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on November 14, 2008
"I love pregnant brevity, and some of my material is, I know, packed tight (Packer by name, packer by nature). I ask my readers' pardon if they find obscurity due to my over-indulging this love of mine" (from the Foreword, by J.I. Packer)

Packer wastes no words in this concise treatment of key biblical themes. Don't let his genuine modesty fool you, though; there is no obscurity to pardon in this excellent little book. Unfortunately, some of the best books Inter-Varsity Press ever published went out of print years ago. Such was the fate of Packer's book "God's Words," originally published by IVP in 1981. I'm thankful that it's been reissued now by Christian Focus.

Any good Bible student knows that word studies can be misleading and dangerous. If you're familiar with Packer's writing, it should come as no surprise that he avoids those pitfalls. The book is worth buying for the introduction alone, where Packer lays out key principles for any profitable word study.

The 18 words he examines in this book are: Death, Devil, Election, Faith, Fellowship, Grace, Holiness, Justification, Lord, Mediator, Mortification, Reconciliation, Regeneration, Revelation, Sanctification, Scripture, Sin, and World.

The introduction closes with Packer's clearly stated intention in writing: "I hope that the following sketches of biblical themes (they are no more) will subserve the Spirit's double purpose of constantly leading us to love and adore the Christ of the Scriptures, and to amend our lives by their light. I have no interest in any study of biblical material that does not seek these biblical ends."

Clearly, this is no mere academic exercise. Prepare to amend your life.
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on February 24, 2013
In print since 1981, 18 WORDS (originally titled GOD'S WORDS) is theologian James Packer's attempt to demonstrate how to do words studies from the Bible. Since the publishing of Kittel's THEOLOGICAL DICTIONARY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (Eerdmans) to Colin Brown's NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT THEOLOGY
(Zondervan), Bible scholars have been writing about the words of the Bible and their meaning. Dr. Packer demonstrates how to do a word study and takes 18 important words from the Bible and takes the reader through both testaments to demonstrate what each word means in the inspired Word of God.

If I had the power, I would require each Protestant pastor and seminary student to master this volume and keep it near at hand when preparing sermons to check one's theology. It is that good.

Pastor Steve Martin.
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on June 27, 2014
Words are powerful. It is by Gods word that rose Lazarus from the dead. It was a word that created nothing into everything we see. It is by the word that we can know our creator. J.I. Packer goes into great detail in the doctrine of these 18 words that are transforming and the life of the Christian. These 18 words will stir your heart to respond to Gods truth or Be indifferent. Election is one that is most misunderstood. We can easily understate or overstate election. It is very sad to me that election is not taught from the pulpit. The chapter on Election is balanced and valuable to the Christian as it will humble and cause an urgency in your walk. Another one that is hardly spoken from the pulpit is the mortification of sin. It is obvious that it is not being taught and taken to heart with the condition of the church. Each chapter gives you the why, the what and the who
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on April 15, 2012
18 Words a collection of essays on keywords from the Bible, words like scripture, the devil, reconciliation, and holiness. That descriptions makes it sound like a book of word studies, but it isn't quite, at least not in the way we usually think of word studies. Rather, 18 Words looks at biblical words not as mere words, but as pointers to biblical themes with the purpose of "spelling out the gospel which is the Bible's central message." It's one way, and an effective one, to get at the core of true Christianity.

I'd not heard of this book, not as God's Words or 18 Words, before I saw it at Amazon and decided to order it.1 It isn't as well-known as Packer's classic Knowing God and that's too bad, because it's similar in quality, style and value, full of sentences and paragraphs to underline, or quotes and clever phrases to remember. Now that I think about it, I'd say it would make a perfect companion for Knowing God, with Knowing God expounding who God is, and 18 Words explaining the biblical themes that ultimately point us to Christ. Together they'd make an excellent two volume Christian Doctrine 101.
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on December 3, 2009
Much of the "Best-Selling" Christian literature is 1. easy to read 2. very uplifting 3. lacking scripture references.

It is time however that these casual reads have a bit more substance, particularly in the scripture department. That is precisely what J.I.Packer has done in 18 Words. Packer's scripture references bring a whole new light to what he has to say. To read one's thoughts on matters with no specification of basis can be frustrating. Packer fortunately backs up what he has to say with a lot of scripture.

Compared to a lot of off the shelf Christian literature 18 Words feels like a brief Theological Study. No beating around the bush, Packer is upfront and unafraid. No book can delve into all corners of Chrisitanity but Packer manages in this little gem to look under the rugs many "top-shelf" Christian literature does not.

If you are beginning to dig deeper into your faith then delve into this book. You may not agree with everything written but you will ask questions and will search yourself.
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on October 24, 2015
I was already a huge fan of J,I, Packer and this book has done nothing but increase my admiration and love for his writing. Each of the 18 words is dealt with in a manageable section (6-8 pgs). Now of course 6-8 pages of Packer is equivalent to 20 of most authors. He does not waste words - his writing is dense, thought-provoking, and most certainly requires focus to absorb all he has to offer. A quote from his own foreword of this book states, " I love pregnant brevity, and some of my material is, I know, packed tight (Packer by name, packer by nature)...."

But it is a great book to keep in your purse or car for times when you will be playing the waiting game. Doctors offices, meetings, airports, etc. Bring a highlighter though - you will want to revisit this book often. Rest assured that J.I. Packer is not one of those authors that leaves the Bible by the wayside while he goes off on tangents and stories. He sticks to the point, develops it and cites Scripture without. An excerpt from the aforementioned foreword: "Biblical references in the studies themselves are not, however, skippable; they are part of the argument, and are meant to be looked up."

This may not be the best book for a brand new Christian, lest they be the diligent, studious type; it is however a book that I would say is a must read for every faithful Christian due to thorough handling of 18 Words that encompass a significant understanding of the Christian faith (faith being one of the words as well :-)

Below are (2) brief excerpts:
**regeneration, pg. 144** - <quote> Since the seventeenth century, Reformed theologians have tended to distinguish between regeneration and new birth.They defined regeneration as the first act of God instilling spiritual life into dead souls, below the level of consciousness; and they understood the new birth as the first conscious manifestations of that life in new spiritual apprehension, affections, and acts - the initial exercises of faith and repentance. On the basis of this narrowed definition, they have insisted strongly that regeneration must be related to faith as cause to effect. Deny this, they say, and you deny faith to be a gift of God's grace; and what youa re saying then is that man is his own savior, inasmuch as his faith is the decisive factor in his salvation and now becomes "all his own work'. <end quote>

**election, pg 155** - <quote>The very idea of election implies that some are not elected. God discriminates; He selects some, not all. Out of the nations, He chose only Israel (Amos 3:2, Psalm 147:20). Out of Israel after the flesh, salvation in Christ was enjoyed only by a remnant 'according to the election of grace': 'the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened' (Romans 11:5,7). Speaking of His elect at Corinth, whom He purposed to bring to faith through Paul's preaching, Christ told Paul in a vision, 'I have many people in this city' (Acts 18:10), but this did not mean the whole population (cf. 1 Corin 1:26-29). Part of the mystery of election is that God never appears to have chosen all whom He might have chosen. Thus He impresses upon us that His choice is absolutely free, and teaches us to value the grace that has come to us personally. <end quote>

Amen and amen!
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on January 29, 2013
"I love pregnant brevity, and some of my material is, I know, packed tight (Packer by name, packer by nature). I ask my readers' pardon if they find obscurity due to my over-indulging this love of mine" (from the Foreword, by J.I. Packer)

Packer wastes no words in this concise treatment of key biblical themes. Don't let his genuine modesty fool you, though; there is no obscurity to pardon in this excellent little book. Unfortunately, some of the best books Inter-Varsity Press ever published went out of print years ago. Such was the fate of Packer's book "God's Words," originally published by IVP in 1981. I'm thankful that it's been reissued now by Christian Focus.

Any good Bible student knows that word studies can be misleading and dangerous. If you're familiar with Packer's writing, it should come as no surprise that he avoids those pitfalls. The book is worth buying for the introduction alone, where Packer lays out key principles for any profitable word study.

The 18 words he examines in this book are: Death, Devil, Election, Faith, Fellowship, Grace, Holiness, Justification, Lord, Mediator, Mortification, Reconciliation, Regeneration, Revelation, Sanctification, Scripture, Sin, and World.

The introduction closes with Packer's clearly stated intention in writing: "I hope that the following sketches of biblical themes (they are no more) will subserve the Spirit's double purpose of constantly leading us to love and adore the Christ of the Scriptures, and to amend our lives by their light. I have no interest in any study of biblical material that does not seek these biblical ends."

Clearly, this is no mere academic exercise. Prepare to amend your life.
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on February 25, 2015
This is a small book with important Christian terms defined that a teen or adult Christian should know. The terms are clearly explained and enough information is included to provide an oppourtunity for followers to discuss further.
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on December 22, 2013
Packer provides solid summaries of important Christian doctrines like redemption, death and election. I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to know more about doctrines taught in the Bible.
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on August 1, 2014
Dr. Packer is a humble and transparent man who speaks truth clearly and concisely. He wasn't selected to edit the English Standard Version Bible for no reason! He uses words well and leaves the reader understanding more fully the impact of each one. This is another book to lead the Christian faith into the future.
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