Book Review: Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial

Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial. Copyright 2012 Chapel Library, Pensacola Florida. 22 pages.

About the Publisher

Chapel Library is a treasure trove of resources for the Christian who wants to learn historic theology and be connected to our brothers and sisters of the faith who have gone before us. Their ministry model where they give resources away is worthy of every Christian’s financial support that they may continue to do so.

From their website:

Our purpose is to humble the pride of man, to exalt the grace of God in salvation, and to promote real holiness in heart and life, by sending Christ-centered materials from prior centuries worldwide without charge.

They have hundreds of tracts, booklets, and even books available to read free of charge online or have mailed directly to you! In a world where Christian “businesses” everywhere are fighting for your dollar, a ministry that is freely giving away what God has freely given us is refreshing.


This 22-page booklet is a brief inspection into the short life of Ann Judson, wife of well-known missionary Adoniram Judson. As we consider some of the Christians in the past who have accomplished great things, it is important to remember that none of them ever truly worked alone. There are countless Christians in history whose names we will never know in this life. And there are still other names such as Ann Judson, whose significant role in the life of her husband played a major contributing factor in his translation of the Bible for the Burmese heathen who have been reached with the gospel and granted new life.


Click the photo to open the book.

Ann Judson’s life began in the United States in an environment of relative privilege. She is described as highly intelligent and cheerful—always the center of attention at social events. She lived a life of self-indulgence although raised in the church and taught a pattern of prayer.

But her self-indulgence was used for her own conviction when she encountered 1 Timothy 5:6 “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” The reading of Scripture, combined with The Pilgrim’s Progress and the story of David Brainerd, lead her to become soundly converted and committed to Christ around the age of 16.

Prospective Missionary, Adoniram Judson found eyes for her and wrote to ask her parents:

…whether you can consent to part with your daughter … to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure for a heathen land and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life … every kind of want … and perhaps a violent death?

Ann’s parents left it to her to choose and she, of course, chose a life of self-denial and marriage to Adoniram along with all that would entail. His depiction of their future life could not have been more accurate.

The Self-Denial of Ann Judson

Miscarriages, death of friends, disease, and loneliness due to her husband’s imprisonment were constant companions of young Ann. But her resolve is seen throughout. “She said that if she had learned anything … it was an increasing knowledge of her unspeakably wicked heart.”

What an inspiring example of the proper Christian response to suffering. May our current comfort-addicted culture take a note from the saints of old. In contrast to the self-indulgence which characterized her life up to her conversion, her Christian life truly embodied taking up a cross daily and denying herself.

I really want you to order this booklet from Chapel Library (or read it online at that link), so I won’t give too many more details about her life here. I can only say that if you are not humbled by her attitude and spirit, then you may need to re-evaluate the way you see your life.


Chapel Library’s booklet, Ann Judson: A Life of Self-Denial is the perfect length. It gives just enough information to make someone interested in reading a larger work about this dear saint, yet also gain an appreciation for Ann and learn from her life without a large investment.

Highly recommended!


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