The Mystery of Providence: John Flavel

5 Apr

The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel

A thorough overview of teachings about Providence that will be of great benefit to the Christian life. With thoroughness and practicality Flavel tells us about the work God’s does in our lives and the advantages of meditating on these works for our prayer lives. Highly recommended to those established in the Christian faith. (click “Read the rest of this entry” for a longer review).

The Argument of the Book

Flavel argues that all the events of our lives are administered by providence, the hand of God in the world. The book is split into three parts. In the first he proves the existence of providence and the effect it has on the lives of Christians. Secondly, he discusses the discipline of meditating on providences, how to do it and the advantages thereof. Finally, he explains how Christians should live their lives in light of God’s providence over creation.

Primary Audience & Purpose

This book was written originally for people from the 17th Century. It is written to the lay Christian to encourage him or her to think about the effect providence has had on their lives.

Literary Features of the Book

This edition has updated the language of Flavel. I found it quite fluid, and I assume that the text was not changed all that greatly. It should be reasonably easy to read. Flavel also structures the book in a really helpful way, giving three parts, chapters and question headings to break up the text. It should be easy to follow his argument.

Is it Biblical?

A lot of Flavel’s assertions are based on the Psalms, which he views as meditations on providence. He also illustrates providence from other parts of the Bible. There were no parts where I felt it misquoted, however it should be noted this is not a systematic exposition of every text on Providence but rather is focused on how the truth applies to our lives.

Does it Apply Truth?

This book gives really helpful application to your relationship with Christ. I remember starting reading this and thinking a treatise on Providence wouldn’t be much help for my Christian walk. I was wrong, this is an immensely practical book.

Is it Christ centred?

Yes but not explicitly. Flavel obviously depends on Christ’s work, but as his main focus is providence he tends not to make explicit links. This should not put the experienced reader off, however those who are young in the faith or unbelievers may not find it easy to link back to the core truths about Christ. (Buy it UK)

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