John Owen was born in Stadhampton near Oxford in 1616. His father was Henry Owen, who was the local Puritan vicar. Owen displayed godly and scholarly qualities at an early age. He entered Queen’s College as an undergraduate at the age of twelve and studied classics, mathematics, philosophy, theology, Hebrew, and rabbinical writing. He earned his Bachelor and Masters degree in 1632 and 1635 respectively. He secured his M.A when he was just nineteen. Owen spent long hours in his study. He became the private chaplain for six years to Sir William Dormer of Ascot and then for John Lord Lovelace of Berkshire. Those six years of chaplaincy greatly helped him to have much time to study and began his writing career. He began to write books at the age of twenty-six, which he continued for forty-one years and produced more than eighty treatises. Most of his works have become classics, and the Lord has blessed his writings.
J.I.Packer summarizes Owen’s vocation from 1637 till his death. Owen became the pastor in 1673 and later chaplain to Oliver Cromwell in the 1640s. In 1651 he became Dean of Christ Church, Oxford’s largest college and later was given the additional post of Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1652. After 1660 he led the Independents through the bitter years of persecution till his death in 1683.
Though Owen grew up with Puritan convictions, yet he lacked personal assurance of faith until God directed him to listen to a country preacher who substituted Edmund Calamy in the pulpit. Owen heard the preacher exhorting from Matthew 8:26, “Why are ye fearful, ye of little faith.” God used that sermon to bring Owen to assurance of faith and removed his doubts and fears that had plagued his mind vanished.
In 1643, Owen published his first theological treatise A Display of Arminianism, in which he expounded Calvinism to refute against Arminians. This book attracted immediate attention and earned him an offer of the living at Fordham in Essex from the Parliamentary Committee of Religion. People recognized his ministry and appreciated his preaching and ministry. Moreover, he also was also proficient in catechizing his congregation and wrote two catechism books, one for children and one for adults.
In 1646 Owen, after being influenced by John Cotton’s Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and other political events, openly renounced from Presbyterianism to Congregationalism at Coggeshall and organized his church according to the Congregational principles. In the late 1640s Owen’s reputation grew and was recognized as a leading Congregationalist theologian.  In 1647 he published one of the best treatises The Death of Death in the Death of Christ to defend the Limited Atonement, and it drew disputation with Richard Baxter who believed in Amyraldian understanding of the atonement.
Owen preached frequently to more than a thousand people, yet he often lamented that there was little fruit through his preaching. Once he preached before the Parliament on Hebrews 12:27 and Oliver Cromwell was impressed by it. The next day Owen was persuaded to go with Cromwell as a chaplain to Ireland to regulate the affairs of Trinity College in Dublin. In 1650, he was appointed as an official preacher of the state. He assisted Cromwell in on the Scottish expedition and tried to convince Scottish leaders and people to bring an end to the monarchy. In 1653, he was conferred a Doctor of Divinity against his wishes. Owen had a fruitful decade in the 1650s as he was able to publish several treatises, including major works such as Christ’s Satisfaction, Mortification of Sin, Communion with the Trinity, Schism, Temptation, etc. He helped Thomas Goodwin and others to formulate The Savoy Declaration in 1658.
Owen was frequently sought after to advise or counsel to reconcile disputes and church settlements by Cromwell. However, when he opposed Cromwell’s ambition to become king, Owen lost his positions and eventually he retired to his small estate at Stadhampton. He continued to preach even after the “Great Ejection” in 1662 but lived in isolation. In 1665, he was charged for holding religious conventicles at Oxford, but he escaped without imprisonment. He later returned to London and began a small congregation. He used his time not only in preaching but also in writing his treatises for the spiritual growth of the believers. During this period, he wrote Indwelling Sin, Exposition of Psalm 130, and the Commentary on Hebrews. He also devoted his time to helping Independent ministers and supported financially as well as spiritually, which earned him the title of “prince and metropolitan of Independency.”
In 1674, Pneumatologia, a classic on the work of the Holy Spirit was published. He did not stop his writing though he was suffering from asthma and gallstones. He produced his major treatises on Justification, Spiritual-mindedness, and the Glory of Christ in his last years. He went to the Immanuel’s land on August 24, 1683, the anniversary of St Bartholomew’s Day. Owen wrote to his friend the day before his death as follows: “I am going to Him whom my soul has loved, or rather who has loved, or rather who has first loved me with an everlasting love-which is the whole ground of my consolation… I am leaving the ship of the church in a storm; but whilst the great Pilot is in it, the loss of a poor under rower will be inconsiderable. Live, and pray, and hope, and wait patiently, and do not despond; the promise stands invincible, that He will never leave us, nor forsake us.”
Kelly M. Kapic sums up of Owen’s life as follows: he was an army chaplain, a man of civil affairs and a political insider, Vice Chancellor of Oxford, a leading Puritan theologian, a faithful pastor, father and husband. He married twice, and his first wife Mary Rooke bore him eleven children but only one of them, his daughter survived beyond adolescence. Though she ended up marrying, she returned to live with her father when her marriage failed. He suffered a lot of pain in his life, yet he had hope in the Lord. Although Owen reached great heights in his career as a preacher before the Parliament, governing Oxford, having developed friendships with those in highest positions of authority including Cromwell, nonetheless he was removed from his position and went through loss of power. Owen was rightly called “the prince of English Divines.” He was not only a preacher, but also a leading Puritan theologian.
Owen wrote so many treatises which included doctrinal, practical, controversial subjects. The Banner of Truth Trust has reprinted The Works of John Owen 16 volumes of Goold 1850-1855. Volumes 1-5 consists of doctrinal subjects such as The Person and the Glory of Christ, Communion with God, Discourse on the Holy Spirit, Justification by Faith. Volumes 6-9 consists of practical subjects namely, Mortification of Sin, Temptation, Exposition of Psalm 130, Spiritual-mindedness and Sermons. Moreover, volumes 10-16 have controversial subjects, Death of Death in the Death of Christ, The Doctrine of the Saints’ Perseverance, The True Nature of a Gospel Church and The Divine Original of the Scriptures. In addition, he also published Biblical Theology, which Owen considered as his magnum opus but it is the least known writings; The Correspondence of John Owen was published posthumously after recovering his letters to add historical value to his writings and biography. Finally, his gigantic work on the Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews was published in seven volumes, which was updated by Goold in 1850-1857 and Banner of Truth reprinted it in 1965.
J.I.Packer acknowledged that Owen’s writings are difficult to read and complex, and in the introductory essay to The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, writes “there is no denying that Owen is heavy and hard to read.” Though his treatises are scholarly and difficult to read, yet some of his writings are more pastoral and practical especially volumes six to nine emphasizing on Mortification of Sin, Temptation, Spiritual-mindedness, Temptation, etc.
Owen published his treatise on Mortification of Sin in 1656, while he was serving as the Dean of Christ Church College in Oxford. This book came out of his sermons which he preached to young students and academic community at Oxford. Kelly explains the significance of Owen’s address to the academic community: “One consequence of addressing this youthful audience seems to be that his reflections tend toward the concrete and practical, emphasizing the particular rather than lingering too long on the abstract. Here were young people who were beginning to experience the complexity of sin and self.” When he saw the state and condition of the professing Christians who were struggling with sin, Owen was compelled to help them. Moreover, he also observed some men’s dangerous incorrect teaching about mortification of sin and his own desire to grow to promote holiness in his heart and others, Owen took this project. He was also pressed by many to publish his sermons as they sought to glorify God by mortifying sin. Finally, Owen was convinced to print it as a treatise with alterations.
One of my favorite writings of Owen is Mortification of Sin. In Mortification of Sin, Owen expounds Romans 8:13 and explains why to kill sin and how to kill sin. He highlighted the need, necessity and means of mortifying sin. I am hoping to write more on Mortification of Sin in the coming days.
 Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 455.
 J. I. Packer, Puritan Portraits: J.I. Packer on Selected Classic Pastors and Pastoral Classics: Richard Baxter, Thomas Boston, John Bunyan, Stephen Charnock, John Flavel, MathewHenry, John Owen, William Perkins, Henry Scougal (Fearn, Ross-shire: Christian Focus, 2012), 81–82.
 Beeke and Pederson, Meet the Puritans, 456.
 Don Marvin Everson, “The Puritan Theology of John Owen” 1959, 3.
 Godfrey Noel Vose, “Profile of a Puritan: John Owen (1616-1683)” 1963, 35.
 Beeke and Pederson, Meet the Puritans, 456.
 Ibid., 456–457.
 Carl R. Trueman, John Owen: Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007), 4.
 Beeke and Pederson, Meet the Puritans, 458–459.
 Ibid., 457–459.
 Ibid., 459–460.
 Andrew Thomson, John Owen, Historymakers (Fearn: Christian Focus, 1996), 144.
 Beeke and Pederson, Meet the Puritans, 460.
 John Owen, Kelly M. Kapic, and Justin Taylor, Overcoming Sin & Temptation (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, 2006), 24.
 Beeke and Pederson, Meet the Puritans, 460–463.
 John Owen, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (Edinburgh ; Carlisle, Pa: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002), 25.
 Owen, Kapic, and Taylor, Overcoming Sin & Temptation, 25.
 John Owen and W. H. Goold, The Works of John Owen (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), VI:3–4.