Imitation of Christ [Moody Classics Series]

( 36 )


"There is no middle ground; our faith must be passionately focused on Christ, or we become earthbound, caught up with concerns, pleasures, and friends who will inevitably fail us."

Thomas a Kempis was not a haphazard follower of Jesus.  The depth of his masterpiece mirrors the life of a man who did whatever was necessary to imitate his own Savior. 

A Kempis lived as intentionally as he wrote.  We must turn away from the things of this world, we must live ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (23) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $2.99   
  • Used (12) from $1.99   
The Imitation of Christ

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - New Edition)
$5.99 price
(Save 11%)$6.74 List Price

All Available Formats & Editions


"There is no middle ground; our faith must be passionately focused on Christ, or we become earthbound, caught up with concerns, pleasures, and friends who will inevitably fail us."

Thomas a Kempis was not a haphazard follower of Jesus.  The depth of his masterpiece mirrors the life of a man who did whatever was necessary to imitate his own Savior. 

A Kempis lived as intentionally as he wrote.  We must turn away from the things of this world, we must live sacrificially, we must be inundated with Christ's passionate teaching, and we must pray to be removed from distraction.

A classic in every state of the word, The Imitation of Christ places the fruit of one man's single-minded devotion to God's calling on his life within the reach of every reader.  May we all commit to be this effective in our emulation of Jesus. 

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802456533
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Series: Moody Classics Series
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS A'KEMPIS (1380-1471) was a Dutch priest, monk, and writer born in Kempen, Germany. He attended a school near Deventer in Holland. Thomas of Kempen, as he was known at school, was so impressed by his teachers that he decided to live his own life according to their ideals. When he was 19, he entered the monastery of Mount St. Agnes and spent the rest of his long life behind the walls of that monastery. Thomas wrote a number of sermons, letters, hymns, and lives of the saints. The most famous of his works, by far, is The Imitation of Christ, a charming instruction on how to love God. The Imitation of Christ has come to be, after the Bible, the most widely translated book in Christian literature.

DR. ROSALIE DE ROSSET is a professor of Literature, English and Homiletics at Moody Bible Institute where she has been for forty-two years. She earned her M.A. in English from Northeastern Illinois University, M.Div. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Rhetoric from The University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to teaching, she regularly appears on Moody Broadcasting Network programs as a guest and co-host, and speaks at conferences and seminars. She lives on the northside of Chicago.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

The Imitation of Christ



Copyright © 2007 Moody Bible Institute
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8024-5653-3

Chapter One

Of the Imitation of Christ, and Contempt of All the Vanities of the World

* * *

"He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness," saith the Lord. These are the words of Christ, by which we are taught, how we ought to imitate his life and manners, if we will be truly enlightened, and be delivered from all blindness of heart.

Let therefore our chief endeavor be, to meditate upon the life of Jesus Christ.

2. The doctrine of Christ exceedeth all the doctrines of holy men; and he that hath the Spirit, will find therein a hidden manna.

But it falleth out, that many who often hear the gospel of Christ, are yet but little affected, because they lack the spirit of Christ.

But whosoever would fully and feelingly understand the words of Christ, must endeavor to conform his life wholly to the life of Christ.

3. What will it avail thee to dispute profoundly of the Trinity, if thou be lacking in humility, and art thereby displeasing to the Trinity?

Surely high words do not make a man holy and just; but a virtuous life makes him dear to God.

I had rather feel compunction than understand the definition thereof.

If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would all that profit thee without the love of God, and without grace?

Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity, except to love God, and to serve him only.

This is the highest wisdom, by contempt of the world to tend toward the kingdom of heaven.

4. Vanity therefore it is, to seek after perishing riches, and to trust in them.

It is also vanity to hunt after honors, and to climb to high degree.

It is vanity to follow the desires of the flesh, and to labor for that for which thou must afterward suffer more grievous punishment.

Vanity it is, to wish to live long, and to be careless to live well.

It is vanity to mind only this present life, and not to foresee those things which are to come.

It is vanity to set thy love on that which speedily passes away, and not to hasten thither where everlasting joy abides.

5. Call often to mind that proverb that, "The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing."

Endeavor therefore to withdraw thy heart from the love of visible things, and to turn thyself to the invisible.

For they that follow their lusts, do stain their own consciences, and lose the favor of God.

Chapter Two

Of Thinking Humbly of Ourselves

* * *

All men naturally desire to know; but what does knowledge avail without the fear of God?

Surely an humble husbandman that serveth God is better than a proud philosopher that, neglecting himself, laboreth to understand the course of the heavens.

Whoso knoweth himself well, is lowly in his own sight and delighteth not in the praises of men.

If I understood all things in the world, and were not charitable, what would that help me in the sight of God, who will judge me according to my deeds?

2. Cease from an inordinate desire of knowing, for therein is much distraction and deceit.

The learned are well-pleased to seem so to others, and to be accounted wise.

There are many things, which to know is of little or no profit to the soul:

And he is very unwise, that is intent upon other things than those that may serve for his salvation.

Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life comforteth the mind, and a pure conscience giveth great assurance in the sight of God.

3. How much the more thou knowest, and how much the better thou understandest, so much the more severely shalt thou therefore be judged, unless thy life be also more holy.

Be not therefore extolled in thine own mind for any art or science which thou knowest, but rather let the knowledge given thee make thee more humble and cautious.

If thou thinkest that thou understandest and knowest much; know also that there be many things more which thou knowest not.

Do not seem to be overwise, but rather acknowledge, thine own ignorance.

Why wilt thou prefer thyself before others, since there be many more learned, and more skillful in the Scripture than thou art?

If thou wilt know or learn anything profitably, desire to be unknown, and to be little esteemed by man.

4. The highest and most profitable reading is the true knowledge and consideration of ourselves.

It is great wisdom and perfection to esteem ourselves as nothing, and to think always well and highly of others.

If thou shouldest see another openly sin, or commit some heinous offence, yet oughtest thou not to esteem the better of thyself; for thou knowest not how long thou shah be able to remain in good estate.

We are all frail, but thou oughtest to hold none more frail than thyself.

Chapter Three

Of the Doctrine of Truth

* * *

Happy is he whom truth by itself doth teach, not by figures and words that pass away; but as it is in itself.

Our own opinion and our own sense do often deceive us, and they discern but little.

What availeth it to make a great dispute about dark and hidden things; whereas for being ignorant of them we shall not be so much as reproved at the day of judgment?

It is a great folly to neglect the things that are profitable and necessary, and give our minds to that which is curious and hurtful: we have eyes and see not.

2. And what have we to do with genus and species?

He to whom the Eternal Word speaketh, is delivered from a world of unneccessary conceptions.

From that one Word are all things, and all speak that one; and this is the beginning, which also speaketh unto us.

No man without that Word understandeth or judgeth rightly.

He to whom all things are one, he who reduceth all things to one, and seeth all things in one; may enjoy a quiet mind, and remain peaceable in God.

O God, who art the truth, make me one with thee in everlasting charity.

It is tedious to me often to read and hear many things: in thee is all that I would have and can desire.

Let all doctors hold their peace; let all creatures be silent in thy sight; speak thou alone unto me.

3. The more a man is united within himself, and becometh inwardly simple, so much the more and higher things doth he understand without labor; for that he receiveth intellectual light from above.

A pure, sincere, and stable spirit is not distracted, though it be employed in many works; because it works all to the honor of God, and inwardly being still and quiet, seeks not itself in anything it doeth.

Who hinders and troubles thee more than the unmortified affections of thine own heart?

A good and godly man arranges within himself beforehand those things which he is outwardly to act;

Neither do they draw him according to the desires of an evil inclination, but he ordereth them according to the direction of right reason.

Who hath a greater combat than he that laboreth to overcome himself?

This ought to be our endeavor, to conquer ourselves, and daily to wax stronger and to make a further growth in holiness.

4. All perfection in this life hath some imperfection mixed with it; and no knowledge of ours is without some darkness.

An humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than a deep search after learning;

Yet learning is not to be blamed, nor the mere knowledge of anything whatsoever to be disliked, it being good in itself, and ordained by God; but a good conscience and a virtuous life is always to be preferred before it.

But because many endeavor rather to get knowledge than to live well; therefore they are often deceived, and reap either none, or very slender profit.

5. Oh, if men bestowed as much labor in the rooting out of vices, and planting of virtues, as they do in moving of questions, neither would there be so much hurt done, nor so great scandal be given in the world, nor so much looseness be practiced in monasteries.

Truly, at the day of judgment we shall not be examined what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how virtuously we have lived.

Tell me now, where are all those doctors and masters, with whom thou wert well acquainted, while they lived and flourished in learning?

Now others possess their livings and perhaps do scarce ever think of them. In their lifetime they seemed something, but now they are not spoken of.

6. Oh, how quickly doth the glory of the world pass away! Oh, that their life had been answerable to their learning! then had their study and reading been to good purpose.

How many perish by reason of vain learning in this world, who take little care of the serving of God:

And because they rather choose to be great than humble, therefore they become vain in their imaginations.

He is truly great, that is great in charity.

He is truly great that is little in himself, and that maketh no account of any height of honor.

He is truly wise, that accounteth all earthly things as dung, that he may gain Christ.

And he is truly learned, that doeth the will of God, and forsaketh his own will.

Chapter Four

Of Wisdom and Forethought in Our Actions

* * *

We must not give car to every saying or suggestion, but ought with caution and patience to ponder things according to the will of God.

But alas! such is our weakness, that we often rather believe and speak evil of others than good.

Those that are perfect men do not easily give credit to everything one tells them; for they know that human frailty is prone to evil, and likely to fail in words.

2. It is great wisdom not to be rash in thy proceedings, nor to stand stiffly in throe own opinions;

As also not to believe everything which thou hearest, nor presently to relate again to others what thou hast heard or dost believe.

Consult with him that is wise and conscientious and seek to be instructed by a better than thyself, rather than to follow thine own inventions.

A good life maketh a man wise before God, and giveth him experience in many things.

The more humble a man is in himself, and the more subject unto God; so much the more prudent shall he be in all his affairs, and enjoy greater peace and quiet of heart.

Chapter Five

Of the Reading of Holy Scriptures

* * *

Truth, not eloquence, is to be sought for in Holy Scripture.

Each part of the Scripture is to be read with the same spirit in which it was written.

We should rather search after our spiritual profit in the Scriptures, than subtilty of speech.

We ought to read plain and devout books as willingly as high sounding and profound ones.

Let not the authority of the writer offend thee, whether he be of great or small learning; but let the love of pure truth draw thee to read.

Search not who spoke this or that, but mark what is spoken.

2. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever. God speaks unto us in different ways, without respect of persons.

Our own curiosity often hindereth us in reading of the Scriptures, when as we will examine and discuss that which we should rather pass over without more attention.

If thou desire to reap profit, read with humility, simplicity, and faithfulness; nor ever desire the reputation of learning.

Inquire willingly, and hear with silence the words of holy men; dislike not the parables of the elders, for they are not recounted without cause.

Chapter Six

Of Inordinate Affections

* * *

Whensoever a man desireth anything inordinately, he becomes restless in himself.

The proud and covetous call never rest. The poor and humble in spirit live together in all peace.

The man that is not yet perfectly dead to himself, is quickly tempted and overcome in small and trifling things.

The weak in spirit, and he that is yet in a manner carnal and delights in the pleasures of the senses, can hardly withdraw himself altogether from earthly desires:

And therefore he is often afflicted, when he withdraws himself from them, and easily falleth into anger, when any opposition is made against him.

2. And if he hath followed therein his inclination, he is presently disquieted with remorse of conscience; because he yielded to his passion, which profiteth him nothing in obtaining the peace he sought for.

True quietness of heart therefore is gotten by resisting our passions, not by obeying them.

There is then no peace in the heart of a carnal man, nor in him that is addicted to outward things, but in the spiritual and devout man.

CH7[ Of Fleeing From Vain Hope and Pride

* * *

He is vain that putteth his trust in man, or creatures.

Be not ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus Christ; nor to be esteemed poor in this world.

Presume not upon thyself, but place thy hope in God.

Do what lieth in thy power, and God will assist thy good intention.

Trust not in thine own know edge, nor in the subtilty of any living creature; but rather in the grace of God, who helpeth the humble, and humbleth those that are proud.

2. Glory not in wealth if thou have it, nor in friends, who are powerful; but in God who giveth all things, and above all desireth to give thee himself.

Extol not thyself for the height of thy stature or beauty of thy person, which may be disfigured and destroyed with a little sickness.

Take not pleasure in thy natural gifts, or intelligence, lest thereby thou displease God, to whom belongs all the good whatsoever thou hast by nature.

3. Esteem not thyself hotter than others, lest perhaps in the sight of God, who knoweth what is in man, thou be accounted worse than they.

Be not proud of well-doing; for the judgment of God is far different from the judgment of men, and that often offendeth him which pleaseth them.

If there be any good in thee, believe that there is much more in others, that so thou mayest preserve humility within thee.

It is not harmful unto thee to debase thyself under all men; but it is very injurious to thee to prefer thyself before any one man.

The humble enjoy continual peace, but in the heart of the proud is envy, and frequent indignation. ]CH7

CH8[ That Too Much Familiarity Is to Be Shunned

* * *

Lay not thy heart open to every one; but discuss thy affairs with the wise and such as fear God.

Converse not much with young people and strangers.

Flatter not the rich: neither do thou appear willingly before great personages.

Keep company with the humble and plain ones, with the devout and virtuous; and confer with them of those things that may edify. Be not familiar with any woman; but in general commend all good women to God.

Desire to be familiar with God alone and his angels, and avoid the acquaintance of men.

2. We must have charity toward all, but familiarity is not expedient.

Sometimes it happens, that a person unknown to us is much esteemed, from the good report given of him by others; whose presence nevertheless is not pleasing to the eyes of the beholders.

We think sometimes to please others by our company, and we rather offend them with those bad qualities which they discover in us. ]CH8

CH9[ Of Obedience and Subjection

* * *

It is a great thing to live in obedience, to be under a superior, and not to be our own judges.

It is much safer to obey than to govern.

Many live under obedience, rather for necessity than for love; such are discontented, and do easily suffer. Neither can they attain to freedom of mind, unless they willingly and heartily put themselves under obedience for the love of God.

Go whither thou wilt, thou shalt find no rest, but in humble subjection under the government of a superior. The imagination and change of places have deceived many.

2. True it is, that every one willingly cloth that which agreeth with his own tastes; and is apt to esteem those most that are of his own mind;

But if God be among us, we must sometimes cease to adhere to our own opinion for the sake of peace.

Who is so wise that he can fully know all things?

Be not therefore too confident in thine own opinion; but be willing to hear the judgment of others.

It that which thou thinkest is good, and yet thou partest with it for God, and followest the opinion of another, it shall be better for thee.

(Continues...) ]CH9

Excerpted from The Imitation of Christ by THOMAS KEMPIS Copyright © 2007 by Moody Bible Institute. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction  / 13

Admonitions Useful for a Spiritual Life

1. Of the Imitation of Christ, and Contempt of All the Vanities of the World  / 25
2. Of Thinking Humbly of Ourselves  / 28
3. Of the Doctrine of Truth  / 31
4. Of Wisdom and Forethought in Our Actions  / 35
5. Of the Reading of Holy Scriptures   / 37
6. Of Inordinate Affections   / 39
7. Of Fleeing From Vain Hope and Pride  / 41
8. That Too Much Familiarity Is to Be Shunned   / 43
9. Of Obedience and Subjection  /  45
10. Of Avoiding Superfluity in Words  /  47
11. Of the Obtaining of Peace, and Zealous Desire  for Progress in Grace  / 49
12. Of the Profit of Adversity  / 52
13. Of Resisting Temptation  / 54
14. Of Avoiding Rash Judgment  / 58
15. Of Works Done in Charity  / 60
16. Of Bearing With the Defects of Others  / 62
17. Of a Retired Life  / 64
18. Of the Examples of the Holy Fathers  / 66
19. Of the Exercises of a Good Religious Person  / 69
20. Of the Love of Solitude and Silence  / 73
21. Of Compunction of Heart  / 78
22. Of the Consideration of Human Misery  / 81
23. Of Meditation on Death  / 86
24. Of Judgment, and the Punishment of Sinners  / 91
25. Of the Zealous Amendment of Our Whole Life  / 96

Admonitions Tending to Things Internal

1. Of the Inward Life  / 105
2. Of Humble Submission  / 110
3. Of a Good Peaceable Man  / 112
4. Of a Pure Mind, and Simple Intention  / 115
5. Of the Consideration of One's Self  / 117
6. Of the Joy of a Good Conscience  / 119
7. Of the Love of Jesus Above All Things  / 122
8. Of Familiar Converse With Jesus  / 124
9. Of the Want of All Comfort  / 128
10. Of Gratitude for the Grace of God   / 133
11. How Few Are the Lovers of the Cross of Jesus  / 136
12. Of the King's Highway of the Holy Cross  / 139

Of Internal Consolations

1. Of Christ's Speaking Inwardly to the Faithful Soul  / 149
2. That the Truth Speaketh Inwardly Without Noise 
    of Words  / 151
3. That the Words of God Are to Be Heard With
    Humility, and That Many Weigh Them Not  / 153
4. That We Ought to Live in Truth and Humility 
    Before God  / 157
5. Of the Wonderful Effect of Divine Love  / 160
6. Of the Proof of a True Lover of Christ  / 164
7. Of Concealing Grace Under the Guard of Humility  / 168
8. Of a Mean Conceit of Ourselves in the Sight of God  / 172
9. That All Things Are to Be Referred Unto God,
    as Their Last End  / 174
10. That to Despise the World and Serve God Is a 
      Sweet Life  / 176
11. That the Longings and Desires of Our Hearts / 180
Are to Be Exam-ined and Moderated
12. Of the Growth of Patience in the Soul, and of 
      Striving Against Concupiscence  / 182
13. Of the Obedience of One in Humble Subjection,
     After the Example of Jesus Christ  / 185
14. Of the Duty of Considering the Secret Judgments 
      of God, That So We Be Not Lifted Up for Anything
      Good in Us  / 187
15. In Everything Which We Desire, How We Ought   / 190
to Stand Affected, and What We Ought to Say
16. That True Comfort Is to Be Sought in God Alone   / 193
17. That All Our Anxieties Are to Be Placed on God   / 195
18. That Temporal Miseries Must Be Borne Patiently,
      Afterthe Example of Christ  / 197
19. Of the Endurance of Injuries, and of the Proof of
      True Patience  / 200
20. Of the Confession of Our Own Infirmities,
     and of the Miseries of This Life  / 203
21. That We Are to Rest in God Above All Things
      Which Are Good, and Above All His Own Gifts  / 206
22. Of the Remembrance of God's Manifold Benefits  / 210
23. Of Four Things That Bring Much Inward Peace  / 213
24. Of Avoiding Curious Inquiry Into Other Men's
     Lives  / 217
25. Wherein Firm Peace of Heart and True Spiritual 
      Progress Consisteth  / 219
26. Of the Excellence of a Free Mind, Which Is Sooner 
      Gained by Humble Prayer Than by Reading  / 222
27. That It Is Self-Love Which Most Hindereth  
      From the Chiefest Good  / 224
28. Against the Tongues of Slanderers   / 227
29. How We Ought to Call Upon God, and to Bless
      Him, When Tribulation Is Upon Us  / 228
30. Of Craving the Divine Aid, and Confidence of
      Recovering Grace  / 230
31. Of the Contempt of All Creatures, to Find Out the Creator  / 234
32. Of Self-Denial, and Renouncing Every Evil Appetite  / 237
33. Of Inconstancy of Heart, and of Having Our Final 
      Intentions Directed Unto God  / 239
34. That God Is Sweet Above All Things, and in 
      All Things, to Him That Loveth Him  / 241
35. That There Is No Security From Temptation in 
      This Life  / 244
36. Against the Vain Judgments of Men  /  247
37. Of Pure and Entire Resignation of Ourselves, 
      for the Obtaining Freedom of Heart  / 249
38. Of Good Government in Things External,
      and of Having Recourse to God in Dangers  / 252
39. That a Man Should Not Be Fretful in Matters of Business  / 254
40. That Man Hath No Good of Himself,
      Nor Anything in Which He Can Glory  / 256
41. Of the Contempt of All Temporal Honor  /  259
42. That Our Peace Is Not to Be Placed in Men  /  260
43. Against Vain and Secular Knowledge   / 262
44. Of Not Fetching Trouble to Ourselves From Outward Things  / 265
45. That Credit Is Not to Be Given to All, and That Man Is Prone
      to Offend in Words  / 267
46. Of Putting Our Trust in God When Evil Words Arise  / 271
47. That All Grievous Things Are to Be Endured 
      for the Sake of Eternal Life  / 274
48. Of the Day of Eternity and This Life's Straitnesses  / 277
49. Of the Desire of Everlasting Life, and How Great Rewards 
      Are Promised to Those That Strive Resolutely  / 281
50. How a Desolate Person Ought to Offer Himself Into the Hands
      of God  / 286
51. That a Man Ought to Employ Himself in Works of Humility, 
      When Strength Is Wanting for Higher Employments  / 291
52. That a Man Ought Not to Account Himself as Worthy
      of Comfort, but Rather as Deserving of Chastisement  / 293
53. That the Grace of God Doth Not Join Itself With Those
      Who Cherish Earthly Things  / 296
54. Of the Different Motions of Nature and Grace  / 299
55. Of the Corruption of Nature, and of the Efficacy of Divine Grace  / 304
56. That We Ought to Deny Ourselves and Imitate Christ by the Cross  / 308
57. That a Man Should Not Be Too Much Dejected, Even When 
      He Falleth Into Some Defects  / 311
58. That High Matters, and God's Secret Judgments,
      Are Not to Be Narrowly Inquired Into  / 314
59. That All Our Hope and Trust Is to Be Fixed in God Alone  / 320

Concerning the Sacrament
A Devout Exhortation to the Holy Communion

1. With How Great Reverence Christ Ought to Be Received  / 325
2. That the Great Goodness and Love of God Is Exhibited to
    Man in This Sacrament  / 332
3. That It Is Profitable to Communicate Often  / 336
4. That Many Benefits Are Bestowed Upon Them
    That Communicate Devoutly  / 339
5. Of the Dignity of the Sacrament, and of the Ministerial Function  / 343
6. An Inquiry Concerning Spiritual Exercise Before Communion  / 346
7. Of Thoroughly Examining Our Own Conscience,
    and of Holy Purposes of Amendment  / 347
8. Of the Offering of Christ on the Cross, and of Resignation
    of Ourselves  / 350
9. That We Ought to Offer Up Ourselves, and 
    All That Is Ours, Unto God, and to Pray for All  / 352
10. That the Holy Communion Is Not Lightly to Be Forborne  / 355
11. That the Body of Christ and the Holy Scriptures
      Are Most Necessary Unto a Faithful Soul  / 360
12. That He Who Is About to Communicate With
      Christ Ought to Prepare Himself With Great Diligence  / 365
13. That the Devout Soul Ought With the Whole A
      Heart to Seek Union With Christ in the Sacrament  / 368
14. Of the Fervent Desire of Some Devout Persons to Receive
     the Body of Christ  / 371
15. That the Grace of Devotion Is Obtained by Humility and
      Denial of Ourselves  / 373
16. That We Ought to Lay Open Our Necessities to Christ
     and Crave His Grace  / 376
17. Of Fervent Love, and Vehement Desire to Receive Christ  / 378
18. That a Man Should Not Be a Curious Searcher
      Into the Holy Sacrament, but an Humble Follower 
      of Christ, Submitting His Sense to Divine Faith  / 381

To Think About   / 384

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2004

    My favorite edition of this classic

    As Msgr. Ronald Knox once said, if you find 'The Imitation' an 'easy read' then you're probably not getting much out of it. It's a tough book and it took me a long time to appreciate it. But at some point Thomas a Kempis' approach really hit home and became a source of joyful and profound meditation. I've sampled numerous versions of 'The Imitation,' but I prefer the Penguin edition for its readability and scholarliness.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2009


    A very readable translation of a book that is second only to the Bible. Highly recommended!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:


    This book is an incredibly rare gem of spiritual knowledge. It is not just words, but a guide on how to live life spirituality. It shouldn't be left simply as words on a page, but this book should be lived by the reader who is really seeking the spiritual, and they will see these words come alive inside them. I gave this book as Christmas gifts for all those I thought would benefit. My favorite review from a friend was "Thunderous! Its just thunderous!"

    For anyone who feels bound by their anger, guilt, hurt or pain, I also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score." I thought that the book was just about forgiveness, I soon learned, it was about so much more than that. I was about how you should deal with friends, family and yourself and more importantly, how to keep these relationships strong when things go wrong.

    Having read it, I feel like a better person. Maybe because this book spoke to me and not down to me. I have read a lot of books that was written like I didn't know anything. What the author of "When God Stopped Keeping Score" does is talk to you like a friend. I needed that. You will understand why when you read it.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2004

    Touches the Heart

    Simply put, this book changed my life.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    life-changing potential here...

    this book is so spiritual, so motivating, and very inspirational. it is worth the read. if there is anyone out there that wants to see a great book telling you how God wants you to live your life, this is the book, only second to the Bible of course.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 5, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    "Come and Follow Me"

    A beautiful and inspiring guide to living in the Image of Christ. This book is simply structured by specific topics, short entries and scriptural citations. A "must have read" for enriching your prayer life and deepening your relationship with God.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2001

    Translation Comparisons

    I prefer this translation because it is the most penetrating, thought provoking, and most to the point. Comments on the book listed under various translations are not exaggerations. The book is applicable to all ages to all people, even non-Christians. The truths are basic, self-evident, and universal. You have already read or heard much content in other forms, but it is simply much better than anything you have ever read or heard on the myriad of ethical and moral issues. It is founded on basic Christian morality and theology, true, but non-Christians will appreciate and love the words as well. They may be surprised to find that they cherish every word as much (maybe in some cases more) than most Christians, regardless of some theology they do not agree with. I have also reviewed the other most recent translations. The one edited and translated by Joseph N. Tylenda is also well written, and I recommend you purchase both books and compare the two to one another. Keep the Tylenda book for its preface and introduction, and keep this one for the clearer, easier-to-understand content (a matter of taste, which is why you should buy both). This book is small, durable, compact in size and content, and has excellent quality paper. It is also among the least expensive, which has no relationship to its quality; paying more does not necessarily equate to being superior in quality. In my opinion, after comparing, you will buy multiple copies of this compact, maroon book for all your close friends as gifts.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2001

    Buy This Translation, But Compare to Rest First

    This translation is worth buying for its introduction and preface, as well as enjoyable reading. However, BEFORE you buy any translation, you should 1. Read and print the FREE excerpts and comments by others for the other translations. Print with largest type. 2. Compare all excerpts. What you prefer is largely a matter of personal taste. Each has its good points, none have bad points. 3. Buy more than one translation, unless you are positive you like one much more than all the rest. Each has its own strengths. The one I prefer at a particular time depends on my mood, and you probably will be the same. We bought this one and three othes. 4. Think in terms of buying many more later. Sound crazy? You will be wanting to send them to your friends for whatever occasion (don't wait for Christmas), including to non-Christians. Yes, it is Christian oriented, but NO, the content is NOT only for Christians any more than it is only for monks (for which I believe it was originally written). Remember that Ghandi's favorite book was the bible (he was Hindu). You may find yourself sending this book to some friends, and another translation to othes, depending on what you GUESS their tastes are. Make this book (and one or two other translations if you are inclined) a regular activity. Read it, give it to others.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2003

    Beware Penguin translation!

    Comparing the Latin text to the Penguin and Vintage translations, one finds in the 'vanity' section of chapter 1 that the Penguin actually leaves out the first sentence! The Vintage renders it 'It is vanity to seek riches that are sure to perish and put your hope in them.' The Penguin goes straight to the vanity of soliciting/pursuing honors. If the Penguin omits an entire sentence from the 1st paragraph, what else is wrong with it? Yikes. Try the Vintage Spiritual Classics edition (tr. Tylenda).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2005

    Life is a path !!

    This book has helped me learn that no situation in life is permanent just like life itself so we can only be assured of eternal life if we do all things with Christ in mind, even scratching !!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2000

    A Timeless Catholic Classic of the Spiritual Life

    After the Bible this is the all-time favorite book of Catholics world wide, and with good cause. This a truely concise instruction on the spititual life and 'its basic theme is that, since Jesus Christ is true God and true man, by imitating Christ as man, the Christian becomes more and more like Christ who is God.' (Fr. John Hardon, S.J.) If you want to obtain true holiness then this book is a must have for your library!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 1999

    Truly The Best Translation

    Dr. Joseph Tylenda, S.J., Director of the Theology Center at Georgetown University has provided the most excellent translation of this wonderful classic, The Imitation of Christ. Rev. Joseph Tylenda, SJ earned his Doctorate in Rome. But more than this, Joseph Tylenda's work is that of true Christian. I highly recommend his translation. His English translation brings this timeless classic to life. It has a beautiful cover, and makes a great gift. The Scriptures are in cleverly placed in italics with complete Bible references where Thomas A. Kempis used the Scriptures. If you are a reader of Classic Works, this translation is a must. But even if you are not, this translation will truly inspire you. Dr. Joseph Tylenda, S.J. provides the history as well. All of his work is elloquent and reader friendly. He gives complete dates with very well written readable explanations! Very unique. He demonstrates that he is not only a skillful Dr. of Theology, but also a modern genius of English, History, and Latin. All Christians should own a copy of this book which is among the world's most famous devotionals. So when you have the time, take a look for yourself.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2010

    Life transforming!!

    This is a powerful book that will dramatically help bring the Bible to life for you and is the ideal companion to Scripture. If you are a Protestant and enjoy Chambers' Utmost for His Highest, you will really appreciate this devotional that is as timely today as it was in the Fifteenth Century. I just ordered a dozen copies to give to men in my Businessmen's Bible Study.

    BN also has a leather bound bound Wellsprings of Faith that includes Imitation of Christ, The Dark Night of the Soul and The Interior Castle. It is a wonderful volume to own, but is a large (but beautiful) book. The Dover Thrift edition is good for tucking into your briefcase along with your Bible or keeping by the night stand.

    If you are serious about doing God's will rather than your own or man's, then this is a book that will put you on the path to Heavan. If you are serious about your faith and have graduated from the feel-good, sugary, prosperity theology of the day that gives you a quick, brief high, but leaves your spirit weak and unfullfilled, then I highly recommend The Imitation of Christ.

    "There is a great difference between the wisdom of an illuminated and devout man, and the knowledge of a learned and studious clerk. Far more noble is that learning which floweth from above, from the divine out-pouring, than that which is painfully acquired by the wit of man." (Book III, Chapter XXXI) This is a book for those who yearn for devotion and illumination . . . for closeness to their creator and Savior.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book, which inspired John Newton to write Amazing Grace along with the Bible, is the perfect companion to the Bible. God tells us what to do, Kempis helps us know HOW to do it. Though this is a Catholic title, it applies to every Christian in most ways, especially in how to escape the corruption in the world, caused by evil desires..I'm ordering more to give away.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 25, 2014

    A Classic On Meditation

    The Imitation of Christ
    This book is a meditation on Biblical texts. It is an abridged, updated version of the original text first printed in 1472 shortly after Gutenberg's movable type spurred printing. The Nook version "contents" is not a table, it is a long sequence of chapter numbers and titles. This is visually confusing. The chapter titles are links but there are no underlines to identify hyperlinks.
    The Imitation of Christ is divided into three "books." The first book is titled Admonitions Profitable for the Spiritual Life. The second book is Admonitions Concerning the Inner Life and the third book is On Inward Consolation. The "book" are meant to be read together so are more like sections of the whole book.
    The first book, Admonitions Profitable for the Spiritual Life tells us what to leave behind. The beginning of book one is a plea to forsake not only the flesh but also knowledge in order to master the "self." This spiritual concept sets the tone for the whole work. This reminds me of the Eastern philosophy popular during those tumultuous days of the 1960's. As well the Beatles "Magical Mystery Tour" and J. D. Salinger comes to mind.
    The writer, Thomas A. Kempis, says a learned man does the will of God. He notes that the path to God is the way to happiness now and forever. The book is all about how to find God. But some thoughts are quite practical such as "don't be hasty in action or stubborn of opinion."
    An exploration of the "inner life" is the subject of book two, Admonitions Concerning the Inner Life. Using Biblical stories the author explains why we need to be Christ-like. Relevant events and discussions lead the reader through a journey towards inner life. The stories give the reader much to mediate upon.
    The "Inward Consolation," book three, has many brief and contemplative chapters. Again much of the wisdom here is both spiritual and personal. "The wise lover considers not the gift of the lover so much as the love of the giver," may be applied to the sacred or the profane. How timely and Zen-like is, "...people often strive passionately after things they desire, but when they have obtained them they begin to change their mind about them, because their affections toward them are not lasting but rather rush from one thing to another." Sounds like something many of us are experiencing today. Some blame advertising but perhaps we need to raise ourselves above the noise. The Imitation of Christ will help you do it. Mediate on one of the 56 chapters each day for cycle spiritual of learning.
    "Many men have opinions, and therefore little trust is to be placed in them. Moreover it is impossible to please them all." That was written over 500 years ago. Doesn't this sound like good advice today. That is why this gem from the past still sparkles with wisdom today.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011


    The Imitation of Christ is a must read for all the faithful. It should be read slowly, so as to not miss one word. It is second only to the Holy Scriptures and is a book that should be read over and over.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 12, 2011

    a MUST read for anyone living for CHrist

    This book shows me how I truly must live to please my Lord. It is inspiring and made me love my Lord so much more than I ever did. He is all I need - He is my everything. Learn of His Ways and His Love.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010


    Although this book is quite old it is timeless. It discusses scripture and how we are to interpret it. It uses scripture and the way he feels we should be living by it. This book is by dover publishing which gives bargains for their books. You can also find other books about the bible for a very inexpensive price.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2002

    A book of comfort and promise

    I'm not as good with words as some others, but I can say that since I bought this little book there has not been a day that I have not found myself thumbing the pages. This work cuts so close to the imaculate, loving heart of Christ that you can almost hear it beat. The wisdom here is Christian, and Catholic, but the message is so universal it can sway agnostics and even athiests to belief. I have given copies of this book to all of my best friends, and they pass the favor on. There is just something about this text that brings the comfort and promise of Jesus to life in few words. I can only say that the Holy Scriptures is the only volume I have that is more powerful than this book to obtain a feeling for the abiding love of Christ. And, it so inexpensive that you can give them to all the people you love. Give this little book a chance, you will not be disappointed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)