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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See in the meantime that your faith brings forth obedience, and God in due time will cause it to bring forth peace.
All things I thought I knew; but now confess, the more I know I know, I know the less.
If we do not abide in prayer, we will abide in temptation. Let this be one aspect of our daily intercession: 'God, preserve my soul, and keep my heart and all its ways so that I will not be entangled.' When this is true in our lives, a passing temptation will not overcome us. We will remain free while others lie in bondage.
Temptation is like a knife, that may either cut the meat or the throat of a man; it may be his food or his poison, his exercise or his destruction.
Leanness of body and soul may go together.
John Owen, the Pastor
In addition to writing and serving as a personal chaplain, John Owen also pastored many congregations. He began in Essex when he and Mary, his first wife, were newlyweds.
On two different occasions,Owen preached before the House of Commons, the lower part of Great Britain's government. He was also appointed the Dean of Christ Church in 1651.
Owen died at age 67.
John Owen was an author, personal chaplain, pastor, husband, and father. He was born in 1616 in the same year that William Shakespeare died. Owen died in 1683 at age 67. He and his wife had 11 children, but only 1 lived passed infancy.
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