Logos Bible Software is giving away a free book each month in 2012. First up is John Owen, Temptation and Sin. This is volume 6 of the 24-volume Complete John Owen set. The set was edited in 1857 by William Goold, which replaced the Works edited by Thomas Russell some 25 years earlier. Much of this particular treatise is include in the recent Overcoming Sin and Temptation, edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor (Crossway, 2006).
The 648 page Temptation and Sin covers a wide range of related topics. There are not many modern writers who would write a book that size, and certainly few publishers that would try to sell a major work on sin, temptation, and mortification! Owen’s writing style is dense, sometimes taking a single verse and expounding on it for pages. His definition of sin and temptation are monumental, laboriously argued, and lavishly illustrated from scripture. Yet there is much in this book which will reward the diligent reader.
What is the value of reading John Owen? Owen was a non-conformist preacher who died in 1683. Yet he is still read and studied today – he even has his own website! J. I. Packer is cited by JohnOwen.org as saying “I owe more to John Owen than to any other theologian, ancient or modern; and I owe more to [The Mortification of Sin] than to anything else he wrote.” In the forward to Kapic and Taylor, John Piper says that reading Owen “is to wake up to ways of seeing that are so clearly biblical that I wonder how I could have been so blind.” While not as well known as Jonathan Edwards, he is certainly one of the great Puritan writers.
I read a bit in the book on my laptop, but if I am going to read an electronic book I prefer my iPad. The text is presented on either platform in an easy-to-read format, much better than the free Google Books format or PDF files which sometimes are found on the internet. The Ages Library produced a PDF version of the complete Works ($14.95 download, $19.95 for CD), but the files are PDF and lack the extensive indexing found in the Logos Library version. I bought this version many years ago, so I uploaded the volume 6 PDF to my iPad Kindle app for comparison purposes. Readability was the same as for any Kindle book, although the Ages library tags scripture references so that the appear as links. Uploaded to Kindle, these links are just annoying. (Bear in mind my copy of Ages’ Owen collection is copyright 2000!) What is missing in the Kindle version is a cut and paste feature, nor is there any search function.
Go to Logos.com and get John Owen’s Temptation and Sin for free through the end of January. You can enter to win the complete works of John Owen on that page as well. Check back in February for a new “free book of the month.”