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Book Review


  The Imitation of Christ

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Image: Drawing of Thomas a Kempis.

Thomas Kempis

1379 or 1380-1471

 Author of The Imitation of Christ; Thomas was an Augustinian Monk, and a Disciple of Gerard Groot.  Thomas was a member of Groot's Brethren of the Common Life, and a proponent of Groot's teachings, called The Devotio Moderna, of which The Imitation of Christ is the best example.  

A more detailed and in-depth look at the life of Thomas Kempis may be found on our page: Favorite Monks: Thomas Kempis. __________________

The Imitation of Christ:

Preface by Sally Cunneen.

Edited and translated by Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.  

1984, 1998 by Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J.  

Published by Vintage Spiritual Classics., Random House, Inc. __________________

This is a modern language version of The Imitation of Christ There are many other older versions (using "thee" and "thou") and other modern and even modern paraphrase versions. __________________

Tell others about Jesus like Thomas Kempis did:

Though not all Christians are called to the ministry of Christian Teacher, we are all called by God to share our faith (witness) with those who are not Christians.  Some Bible verses that you will find helpful for doing this, and that you may want to commit to memory are found on other pages on our  web site (see: Memory Verses; 2nd Set: Salvation!, Plan of Salvation, and Statement of Faith). _________________

Author: Thomas Kempis

"The religious who meditates devoutly on the most holy life and passion of our Lord will find all that he needs to make his life worthwhile. 

 In fact, he has no need to go beyond Jesus,  for he will discover nothing better.  

If Jesus Crucified would come into our hearts, how quickly and perfectly we would be instructed in the spiritual life."

-Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Book I: Chapter 25)

Meditation on the Spiritual Life

Only the Bible has been more influential as a source of Christian devotional reading than The Imitation of Christ.  This meditation on the spiritual life...written by the Augustinian monk Thomas Kempis between 1420 and 1427, contains clear instructions for renouncing worldly vanities and locating eternal truths.  No book has more explicitly and movingly described the Christian ideal, "My son, to the degree that you can leave yourself behind, to that degree will you be able to enter into me." 

(-From the Book's Back Cover) ______________________________

Excerpted below are the opening sentences of

Kempis' The Imitation of Christ:

Chapter 1

The Imitation of Christ and Contempt for the Vanities of the World

"Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness," says the Lord.  These are Christ's own words by which He exhorts us to imitate His life and His ways, if we truly desire to be enlightened and free of all blindness of heart.  Let it then be our main concern to meditate on the life of Jesus Christ... ______________________________

For Further Reference:

Have you received Christ as your Lord and Saviour?

Find out how to do so on our page:

Plan of Salvation ________________________________________

See Also:




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Image: Front Cover of the Book, "The Imitation of Christ."  Cover Design: John Gall.  Cover Art (top) Scala/Art Resource NY; (bottom) Erich Lessing/Art Resource NY

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Our Comments:

The Imitation of Christ

is indeed a unique book.  It has been printed into more copies than any book except the Bible (with the possible exception of
John Bunyan's classic work: Pilgrim's Progress  ---the third most popular Christian Book of all time is Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest).  Written by a monk, it is loved equally by both Roman Catholics and Protestants.  Ignatius Loyola read a chapter from it every day.  It was said that Pope John Paul I was reading it just before he died.  Yet at the same time, no less an Evangelical Protestant than Billy Graham has said that it is his favorite book after the Bible. 

How can this be?  Thomas Kempis in this book talks almost solely about Jesus, and the importance of putting Christ first in the spiritual life of the believer.  How to grow in Christ is the theme of this book.  It is not an intellectual study, it is a book of the heart.  We love this book, and highly recommend it as an aid to any Christian's spiritual growth.

-The Prayer Foundation Monks ______________________________

Copyright 2002 S.G.P. All rights reserved. 

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