Proclaim. Mobilize. Equip.
Call 866-865-6253

Book Briefs: A Little Book on the Christian Life

May 22, 2018

Editor’s Note: Today we continue our new series, “Book Briefs,” to help you stock your reading pile with excellent, gospel-centered books. Tim Augustyn, our Pastor of Ministry Resources, shares a brief summary of titles he’s read, along with his favorite quotations from each. We hope “Book Briefs” will help and equip you!  

A Little Book on the Christian Life Book Brief

Summary. If you would like a brief and practical, counter-cultural approach to the Christian life, this is it. John Calvin’s 126-page excerpt from his book Institutes of the Christian Religion will challenge, strengthen, and encourage both the mature as well as the younger Christian.  

Warning. This book will not merely affirm the way you’ve always thought about the Christian life. But you will find Calvin’s passion and directness refreshing, like a cool drink on a hot day. Prepare yourself to work a bit harder to read this book than you normally would for a contemporary Christian author, but the reward is well worth your time and energy.

My Top 10 Quotes from A Little Book on the Christian Life

10. “The gospel’s power ought to penetrate the innermost affections of the heart, sink down into the soul, and inspire the whole man a hundred times more than the lifeless teachings of the philosophers” (pp. 13-14).

9. “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” (p. 23).

8. “Godly men must neither desire, nor aspire, nor expect to prosper for any other reason than the Lord’s blessing” (p. 47).

7. “The godly man has this comfort, which provides greater security to him than the highest peak of wealth or power—he knows that his affairs are ordered by the Lord and, as such, promote his salvation” (p. 51).

6. “Those whom the Lord has chosen and condescended to welcome into fellowship with him should prepare themselves for a life that is hard, laborious, troubled, and full of many and various kinds of evil” (p. 57).

5. “Our flesh is like a stubborn horse that becomes wild and unmanageable and doesn’t recognize its rider—however much it previously obeyed his commands…after a period of relative peace and quiet” (p. 67).

4. “Man’s life is like a vapor or shadow…and there is nothing we bring to mind and think about less diligently than this truth” (p. 93).

3. “[Some have tried to bind] men’s consciences more narrowly than the Word of the Lord binds them—a very dangerous thing to do” (p. 113).

2. “Scripture teaches that everything we own—everything appointed for our benefit—has been given to us by God’s kindness, so that all that we own is like a deposit for which we must one day give an account” (pp. 122-123).

1. “Every work performed in obedience to one’s calling, no matter how ordinary or common, is radiant—most valuable in the eyes of our Lord” (p. 126).

A Little Book on the Christian Life by John Calvin. Edited by Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons. Reformation Trust Publishing (March 2, 2017). 132 pp. $8.00.


The Author
Tim Augustyn

Tim serves as the resident pastor, writer, and editor of Unlocking the Bible. He was born and raised in northern Wisconsin, came to faith in his 20's while working in the business world, and received a Master's in Divinity from Trinity International University. He is author of the children’s book Man on the Run, and co-author of The One Year Unlocking the Bible Devotional with Colin Smith. Tim and his wife, Janna, and their four kids live in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Explore this topic further

Craving Control in the Wilderness

After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...

Read Post

Trusting God in a Troubled World

Followers of Jesus have hope in a troubled world. Paul describes it as “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Another way of saying this would be eternal life: life that is not marred by the brokenness all of us know and are experiencing right now. The glory that followers of...

Read Post

Join the Battle—and Sing

Everyone is eager to point out the current difficulties of life in a broken world. Railing against oppressive circumstances is natural. But certainly, these are not just difficult times. They are also very important times. How many of us will look back on this season and say, “I fought the...

Read Post
For your gift of any amount

Listener Favorites 2020

The most requested sermons from the past year

Get Unlocking the Bible's Weekly Email

"This Week at Unlocking the Bible" features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Share Your Story and Prayer Requests

If you have a testimony or story you would like to share or if you have a prayer request, please use the form below. If you would like someone from our staff to call you, please include your phone number.

We will never sell or misuse your information.

Learn more about resources
to help you face the current crisis and begin living courageously.

Get Unlocking the Bible’s Weekly Email

“This Week at Unlocking the Bible” features new articles, radio programs, devotionals, and ministry updates

We will never sell or misuse your information.