Monday, July 11, 2016

BookPastor >> "Daily Readings from The Christian in Complete Armour"

This review was first published on Feb 8th, 2016 at Panorama of a Book Saint.


TITLE: Daily Readings from The Christian in Complete Armour: Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare
AUTHOR: William Gurnall
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1994, (384 pages).

The book, "The Christian in Complete Armour" is widely considered a classic when it was first published in the 17th Century. It was published in three volumes (1655, 1658, and 1662) by William Gurnall, a Puritan and English clergyman.  Widely considered as one of the best Christian books published in the English language, it can be obtained for free here. As the title suggests, this book is basically a treatise about the saints of God warring against the devil. John Newton calls this book the second book to be read besides the Bible. Charles Spurgeon even said that "every line is full of wisdom; every sentence is suggestive." While the original came in three separate volumes, James S. Bell Jr. has chosen selected portions to be used in this 365-days devotional.

It is a book written to encourage spiritual growth. One reason why some believers fail to grow is because of their lack of awareness about the reality of spiritual warfare. It is one thing to profess one's belief but yet another to proclaim of God boldly and without reservation. Like the call to courage, before he talks about being bold, he points out the need to be bold on our inside first. If we prefer the "bondage of Egypt," how can we learn to claim the promise of God? We are reminded of what it means to be a child of God. As children of the King, surely there is not simply the promise of an inheritance in heaven but a vigour in living on earth. We serve God not like spiritual wimps but gallant soldiers in Christ. Our true strength is in God and that comes forth as a counter to humanism. If we do not check that, we would be trusting in our own strength rather than God's. Gurnall's volumes began with a quote from Ephesians 6:10-20 that sets the tone of his books. Unlike Gurnall's originals, this particular daily readings are not primed at exposition of the armour of God but as short "soul-searching reflections" of God's power on the individual believer.

Each day, there is a date, a title, a quotation or a Bible verse, followed by a 1-page excerpt from Gurnall's original. In our Internet age, we have learned to skim web pages, send texts or tweets not exceeding 140 characters; and brisk through ebooks without necessarily taking time to pause and to reflect on what we have read. This is where this devotional is particularly helpful. By keeping the daily devotional a brief one-pager, with concise titles and a brief summary of the main idea, readers would find this devotional brief enough to read, insightful enough to ponder, convicting enough to pause, and challenging enough to apply. The single biggest idea in William Gurnall's original is that spiritual growth and spiritual warfare are interconnected. One cannot truly grow without the armour of God. One cannot fight without being aware that we are in a raging war.

There are lots of applications in this book. There are calls for us to take note of our spiritual sins; to beware of evil around us; to be assured in Christ; to be encouraged that any storm is temporal; to be sensitive when God uses our consciences to speak to us; to take confidence not in our flesh but in God alone. We are to be on our guard against temptations and all the subtle influences of evil. If Gurnall's classic work is an alarm clock to wake up the sleepy and complacent soul, this book of 365 readings provides a daily chime to help us start a brand new day afresh and spiritually aware that we are not alone. God is always with us. With God, nothing that is against us will ever stand. Blessed is the one who wears his armour of God regularly. If you are considering buying a gift, this book is a strong recommendation.

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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