Overcoming Sin and Temptation: A Suggestion for Pastors

Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor have blessed us with a new edition of John Owen’s three classic works on overcoming sin and temptation.

You can read the commendations here. For my part, I have a suggestion that I hope at least some pastors and ministers will take up.

I’ve said before that I think every seminary graduate should have read or be planning to read this book. It would also be beneficial for all church leaders to have read or be reading this book.

So here’s my suggestion: if you’re a pastor or ministry leader, how about grabbing a couple guys in your ministry and reading through this book together? You could give them the book for Christmas and ask them to give you the gift of walking through it with you (and arranging the meetings!).

Take it slow and soak up this rich truth. You don’t have to cram, and with a book like this you shouldn’t. If all you do is 20 pages a month, and if you don’t meet more than once a month, an exercise like this might be the means God uses to protect you and those with whom you minister from the ravages of sin waging war on our souls.

Reading this book won’t hurt your preaching, either.

We can thank Kapic and Taylor for their labor on our behalf, and we should take up this book and fight for our lives against sin and temptation by the power of the Spirit.

Join the Conversation


  1. Jim –
    I wholeheartedly agree! I meet with 3 seminary students weekly and we spend 45 minutes reading Owen out loud. The rule of the group is that anyone can interrupt at any time, for, as you know, Owen can be a little clunkly and long-winded in places.
    Anyway, I have done this several times with students and it always leads to robust discussion and life-changing action.
    Praise the Lord for Owen!

  2. Amazing! I was just praying about that in my prayer time earlier today. What the saeminary really needs is a class on how to deal with sin. Although he is hard to read (and was even in his own day) Owen’s book could be one of the texts as well as some of Luther’s writings on how to deal with the conscience. You’re a big professor dude, you ought to pitch the idea to Ft. Worth.

  3. Wonderful. Another way to overcome sin and temptation is to open up to the living presence of God and to be truthful and loving.

    I highly recommend a very humble book called Insights For The Age Of Aquarius: A Handbook for Religious Sanity by Gina Cerminara. Read it. Your life will be transformed.

  4. How about the Church admits that sex is not sinful, but actually fun and good for you? How about letting pastors and ministers participate in one of the most important parts of life? It’s crazy to deny somebody sex; like telling a kid in a candy store that everybody else can have candy, but he never can. There really is no purpose to this madness, except to push suppressed desires to the frenzy point.

  5. Mike,

    I’m not sure I understand your comment. To my knowledge, the only churches that “deny sex” to their clergy are those that do not allow their clergy to marry.

    I’m a Baptist, and we Protestants believe that clergy can marry. We Protestants also believe the Bible when it teaches that the only sex that pleases God is that which happens between husband and wife in the context of marriage.



  6. Thanks Jim!

    You know – when I read Owen’s thoughts in this book – I had concerns about ministers in general in regards to the huge gap between head knowledge and really experiencing freedom in their souls.

    So… I liked your suggestion of reading it in community.

    It’s a much better approach to holiness than the Wild At Heart approach. I think Owens at least gives a shot at understanding the Spirit’s power in obedience.

    All of Willard’s stuff is excellent as well.

    Thanks for the post and keep up the great work you’re doing!

  7. This book (and edition) have had a profound impact on me. Thankful for all involved in publishing. Reference it all the time in the “college mens” class at our church.


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