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Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength Hardcover – May 31, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway; 1 edition (May 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433536838
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433536830
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“If you, like me, struggle with discouragement over your weaknesses, you need to read this book. We all long to be admired for our strengths, yet we all find ourselves, ‘beset with weakness’ (Heb. 5:2). Does this mean we’re stuck living with discouragement? No! There is an escape to joyful freedom. Dr. Packer knows the way. Walking us through 2 Corinthians, he shows it to us so that we, like Paul, can ‘boast all the more gladly of [our] weaknesses.’”
Jon BloomPresident, Desiring God; author, Not by Sight and Things Not Seen

“Even the title of this book flies my heart straight to Jesus, kindling afresh my desire to see him as he is. I’m reminded each day that only God’s strength can sustain and empower me for service, yet I’m tempted to crave worldly strength. Weakness Is the Way emboldens those beset with weaknesses by means of the truth that our human frailty becomes real spiritual strength in and through Christ alone. This is ‘life with Christ our strength.’ How could we ever want to live any other way?”
Gloria Furman, Pastor’s wife, Redeemer Church of Dubai; mother of four; author, Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full  

“I often tell students that biblical ‘wisdom’ is the product of knowledge, time, and experience, all woven together by deep devotion to the living God. Dr. Packer gives us wisdom in this reflection. Weakness in our culture is hidden, denied, rejected, and avoided at all costs. But admitting it and walking in it are indispensible to biblical faith. Dr. Packer wisely alerts us to how the love of money undermines “the way of weakness” in the modern world! He winsomely weaves into this reflection deep and abiding Christian hope. Our culture sells us self-reliance. God says, ‘Rely on me!’ Dr. Packer leads us on this path, and I, for one, am grateful for his wise guidance.”
Michael S. Beates, member of the International Board of Directors with Joni and Friends and the International Disability Center; contributor to Tabletalk magazine and several books focusing on the area of disabilities and Gospel hope

“Dr. Packer has written a wonderful book about 2 Corinthians that illuminates the varied and various connections between the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Christian life; the power of the gospel and the weakness of the Christian; faith and money; and the present and the future. The exposition that this Christian statesman presents is informed first of all by a penetrating interpretation of the text of Scripture and a consistent theological and Christocentric focus, but also by examples from his own rich life and much else, ranging from C. S. Lewis to cartoons and films. Every Christian should read this book.”
Eckhard J. Schnabel, Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; author, Paul the Missionary

“J.I. Packer has unearthed one of the most overlooked and important principles of the New Testament—that the apostle Paul’s strength was in fact his weakness. And still today, only those who stoop through the humble gate of weakness come to know the full strength of Christ. Packer’s incisive exposition is at once a challenge and how-to for finding Christ’s strength in our weakness.”
John S. Dickerson, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, Prescott, Arizona; author, The Great Evangelical Recession

About the Author

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

More About the Author

J.I. Packer currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. An ordained Anglican minister, he hold a D.Phil. from Oxford University. Dr. Packer's many published works include "Rediscovering Holiness, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God," and the best-selling "Knowing God."

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 26 customer reviews
It's a short read with content that will stick to the soul for a quite a long time.
Book Reviewer
This is kind of unfair, though, because I can't really articulate what exactly it was that I was expecting.
Zack Ford
This is a great reminder from J.I. Packer that we must focus on Christ as we are weak.
C. Hennessey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Trent M. Nicholson on May 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute (www.desertbibleinstitute.com).

We, as Americans, are an extremely proud people. Dr. Packer shows in his book Weakness is the Way how only through embracing the reality of our weakness and turning our full need to God can we start to glorify Him and allow change to be worked in ourselves.
The opening of this book is rock solid. Packer gives a detailed definition of weakness with both various biblical allusions and personal anecdotes that make the subject matter come alive for his audience. He uses, primarily, First and Second Corinthians to show the biblical example of God's people dealing with both spiritual and physical weakness. He augments this with a great deal of chapter-and-verse support. He concludes his opening points with his own "gloom and discouragement" in dealing with physical, and then mental, weakness in his own life.
Throughout the book, Packer manages his trademark smooth, conversational style making the whole experience more like having a conversation with a knowledgeable grandfather than a preeminent biblical scholar. Packer offers a clear, didactic structure to his audience. He regularly employs an organization of: definition, explanation (through visual, allusion, or analogy), and application.
He further educates his audience by using strong, descriptive, concise language that forces the audience to expand their vocabulary and understanding of the topic. He shows his audience the respect of leaving the academic bar set high but, unlike many biblical writers, takes the time to explain what he is saying in a way that makes his more complex ideas understandable.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Gunner Gundersen on June 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Based on 2 Corinthians, Weakness Is the Way is a set of seasoned reflections about weakness and the Christian life. Packer first defines and explains weakness (12-21), summing it up as "inadequacy" (13). All types of inadequacies confront humanity: physical weakness, intellectual weakness, personal weakness, positional weakness (status), relational weakness. Further, weakness has many psychological effects, one main effect being the feeling of failure. But the supernatural power of Christ fills those who embrace their finiteness and find strength in him.

In three other chapters, Packer contemplates the Christian's calling (ch. 2), the Christian's giving (ch. 3), and the Christian's hope (ch. 4), all in the context of weakness. Like Paul, the Christian must look to Christ in the gospel, love Christ as the sole motivation for gospel service, and lean on Christ when buffeted by the challenges inherent in that service (50-52).

The first strength of the book is the topic itself: weakness. Like sickness, we don't choose to ponder weakness or talk about weakness until its yoke is upon us. Therefore, proactively sharing biblical reflections on weakness is a gracious ministry from a seasoned saint.

A second strength is the author's condition. This book is best written from a place of weakness, and Packer, by no choice of his own, has achieved that unenvied status. Yet he seems to have grown old graciously, a tribute to the transforming strength of Christ who renews the inner man even as the outer man declines.

However, the book did not meet my high expectations based on Crossway's appetizing promotional video, Packer's reputation for insight and clarity, and the inviting title of the book itself.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thad Bergmeier on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It seems natural to me that the longer you do a job, the more confident you should become in doing it. My father, for instance, is a carpenter. The longer he has worked in that trade, the more confident he has become on how to build things. I could probably guess the same thing could be true of you. The longer you do taxes, the more proficient you becoming in doing them. The longer you clean homes, the more you discover what works and what doesn't. And the list can continue . . . with more experience brings about more confidence.

I find this to be true in many aspects of my life, except the one that is my occupation. As a pastor, I find that with more experience comes more inadequacies. I feel I need to be clear. I am not talking about how to organize a sermon series or plan activities at a church. What I am talking about is the more I seek to impact people for the glory of God, the more I realize how inadequate to do it. Or maybe it would be better stated that with more experience, my inadequacies are magnified.

It is for this reason that a new book by J. I. Packer, Weakness Is the Way, resonated with my heart when I simply read the title. Ministry has exposed my weakness. But according to Packer, and he is simply quoting the Apostle Paul, that is a good thing. It is only in weakness that we learn to live our life with Christ as our strength.

This book finds its contents from Second Corinthians, where Paul had to defend himself against a group of people who did not think much of him. Paul agreed. It was only when he was found to be weak that Christ was powerful. The climax of his argument is found in chapter 12 when he confesses a "thorn in the flesh" had been given to him to keep him humble.
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