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Posts 3703
Milkman | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Nov 13 2019 6:24 PM

Can anyone suggest a "good" biography on John Owen?

mm.

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Posts 19333
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 14 2019 1:09 AM

There's a section about him in John Piper's Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen, but as you will see from this excerpt, not much is known about his life:

"Most people—even pastors and theologians—don’t know much about John Owen. One of the reasons is that his writings are not popular today. But another reason is that not much is known about him—at least not much about his personal life. Peter Toon, in his 1971 biography, says, 'Not one of Owen’s diaries has been preserved; and … the extant letters in which he lays bare his soul are very few, and recorded, personal reactions of others to him are brief and scarce.' 'We have to rely on a few letters and a few remarks of others to seek to understand him as a man. And these are insufficient to probe the depths of his character. So Owen must remain hidden as it were behind a veil … his secret thoughts remain his own.'
"I think this may be a little misleading because when you read the more practical works of Owen, the man shines through in a way that I think reveals the deep places of his heart. But still the details of his personal life are frustratingly few. You will see this—and perhaps share my frustration—in what follows."

John Piper, Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2006), 83.

I would also recommend James M. Houston's "Editor's Note" and J.I. Packer's "Introduction" to Sin and Temptation: The Challenge of Personal Godliness from the Works of John Owen (Classics of Faith and Devotion series). Houston aptly introduces Owen's thought in this short volume. It's too bad this series isn't available in Logos format.

Biographies of Owen that Houston and Packer reference:

You can also find, for free on Scribd, The Life of Dr. John Owen by Rev. Andrew Thompson. This is the same biography of him that appears in Volume 1 of Works of John Owen, which is available in Logos.

More biographies of him available on the Internet Archive:

And from the Dictionary of National Biography:

Posts 3703
Milkman | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 14 2019 3:34 AM

Very helpful. Thanks YesBig Smile

mm.

Posts 19333
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 14 2019 8:21 AM

Also, I just suggested this on UserVoice along with the rest of the "Long Line of Godly Men" series. Others have said the series is very good: It's available in Kindle format.

The Trinitarian Devotion of John Owen
Sinclair Ferguson and Steven J. Lawson
Reformation Trust
2014
978-1567694031
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1567694039

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