John Owen: Biography, Works & Quotes

Instructor: Natarielle Powell

I am a native Georgian with over 10 years experience in writing, publishing, and mentoring. Before becoming a English instructor and content creator, I earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Composition from Spelman College and later a master’s degree in Education with emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Phoenix.

Could you imagine going to college at age 12? Or having 10 out of 11 children die in infancy? How about serving as spiritual advisor to a major political leader? Such was the life of the author John Owen. Read on.

Early Life of John Owen

In 1616, one great man of literature passed on, and another great one was born. In the same year that William Shakespeare died, John Owen was born in Oxfordshire in England. Owen's parents were Henry and Hester Owen. His father was a preacher, so it is not surprising that John would become one too.

Can you imagine entering a college environment at age 12? Well, John Owen did. He did start his education with grammar school, but quickly moved on to Queens College. He excelled so well that he obtained his master's degree in 1635 when he was only 19 years old! Owen studied theology and was ordained a deacon by the Bishop of Oxford.

John Owen
john owen

Personal Preacher

After he was ordained, Owen began a business doctoral program, but he did not finish it. In 1637, he decided to become a personal chaplain to Sir Robert Dormer of Ascot and his family. During this time, and even today, many people had personal chaplains to guide them spiritually and give advice in different situations. For instance, the Queen of England has several personal chaplains.

In later years, Owen became the personal chaplain for Oliver Cromwell, a military and political leader in England. Owen traveled to Ireland and Scotland with Cromwell.

Oliver Cromwell
cromwell

John Owen's Books

Throughout his lifetime, John Owen wrote many books, mostly about religion and reformation. He was known as a reformer, constantly stressing the changes that needed to be made within the church as a whole.

Owen's first book was called A Display of Arminianism (Are-me-ne-uh-nism). It was published in 1642. This book is about the forgiveness of sins. It also compares the basic principles of Arminianism and the teachings of biblical scriptures.

Book Cover
book

Here are some of his other thought-provoking books:

The Duties of Pastors and People Distinguished (1643)

Rules of Direction for the Walking Saints in Fellowship (1648)

Of the Divine Original Authority of the Scriptures (1659)

Doctrine of Justification by Faith (1677)

Marriage and Family

In 1643, just after he moved to London, John Owen married Mary Rooke. During the time the John Owen met and married his wife, families were known for having several children. John continued the trend. He and Mary had 11 children. Unfortunately, all of the children died while they were still infants, except for one.

Mary died in 1675, and John remarried the next year. His new wife's name was Dorothy. John was 60 years old when he remarried.

Memorable Quotes

John Owen was very well-respected for his views on religion, and even today, his words enlighten us on the faith. Here are some of Owen's most memorable quotes:

The vigor and power and comfort of our spiritual life depends on our mortification of deeds of the flesh.

A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more.

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