not some Big Brother program. (Also, this chapter has a few marvelous passages regarding the Imago Dei.)

  • Mark Nenadov
    2018-11-26 20:33

    This book is written with sincerety and is heavily weighted in Biblical truth. It weaves together solid intellectual thought with a wholehearted drive for practicality.Besides being worth its weight in gold, it is actually quite an easy read! This is a true gem pulled out of the period of the Reformation, and highly recommended for Christians of our era!

  • Becky
    2018-11-12 17:37

    First sentence: THE GOAL OF God’s work in us is to bring our lives into harmony and agreement with His own righteousness, and so to manifest to ourselves and others our identity as His adopted children. We discover in God’s law a picture of God’s own image, to which we are being progressively conformed. But since we are lazy and require prodding and encouragement in this, it will be helpful to construct in this work a model of the mature Christian life from various passages of Scripture, so that those who are truly repentant of heart will not lose their way on the path to greater conformity to God’s image.Premise/plot: This "little" book is extracted from a much longer one: John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion. But it has a LONG publishing history as being published on its own. The first edition of Institutes was published in 1536, and the first edition of this "little book" was 1540! A word from the publishers: We have aimed at faithfulness not just to Calvin’s meaning but, so much as possible, to his own words. We have, however, also striven to make Calvin’s meaning as clear as possible to English readers. Our efforts in this regard have required us to break some of Calvin’s lengthier sentences into shorter ones, to introduce more frequent paragraph breaks than Calvin’s work contains, and to replace some pronouns with their stated antecedents to maximize clarity.My thoughts: I loved this one. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I have read roughly half of the Institutes. It was good, but, tough. (I do hope to finish it one day.) This 'little book' is a thousand times easier to read! Three favorite quotes:When we contemplate this relationship between ourselves and God, let us remember that holiness is the bond of our union with Him. Not, of course, because we enter into fellowship with Him by the merit of our own holiness. Rather, we first of all cling to Him, and then, having received His holiness, we follow wherever He calls us. For it is characteristic of His glory that He has no fellowship with sin and impurity. Holiness is the goal of our calling. Therefore we must consistently set our sights upon holiness if we would rightly respond to God’s calling. To what purpose did God pull us out of the wickedness and pollution of this world—wickedness and pollution in which we were submerged—if we allow ourselves to wallow in such wickedness and pollution for the rest of our lives? Furthermore, if we count ourselves among God’s people, Scripture tells us to live as citizens of the holy city of Jerusalem, which He has consecrated to Himself.If we are not our own but the Lord’s, it’s clear what errors we must flee, and what we must direct our whole lives toward. We are not our own; therefore, neither our reason nor our will should dominate our plans and actions. We are not our own; therefore, let us not make the gratification of our flesh our end. We are not our own; therefore, as much as possible, let us forget ourselves and our own interests. Rather, we are God’s. Therefore, let us live and die to Him. We are God’s. Therefore, let His wisdom and His will govern all our actions. We are God’s. Therefore, let us—in every way in all our lives—run to Him as our only proper end. How far has he progressed who’s been taught that he is not his own—who’s taken rule and dominion away from his own reason and entrusted them to God. For the plague of submitting to our own rule leads us straight to ruin, but the surest way to safety is neither to know nor to want anything on our own, but simply to follow the leading of the Lord.Therefore, you have no cause to evade anyone who stands before you and needs your service. Suppose he’s a stranger. The Lord, however, has stamped him with His own mark that’s familiar to you, and for that reason God forbids you to despise your own flesh. Suppose he is contemptible and worthless. The Lord, however, shows him to be one whom He has condescended to decorate with His own image. Suppose you owe him nothing for what he’s done. But God—to whom you know you are obligated because of His many wonderful benefits to you—puts Himself, as it were, in that person’s place. Suppose he is unworthy of even your smallest labors for his sake. But the image of God, according to which this person is commended to you, warrants your giving of yourself and your all. Supposing a man not only deserves nothing good from you, but he has also provoked you with injustices and injuries—even this is not just cause for you to stop embracing him with affection and fulfilling your duties of love to him. He has deserved, you might say, something much different from me. But what has the Lord deserved? When He orders you to forgive that man for whatever sin he has committed against you, He calls you to do so not because that man deserves it, but because God Himself has forgiven you (Luke 17:3–4). This is the only path to achieving that which is not only difficult for, but entirely adverse to, our human nature—that is, loving those who hate us, repaying evil with good, and blessing those who curse us. We must be sure not to dwell on the wickedness of men, but rather to consider the image of God in them.

  • Hudson Christmas
    2018-11-22 16:44

    The name of John Calvin is one that brings up mixed feelings within the Christian church. When people hear his name, the acronym TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Preservation of the Saints) is often what first comes to mind. Often bringing up the name of John Calvin at a Christian fellowship is enough to turn a rather peaceful dinner into an intense debate over predestination, vessels of wrath, and other such theological matters. This is not to downplay these doctrines, but to show that a man who consistently strove for God and taught others the truth of His Word is often a source of contention and dispute. Rather than bringing disunity, Calvin’s love for the Lord should be something that believers strive to emulate, even if they may not agree with some of his theological views. In “A Little Book on the Christian Life,” Aaron Delinger and Burk Parsons have translated part of Calvin’s “On the Life of a Christian Man” into English. Although “A Little Book on the Christian Life” is small, it is powerful. Within its pages, Calvin covers a variety of topics, including: self-denial, suffering, stewardship, and many more. Calvin addresses his readers in a tone of voice and use of language that is simplistic and understanding. These are not the words of a scholar speaking down from his ivory tower. The words of Calvin are similar to the speech of the commanders and kings in Homer’s “Iliad.” These leaders moved among their men and encouraged them towards greater bravery and courage, not speaking as superiors and officers to their underlings, but as brothers in arms who were pursuing a singular purpose, victory. This is the way that Calvin writes. Yes, this life is difficult, yes we suffer, and experience hardships and pain. As believers, we live in a fallen world with fallen people. Life is hard. But God is good. Though we fall, God is there; though we suffer, God is with us; He will never leave us nor forsake us. We must look to Him in everything that we do, for He is good and He sent His Son to save us and redeem us from our wretched sin. Our goal is for His glory, that is our victory. Calvin both encourages and convicts as he speaks to his fellow believers, with words that are saturated with the truth of the Bible. “A Little Book on the Christian Life” contains truths that are not little. They are truths that are designed to motivate and encourage the believer to pursue God with a greater conviction and love for Him. This is a book for every believer, and it is a book that I will treasure and read over and over again to remind myself of God’s glory and His goodness to me.

  • Randall Hartman
    2018-11-24 19:43

    This short book is a recent new translation from Latin of a section excerpted from Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion. It is appealing and powerful in its brevity. The translation is in a readable, almost conversational, format (for example, with frequent use of contractions). Yet, it still retains relatively dense content consistent with a serious treatment of an important topic.The author's stated goal is to present Jesus’ disciples “a model for ordering their lives...a universal principle to guide Christians in their duties.” Upon reading it, I wish that I had received such a work nearly five decades ago when I professed my faith in Christ. How I needed an anchor to point me to the meat of God’s word and sink my teeth into what he declares are His purposes, regardless of generation, culture, or context. How much it is my loss that I am just now reading this work.This “little book” has opened deeper insights for me into the substance of what God calls His disciples to. I highly recommend this book as essential reading for Christians. I challenge 21st century Christians to put the truths of scripture, expounded in this book, next to the paradigm of our lives. We may be enlightened as to the adjustments we need to make to our priorities - I know I have been.

  • Dan Cogan
    2018-11-25 20:47

    I would commend this book to all followers of Christ. There is almost too much in its pages for how small a book it is. It is a gut punch of godliness and yet so encouraging. Calvin was quite obviously immersed in the teaching of Scripture as he conveys its message so powerfully and yet so succinctly.

  • Rich Schmaltz
    2018-11-19 17:48

    Lots of practical wisdom from a man who loved Jesus and wasn't afraid to lay down his life to serve him. More intense and more like eating steak than most modern books are. Last three pages on living faithfully in your calling and place God assigns you in life was maybe the best I've read on that. So helpful.

  • Nick Gibson
    2018-11-14 19:35

    Ligonier put out this elegant little edition through their Reformation Trust imprint. The aesthetic fits with the brevity and simplicity of the text, although there is enough meat here to reward re-reading. Excellent.

  • David Schultz
    2018-11-27 23:53

    Points the reader to heaven and away from worldliness. Thoroughly Scriptural for a Little Book.

  • Shawn Trautman
    2018-11-18 23:36

    If you would like to read John Calvin, start here!

  • Josh Stowers
    2018-12-03 20:25

    “My goal here is simply to present to godly people a model for ordering their lives.” How thankful I am he achieved his goal through the grace of God. A compelling book that speaks directly and plainly to the Christian walk. However its ability to get to the point by no means diminishes its profundity. A little book that should receive much use.

  • Trevor Winsor
    2018-11-10 21:52

    I appreciated the brevity and impact of this short writing. Calvin is such an intelligent and thoughtful man. This was my first experience reading anything from Calvin, and I’m glad I started here!

  • Eric Chappell
    2018-12-11 21:28

    For May 2013 of my Ancient Mentors series, I read Calvin's Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, as well as S. Manetsch's Calvin's Company of Pastors (as an historical accompaniment). This was a helpful little book. I'm surprised it took me so long to get around to reading it. In five brief chapters, Calvin offers some useful biblical and pastoral guidance for the believer's journey in sanctification. The chapters are as follows:1. Humble Obedience, the True Imitation of Christ2. Self-denial3. Patience in Cross-bearing4. Hopefulness for the Next World5. The Right Use of the Present LifeI think Calvin excels in his counsel on Christian's facing affliction and suffering, pointing out our tendency and inclination towards inordinate love of the present life to the exclusion of the Creator, and navigating the waters between Pharisaical legalism and ungrateful license. The usefulness of this book is in its classically Calvin brevity and its readibility. You could read through it on a Sunday afternoon, or take a week and try to more slowly absorb its wisdom. Here are some things I learned or was reminded of:1. The Gospel is not a doctrine of the tongue, but of life.2. The great majority of Christians struggle, halt, and creep on ground making slight advances in the Christian journey.3. Everyone flatters himself and carries a kingdom in his breast.4. All blessings we receive are given on condition that we bless others.5. Christians ought to imagine themselves in the place of the person who needs their help.6. We cannot obtain anything without divine blessing, and if we do, it will prove a calamity to us. 7. There is no crown without a cross.8. Nobody has made progress in the school of Christ unless he cheerfully looks forward to the day of his death and to the day of the final resurrection. 9. Use the blessings of this life so that you are assisted, not delayed in your pilgrimage.10. How to Think about Christian Liberty: earthly things are God's gifts; true gratitude restrains abuse; live in moderation; in privation, be patient and content; be faithful to your divine calling.I didn't give this book a 4 or 5 star (to the chagrin of some) primarily because I really didn't understand why Calvin began where he began, and why he included what he included. Because of its brevity, there's a lot of thought-provoking one-liners. This would be a great book to return to after several years.

  • Larry Gales
    2018-11-19 18:25

    This was a very good devotional book in regards to his Institutes. Chapter 3 was the most encouraging for myself. Patience in Crossbearing: The cross makes us humble; The cross makes us hopeful; The cross teaches obedience; The cross makes for discipline; The cross brings repentance; Persecution brings God's favor; Persecution should bring spiritual joy; The cross should not make us indifferent; The cross makes for submission; The cross is necessary for our salvation.Even if you only read this chapter, I know you will be encouraged and blessed by it!

  • Sarah
    2018-12-01 19:54

    Great little book! I loved the quality and simplicity contained inside. I also loved Calvin's focus on humility, bearing whatever God sends us with joy, and looking towards our future hope in heaven. It encouraged and strengthened my faith.

  • Brenda
    2018-12-06 17:48

    I love this book.

  • Gregory
    2018-12-09 17:25

    Read again in 2006.

  • Ryan Hawkins
    2018-11-16 20:51

    This book is an excellent read once you get used to reading his style. In short, it is obeying and following Christ, that is, about humble self-sacrifice and patience in this world as we wait for our hope to come. He meditates on this idea over and over, and what is amazing is that this is what he considers the true Christian life. He supports it with Bible.It really was a book of excellent little nuggets. The whole argued for what is written above, but it had moments of glory. For example:On page 13, he writes that "holiness is...a gift of Christ, which enables us to cling to him and follow him." I absolutely love this idea.On page 19, he writes, "Let us not despair because of the smallness of our accomplishment. Though we fall short, our labor is not lost if this day surpasses the preceding one. The one condition for spiritual progress is that we remain sincere and humble. Let us keep our end in view, let us press forward to our goal Let us not indulge in pride, nor give in to our sinful passions." The Christian life to him is humbly going forward, following Christ, and not despairing.On page 24, he convicts by showing that God is not pleased at all who are ambitious for popular praise. On page 27, he writes that "Christ dispels the charms which blind us and prevent us from longing with the right zeal for the glory of heaven." I love this. Christ dispels the charms of the world which blind and dull us about what is to come. He later goes on to say that one of the main charms which blind us is self-love. He has a lot to say about this.On page 30, he talks about how we need to be meek like Christ, and relates this to how we relate to others. He says, "We shall never arrive at true meekness by any other way than by humiliating ourselves and by honoring others from the depth of our hearts." This is so true, and convicting.Then toward the end of the book, he contrasts really well the fact that we are to long for heaven so much that we basically despise the world, while at the same time not neglecting God's gifts he gives us. I think he arrives at a healthy balance. He is more zealously waiting for heaven than so many do today who advocate about enjoying God's gifts. In fact, he says that "Nobody has made any progress in the school of Christ, unless he cheerfully looks forward towards the day of his death, and towards the day of the final resurrection" (79); and "it is terrible that many who boast themselves to be Christians, instead of longing for death, are so filled with fear of it...It is intolerable that there should not be sufficient light and devotion in a Christian's breast to suppress all that dear with an overwhelming consolation" (77-78).In short, this book was helpful in considering being radical for humility and self-sacrifice as we follow Christ submissively, until that great day comes when our hope comes to fruition.

  • Bill Pence
    2018-11-27 18:53

    This short book on the Christian life is extracted from the second edition (1539) of John Calvin’s classic book Institutes of the Christian Religion. Parsons and Denlinger have given us an excellent new translation of the book, based upon the final and definitive Latin edition of the Institutes. The translators have striven to make Calvin’s meaning as clear as possible to English readers. Calvin’s goal with the book was simply to present to godly people a model for ordering their lives. His purpose in this work is to present doctrine simply and concisely. He writes that the goal of God’s work in us is to bring our lives into harmony and agreement with His own righteousness, and so to manifest to ourselves and others our identity as His adopted children. He tells us that there are two main parts to the instruction from Scripture on the Christian life that he will address. The first is that a love of righteousness—to which we are not naturally prone—must be implanted and poured into our hearts. The second is that we need some model that will keep us from losing our way in our pursuit of righteousness. Calvin covers a number of themes in this short book, among them the holiness of God, doctrine, God’s Law, self-denial, uprightness and godliness, the cross, suffering and affliction, endurance and our calling. This is a wonderful new translation of a classic from Calvin. Highly recommended.

  • Jared Lowe
    2018-11-13 22:26

    If you want to understand the heart of John Calvin, read "the back of the book." Oftentimes, we direct our attention to the theological treatises set forth in the writings of John Calvin, and rightly so. But far more important than predestination, a proper understanding of the sacraments, etc. is the way in which the Christian is to live, and the way in which correct theology is to be "worked out" in our daily lives. This little book addresses this very thing. Taken from Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book 3, chapters 6-10), A Little Book on the Christian Life is truly a gem to be desired by Christians of all ages. Calvin, in his work on the Christian life, explores what is meant by Christian piety. In this, the most recent translation of this section of the Institutes, Burk Parsons and Aaron Denlinger place Calvin's work on the Christian life into the hands of Christians in a more readily available, and easy-to-read format. This "Little Book" is a must read for every man, woman, boy, and girl who names the name of Christ, no matter at what stage in the Christian life they may be.

  • Barry
    2018-11-28 22:31

    There's a lot of wisdom in this new little book from this up-and-coming pastor/author. Like this:"Let believers learn to bear scarcity with no less calm and patience than they experience abundance -- all with moderation. The one who seeks to hold on to the things of this world lightly puts to death his own immoderate appetite for food and drink. He puts to death cowardice, ambition, pride, haughtiness, and dissatisfaction with respect to his table, his buildings, and his clothes. Indeed, he puts to death every care and affection which might lead him astray or hinder his meditation on heavenly life and his zeal for the improvement of his soul."Great stuff. I'm already looking forward to his next book!