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Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs Paperback – February 1, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

How can I know God better?
"If only I had the time to study theology. . . ."
If only someone could explain the essentials of theology in bite-sized portions. If only there were a resource that went deeper without drowning the reader in page after page. J. I. Packer has done it!

Finally, there's a book that explains the essentials of theology in a style and length that busy readers can appreciate. J. I. Packer, noted theologian and author of Knowing God, offers 94 concise studies. Each focuses on our great God and his wonderful plan for us.

Where does the Bible say that?

Each study is just a couple of pages long. That means you can find the answers you need quickly. But don't be fooled--there are plenty of Scripture references on every page. You can go as deep as you want at the pace you want. Short studies on the essentials. In these chapters, you'll find what Packer calls the "permanent essentials of Christianity." The essentials are summarized so that you can find them quickly and easily. The essentials are expressed in such a way that you can both understand and appreciate the greatness of God. So jump right in. Discover for yourself how Christian theology is not just a system of beliefs, but a way of life.

About the Author

J. I. Packer, considered one of the most influential Evangelicals in North America, is the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. His many books include" Knowing God" and "Keep in Step with the Spirit".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0842339604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842339605
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is well suited for individual or small group study (I have done both). It has about 90 short chapters (2-4 pages each) of essential Christian doctrines, and is written from a Reformed perspective. Packer's writing style is straightforward, concise, and intended to be read by anyone. He includes numerous scripture references to support each of the doctrines, and I have found it useful to read a chapter and then spend up to an hour reading all of the related scripture references.
Sample topics include: Revelation (Scripture is the Word of God), Predestination (God has a purpose), Trinity (God is one and three), Holiness (God is Light), Conscience (God teaches and cleanses the heart), Incarnation, Virgin Birth, Repentance, Elders, Lord's Supper, Marriage, the Family, Second Coming, Heaven, Hell and many others.
Again, each chapter emphasizes why the doctrine is important for us to know - e.g., what difference it should make in our life. This book is wonde! rful for strengthening your faith and beliefs - helping you know why you believe what you believe, always based on the Bible.
May God bless you through this work as much as He has blessed me.....
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Format: Hardcover
J.I. Packer, who wrote such essential works as "Knowing God" and "Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God", is wonderfully qualified to bring us this special little (267 pages) book, which in the words of Westminster Seminary professor Sinclair B. Ferguson "will serve equally well as an introduction to doctrine, a manual of theological terms, or a devotional study" (to which one might only add that it serves as a wonderful text for a group study as well).
The book is divided into 4 main sections, specifically "God Revealed as Creator," "God Revealed as Redeemer," "God Revealed as Lord of Grace," and "God Revealed as Lord of Destiny." These broad divisions are then subdivided into almost 100 short (2-4 pages) chapters, with topics ranging from "The Fall" to "The State". Not exactly a catechism, it is excellent medicine for a catechism-starved world, where vast numbers of Christians would have enormous difficultly even defining many of the most basic terms -- not to mention the most essential doctrines -- of our faith.
Finally, for those unfamiliar with Packer, he is Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a senior editor of Christianity Today. He holds the D.Phil. from Oxford University, and is one of the world's most prominent Reformed theologians.
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Format: Paperback
Many people like to pick up a book, read a couple of pages, and think about it. While upholding all of the wonderful things said in previous reviews, I would also like to add that this book is perfect for those who enjoy short readings. All of the major doctrines of the Christian faith are summarized and excellently presented in small chapters or sections of just a few pages. I went through this book in about a year and fully enjoyed it. In my opinion this book treats much of the same material found in "Knowing God" but in a more didactic, outlined manner. It is also a great quick reference of cardinal doctrinal points. It is condensed truth.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Concise Theology by J.I. Packer could be considered a miniature systematic theology. The four general sections of the book are set forth as follows:

(1) God Revealed as Creator

(2) God Revealed as Redeemer

(3) God Revealed as Lord of Grace

(4) God Revealed as Lord of Destiny

Each section contains a short, but extremely pointed summary of a particular doctrine. The book is not designed to be a comprehensive systematic theology. Rather it is written with the layman in mind who has a desire to learn doctrinal truth or may not have the time to devote to a larger work. The precision with which this book is written may encourage readers to study further in a given area.

J.I. Packer continues to write in a way that many have grown to love and expect. Three basic strengths must be noted. First, the author emphasizes the greatness and majesty of God. Packer emphasizes that "theology is for doxology." He writes, "The truest expression of trust in a great God will always be worship, and it will always be proper worship to praise God for being far greater than we can know." Second, Concise Theology is a superb introduction to Reformed thought. Yet the author does not "wear his theology on his sleeve." This work may appeal to a broad range of people who otherwise may be reluctant to study Reformed theology. Finally, the most controversial points of Reformed theology are dealt with in an honest and forthright manner. The most engaging essays include Packer's discussion on particular redemption, the enslaved will, effectual calling, and the constitution of man.

The church owes a tremendous debt to Dr. Packer's faithful ministry over the years. May his tribe increase!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read Concise Theology several years ago to help me understand basic theology as I studied Scripture and other materials. I used it as a tool to help in whatever study I was involved in at the time. However, not until I used it as a devotional study: taking a section and reading it through, then going back to highlight the major points, next going through the section again to read all the scriptures referenced, and finally going through a final time asking the Spirit to make what I had just studied mine. What a joy this study has been! The Spirit has made these doctrines (this theology) more clear to me than ever before. My eyes were opened! This has been the most exciting devotional Bible study I have done!
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