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Knowing God by J. I. Packer

Knowing God (original 1973; edition 1993)

by J. I. Packer

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Title:Knowing God
Authors:J. I. Packer
Info:IVP Books (1993), Edition: 20th Anniversary Edition, Hardcover, 312 pages
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Knowing God by J. I. Packer (1973)


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I initially bought and read Knowing God almost 35 years ago. I was a new Christian, young and ignorant; but as is true of many young people, I had no idea just how ignorant I really was.

I don't think I can adequately express how thankful I am for Packer's book. It was a Godsend to me. It taught me not simply how to approach theology, but how to approach God himself. It shaped my heart and my mind in ways that I'm certain saved me from making even more mistakes than I did in my exuberant, youthful ignorance.

We do ourselves a tremendous disservice, and our souls incalculable damage, if we casually dismiss the study of God. Or, as Packer put it in chapter one:

"Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul."

Another thing I realized was that theology was a two-edged sword--having on the one hand immense value, and on the other potentially damning dangers. Packer went on to issue a warning in that first chapter that probably needs to be trumpeted more often (and more loudly) than it is.

"If we pursue theological knowledge for its own sake, it is bound to go bad on us. It will make us proud and conceited. The very greatness of the subject matter will intoxicate us, and we shall come to think of ourselves as a cut above other Christians because of our interest in it and grasp of it; and we shall look down on those whose theological ideas seem to us crude and inadequate and dismiss them as very poor specimens. For, as Paul told the conceited Corinthians, "Knowledge puffs up.... The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know" (1 Cor 8:1-2).

"To be preoccupied with getting theological knowledge as an end in itself, to approach Bible study with no higher a motive than a desire to know all the answers, is the direct route to a state of self-satisfied self-deception."

By the grace of God my goal is to do everything in my power to avoid self-satisfied self-deception. I know I haven't always succeeded, but I have no intention of giving up the fight.

Those are just a few of the reasons that I'm thankful for Knowing God. If I could make it required reading for every new Christian, I would. ( )
  blw777 | Oct 25, 2016 |
  StPaulsChurch | Jul 19, 2016 |
Very helpful.
  david__clifford | Feb 3, 2016 |
Going to read with my small group on Sunday mornings, 10:30. Anyone can join us! ( )
  Graceenough | Jul 12, 2015 |
Life changer. I had a sensation in Ch 3 or 4 that I was drilling a well into 500 feet of rock, way down, and had just struck the most amazing water ever. After Packer, God is not small anymore. ( )
  ted_newell | Jun 20, 2015 |
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On January 7th, 1855, the minister of New York Park Street Chapel, Southwark, opened his morning sermon as follows: It has been said by someone that 'the proper study of mankind is man.'
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 083081650X, Paperback)

A lifelong pursuit of knowing God should embody the Christian's existence. According to eminent theologian J.I. Packer, however, Christians have become enchanted by modern skepticism and have joined the "gigantic conspiracy of misdirection" by failing to put first things first. Knowing God aims to redirect our attention to the simple, deep truth that to know God is to love His Word. What began as a number of consecutive articles angled for "honest, no-nonsense readers who were fed up with facile Christian verbiage" in 1973, Knowing God has become a contemporary classic by creating "small studies out of great subjects." Each chapter is so specific in focus (covering topics such as the trinity, election, God's wrath, and God's sovereignty), that each succeeding chapter's theology seems to rival the next, until one's mind is so expanded that one's entire view of God has changed. Author Elizabeth Eliot wrote that amid the lofty content Packer "puts the hay where the sheep can reach it--plainly shows us ordinary folks what it means to know God." Having rescued us from the individual hunches of our ultra-tolerant theological age, Packer points the reader to the true character of God with his theological competence and compassionate heart. The lazy and faint-hearted should be warned about this timeless work--God is magnified, the sinner is humbled, and the saint encouraged. --Jill Heatherly

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:01 -0400)

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This book will aid you in actually knowing God, in building our relationship with Him, in drawing us closer to Him in love and worship.

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