Owen, John. The Person of Christ: Declaring a Glorious Mystery – God and Man. Scotland: Christian Heritage Imprint, 2015. 416 pp. $19.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle.
I have reviewed a few works by John Owen (1616-1683) in the past. Those reviews can be found here. This particular book is part of a series that Christian Heritage (you can purchase a 5-volume set, minus this book, for $70.00) than has been publishing as part of an emphasis on the works of John Owen. Additional titles include The Glory of Christ: His Office and Grace, The Holy Spirit: His Gifts and Power, Communion with God: Fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Assurance: Overcoming the Difficulty of Knowing Forgiveness, and The Priesthood of Christ: Its Necessity and Nature.
For those who may be wondering, this is also the first volume in the 16-volume Works of John Owen published by The Banner of Truth Trust.
This entire book is centered on what theologians call Christology – the study of Christ. This massive 400+ page book is divided into 20 chapters with each chapter building on the previous. He begins the twofold foundation of Christ and begins moving meticulously through a complete theology of the person of Jesus Christ as the God-Man.
Some of the chapters include a look at the foundation of the counsels of God, Jesus as the great representative of God and His will, and the repository of sacred truth. A few other chapters look at love from the understanding of who Christ is. We see that love is the principle of obedience (chapter 12) as well as our motives to love Christ because of what He has accomplished (chapter 14).
Yet another section of chapters looks to the wisdom of God in Christ as well as the wisdom of Christ as shown to us in Scripture and His willingness to obey His Father unto death. The final three chapters look at the nature of the person of Christ, the exaltation of Christ, and finally, His mediatorial office.
If you are confused by this summary, here is what the publisher offered as a summary of the book:
John Owen sought to illustrate the mystery of divine grace in the Person of Christ. Regarded as one of the most important post-Reformation works, Owen’s Christology illustrates the mystery of divine grace in the Person of Christ.
In other words, this is a very difficult work to succinctly summarize!
The theological strength of this book is its focus on the person of Jesus Christ. This is key as Owen wrote individual treatise on the office of Christ and the priesthood of Christ as well as the work of Christ. All that to say, this particular book looks solely at the person, that is the man, of Jesus Christ.
Obviously, the subject matter will bleed into other disciplines and there will be great overlap in theological and doctrinal conversation, but Owen peels back layer upon layer in his quest for understanding and explaining to the masses who the Christ is.
One reason a modern reader would prefer this edition over the first volume of the works is the updated language and chapter divisions. This includes a change from roman numerals to the more commonly used Arabic numbers. Also, as those who have read Owen know, he can get very verbose. This, too, has been restructured such that the modern reader can readily follow his train of thought.
Quite frankly, this volume is worth its price for the preface alone.
Mark Jones, author of the recently published Knowing Christ, stated in his endorsement, “If there is a richer book on Christology in the English language, I am not aware of it.” All I can add to that is a hearty Amen. I highly commend The Person of Christ to every believer who has called upon the name of Christ as Lord and Savior.