Book Reviews

Book Review – Imitation of Christ

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Obtain a Kindle copy here:
The Imitation of Christ (Penguin Classics)

In this antiquated collection of essays by a 15th century monastic, there’s a seriousness in pursuing Christlikeness that is lacking in some contemporary Christian titles. John Wesley considered this to be the best summary of Christian life he had ever read.

Instead of focusing on an elementary level of self-improvement, Kempis wrote in depth that the reality of a Christian life is to imitate Christ with utmost authenticity and with every effort possible. So hard and raw is the truth that I feel a reader is most benefited to take down this book in smaller sections, not moving on quickly but to dwell on the contents prayerfully.

Thus I have not completely finished this book, as I feel this book is worth re-reading again at a much slower rate in order to grasp its fuller meanings. It currently sits on my desk so I could read a chapter from it from time to time.

There are a lot of biblical truth spilled over the pages of this little gem.

Kempis quoted scriptures fluently and amalgamated them into his sentences very naturally, given that one of his monastic duties is hand-copying scriptures, this should not come as a surprise.

One thing I appreciate in this book is his passionate longing for holiness and eternity, and a godly hatred towards sin and fleshly desires. Kempis urges the reader to see suffering in this life is brief and finite comparing to the eternal glory if we persevere. He also strongly rejected idleness and encouraged community servicing wherever possible.

I love how Kempis wrote down his personal reflections and prayers, his inner struggles and reflections are I believe a benefiting spiritual discipline to be exercised.

However I’d like to advise the readers to be conscious of the asceticism expressed, though this is not unexpected from a catholic monk during his time.

There are some Catholic views on the concept of purgation, which is not found in the Bible.

Therefore I tend to think some solid foundation of faith needs to be established before reading this work. Nevertheless, the depth of thinking and admiration to God that Kempis presented has been proved influential and timeless, thus made it a worthwhile reading.

Obtain a Kindle copy here:
The Imitation of Christ (Penguin Classics)


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