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A Little Book on the Christian Life

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For centuries, Christians of all ages have turned to John Calvin’s A Little Book on the Christian Life to help them on 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 suffering as they rest in Christ alone. In this new translation from the Latin, Drs. Aaron Denlinger and Burk For centuries, Christians of all ages have turned to John Calvin’s A Little Book on the Christian Life to help them on 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 suffering as they rest in Christ alone. In this new translation from the Latin, Drs. Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons capture Calvin’s biblical faithfulness, theological integrity, and pastor’s heart. This is a book for every Christian to pick up, read, and apply.


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For centuries, Christians of all ages have turned to John Calvin’s A Little Book on the Christian Life to help them on 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 suffering as they rest in Christ alone. In this new translation from the Latin, Drs. Aaron Denlinger and Burk For centuries, Christians of all ages have turned to John Calvin’s A Little Book on the Christian Life to help them on 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 suffering as they rest in Christ alone. In this new translation from the Latin, Drs. Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons capture Calvin’s biblical faithfulness, theological integrity, and pastor’s heart. This is a book for every Christian to pick up, read, and apply.

30 review for A Little Book on the Christian Life

  1. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

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

  2. 4 out of 5

    Megan Craig

    I told Andy, “We wouldn’t need like half of the Christian living books I’ve read if we just read this one.” This book is short, relatively easy to read, and saturated with theological gems on trusting God as we walk through this challenging Christian life. People act like the reformers were all mean and legalistic, but I found this a grace-filled perspective. My biggest encouragement was pressing onward in trials, because motherhood can feel like one big trial. My kids were sick and I was sleep I told Andy, “We wouldn’t need like half of the Christian living books I’ve read if we just read this one.” This book is short, relatively easy to read, and saturated with theological gems on trusting God as we walk through this challenging Christian life. People act like the reformers were all mean and legalistic, but I found this a grace-filled perspective. My biggest encouragement was pressing onward in trials, because motherhood can feel like one big trial. My kids were sick and I was sleep deprived and pregnant while I read this book so it applied very well to my life! I want to flip through and add my favorite quotes later, because there were so many good one-liners. The language may be a little challenging for some casual readers, but I encourage every Christian to read this short gem of a theological work - it’s short and every bit of it will apply to your daily life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Manchester

    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 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 life 3. How suffering helps produce points 1&2 His 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael Galdamez

    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 br 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.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ladydusk

    I read this book 3 times, slowly, over from February 26 through today. It is one that could be read, slowly, over and over going forward. Calvin insists that we deny ourselves and follow Christ, that we live in gratitude for his gifts, that we hope for the next world, and live in moderation for this. He builds is case slowly and carefully from the scripture and helps the reader to learn how to conform to Christ and why. Highly recommended. I'm going to read it again. I read this book 3 times, slowly, over from February 26 through today. It is one that could be read, slowly, over and over going forward. Calvin insists that we deny ourselves and follow Christ, that we live in gratitude for his gifts, that we hope for the next world, and live in moderation for this. He builds is case slowly and carefully from the scripture and helps the reader to learn how to conform to Christ and why. Highly recommended. I'm going to read it again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John Boyne

    What an excellent little book! This is one that needs to be read on a regular basis. This book is a small section from John Calvin's massive theological work called the "Institutes of the Christian Religion". The focus of this section was on how the Christian was to live in this world. Calvin's deep theological analysis of Scripture and clear application to your own life was a breathe of fresh air. We are to live in this world with the understanding that it is temporary and devoted to the glory What an excellent little book! This is one that needs to be read on a regular basis. This book is a small section from John Calvin's massive theological work called the "Institutes of the Christian Religion". The focus of this section was on how the Christian was to live in this world. Calvin's deep theological analysis of Scripture and clear application to your own life was a breathe of fresh air. We are to live in this world with the understanding that it is temporary and devoted to the glory of God instead of our own personal gain and comforts. This easy to read book helps you center your mind on Christ and Scripture as you devote yourself to living a life that is honoring to him. A great and easy read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Greg Bodwell

    A simple, clear and encouraging book. This is the first thing of Calvin I’ve read and I really enjoyed it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Hembry

    A gem and a staple.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    I think this is a really great book that should probably be read once a year or so because it helps the Christian put life into perspective. It reminds us who God is and who we are. We should keep this in mind always and live our lives in a way that reflects humbleness and our gratitude.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie

    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 a 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    NinaB

    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 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!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christiana Cali

    This small book brought me such joy and peace this week. It met some spiritual and emotional needs of mine, and pointed me to Christ. I appreciate the edition for how manageable it is to read and comprehend. I will probably use it as a gift for close friends and family in the future, because it's inexpensive, but so valuable. This small book brought me such joy and peace this week. It met some spiritual and emotional needs of mine, and pointed me to Christ. I appreciate the edition for how manageable it is to read and comprehend. I will probably use it as a gift for close friends and family in the future, because it's inexpensive, but so valuable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bekah Eyre

    "Rather doctrine is rightly received when it takes posession of the entire soul and finds a dwelling place and shelter in the most intimate affections of the heart". Concise book that briefly discusses key disciplines in the Christian walk which are often forgotten. "Rather doctrine is rightly received when it takes posession of the entire soul and finds a dwelling place and shelter in the most intimate affections of the heart". Concise book that briefly discusses key disciplines in the Christian walk which are often forgotten.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rafael Salazar

    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).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diem

    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 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".

  16. 4 out of 5

    Danette

    My first (little) book by Calvin. I can easily see it becoming an annual read. There are many little nuggets of truth in its pages. He who lives in obscurity will live an ordinary life without complaint, so that he won't be found guilty of deserting his divinely appointed post. Indeed, in the midst of troubles, hardships, annoyances, and other burdens, he will find great relief when he remembers that God is his guide in all these matters. The magistrate will more gladly attend to his duties. The My first (little) book by Calvin. I can easily see it becoming an annual read. There are many little nuggets of truth in its pages. He who lives in obscurity will live an ordinary life without complaint, so that he won't be found guilty of deserting his divinely appointed post. Indeed, in the midst of troubles, hardships, annoyances, and other burdens, he will find great relief when he remembers that God is his guide in all these matters. The magistrate will more gladly attend to his duties. The father will more gladly commit himself to his responsibilities. Each person, in whatever his station in life, will endure and overcome troubles, inconveniences, disappointments, and anxieties, convinced that his burden has been placed upon him by God. Great consolation will follow from all of this. * For every work performed in obedience to one's calling, no matter how ordinary and common, is radiant--most valuable in the eyes of our Lord. 2020 A book about Christina living

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    A Little Book on the Christian Life was a wonderful little book to read. While it was at times a little tricky to read, it was mostly an easy read. I found some of the things it said to be thought-provoking and I enjoyed the read. All in all, I recommend A Little Book on the Christian Life. *I received a complimentary eBook copy of this book via NetGalley for my honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Weeks

    This little book is filled with so much treasure of Gods Word! I would highly recommend it to anyone who feels they are in a dry season or who feels they need their hearts reignited with love for the Lord. It was so encouraging and rich with the truth of God. I highlighted almost the whole book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz Burns

    This book was a life-giving reminder and refresher for pursuing holiness because God himself is holy! “Doctrine is rightly received when it takes possession of the entire soul and finds a dwelling place and shelter in the most intimate affections of the heart.” 🔥🔥

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bambi Moore

    Should be reread often. Enjoyed this so much.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Loved this book and the convicting comforts Calvin exposits for believers. Will be rereading this for sure. And am planning to go through his Institutes of Christian Religion next year.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    I found this to be a helpful little book. Thanks to the translators the read was very easy and quick. It is easy to picture John Calvin as a stoic that enjoyed suffering, but this book goes a long way in curing these views. I really appreciated his comments on the normal and natural feelings of grief, anger, and fear during suffering that even Jesus felt. These feelings are an opportunity to turn to God in faith during our trials. I am thankful that I have had many great teachers and role models I found this to be a helpful little book. Thanks to the translators the read was very easy and quick. It is easy to picture John Calvin as a stoic that enjoyed suffering, but this book goes a long way in curing these views. I really appreciated his comments on the normal and natural feelings of grief, anger, and fear during suffering that even Jesus felt. These feelings are an opportunity to turn to God in faith during our trials. I am thankful that I have had many great teachers and role models in this regard.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Shirkman

    “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.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Annie Clapp

    The perfect afternoon read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Rakshith Prabhakar

    The "littleness" of this book belies its profundity, practicality, and relevance to our lives today. Truly a companion for life! The "littleness" of this book belies its profundity, practicality, and relevance to our lives today. Truly a companion for life!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    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 legiti 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.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    Wonderful. Thankful to have it recommended to me at this time in my life. I appreciated the chapters on self-denial the most. The whole book reiterated a number of points I have been thinking on recently. Another one I will definitely need to purchase for my own collection. Favorite quotes: "We are, essentially, contemplating the life of the angels even as we trudge through the mire of earth's filthiness." "In whatever trouble comes to us, we should always set our eyes on God's purpose to train Wonderful. Thankful to have it recommended to me at this time in my life. I appreciated the chapters on self-denial the most. The whole book reiterated a number of points I have been thinking on recently. Another one I will definitely need to purchase for my own collection. Favorite quotes: "We are, essentially, contemplating the life of the angels even as we trudge through the mire of earth's filthiness." "In whatever trouble comes to us, we should always set our eyes on God's purpose to train us to think little of this present life and inspire us to think more about the future life." "For we all make our plans as if we were constructing immortality for ourselves in this world."

  28. 4 out of 5

    April Thrush

    This is a great work for new believers in Christ to read, however there are great nuggets in here as well for seasoned saints... because the truth is that we forget things so often that we need to be reminded. The most valuable chapter for me was the one on the "Meditation on our Future Life" which touches on the subject of how should we as Christians enjoy the God-given gifts of this world while also scorning the world in light of our future eternal state. This is definitely worth the (very qui This is a great work for new believers in Christ to read, however there are great nuggets in here as well for seasoned saints... because the truth is that we forget things so often that we need to be reminded. The most valuable chapter for me was the one on the "Meditation on our Future Life" which touches on the subject of how should we as Christians enjoy the God-given gifts of this world while also scorning the world in light of our future eternal state. This is definitely worth the (very quick) read for Christians across the spectrum of spiritual maturity.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    These extracts from the Institutes are some of the most balanced, consoling, challenging, and beautiful reflections on the Christian life I have ever read. They touch on such things as love of neighbor, suffering, grief, heavenly-mindedness, and living a well-composed life. I will reread this often and plan to gift copies to friends. This little pocket edition by Reformation Trust is well suited for just that.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mark Nenadov

    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!

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