The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas Kempis, is a classic work that has inspired many for centuries. James Watkins set out to edit the title to bring it to a modern generation with a modern English rendering of the title. The original title has been so popular, in fact, that it is second is sales only to the Bible itself.
This devotional read discusses imitating Christ in every way, including his character (loving, teachable, wise, trusting, obedient, self-sacrificing, humble, gracious, forgiving, patient, peaceful, pure, disciplined, self-controlled, and eternally minded). Like most other devotional works, this book sets out to examine differnet attributes of G-d in the goal of leading the reader to emulate these attributes in their own lives and become more Christ-like. Or did the other titles copy this one, if this is the earliest edition?
There are plenty of books on the topic, one for every person it would seem. For those who enjoy classical works, this book is a great selection. Imagine being able to read and understand Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet with a modern translation of the text. As those titles would be praised in academia, so this title is undoubtedly praised in the religious setting. As a foundational read that has inspired devotional titles of the past five hundred years, its impact is easy to see.
Personally, this book isn’t for me. I am not a fan of classic works. My favorite devotional read that covers much of the same content is a more modern title, but it is no doubt based heavily on this work. My favorite Shakespeare is Leonardio DiCaprio’s performance, if you get what I mean. Despite my personal aversion to the style, however, this book is one that is written well and would give A. W. Tozer a run for his money…
Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.