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Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs Paperback – February 1, 2001
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From the Back Cover
"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.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Concise TheologyA Guide to Historic Christian BeliefsBy J. I. Packer
Tyndale House PublishersCopyright © 2001 J. I. Packer
All right reserved.
God Revealed As Creator
Scripture Is the Word of God
The tablets were the work of God;
the writing was the writing of God,
engraved on the tablets.
Christianity is the true worship and service of the true God,humankind?s Creator and Redeemer. It is a religion that rests on revelation:nobody would know the truth about God, or be able to relate to him in apersonal way, had not God first acted to make himself known. But God has soacted, and the sixty-six books of the Bible, thirty-nine written before Christcame and twenty-seven after, are together the record, interpretation,expression, and embodiment of his self-disclosure. God and godliness are theBible?s uniting themes.
From one standpoint, the Scriptures (Scriptures means ?writings?)are the faithful testimony of the godly to the God whom they loved and served;from another standpoint, through a unique exercise of divine overruling intheir composition, they are God?s own testimony and teaching in human form. Thechurch calls these writings the Word of God because their authorship andcontents are both divine.
Decisive assurance that Scripture is from God and consists entirely of hiswisdom and truth comes from Jesus Christ and his apostles, who taught in hisname. Jesus, God incarnate, viewed his Bible (our Old Testament) as his heavenlyFather?s written instruction, which he no less than others must obey (Matt. 4:4,7, 10; 5:19-20; 19:4-6; 26:31, 52-54; Luke 4:16-21; 16:17; 18:31-33; 22:37;24:25-27, 45-47; John 10:35), and which he had come to fulfill (Matt. 5:17-18;26:24; John 5:46). Paul described the Old Testament as entirely?God-breathed??that is, a product of God?s Spirit (?breath?) just as the cosmosis (Ps. 33:6; Gen. 1:2)?and written to teach Christianity (2 Tim. 3:15-17; Rom.15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). Peter affirms the divine origin of biblical teaching in 2Peter 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:10-12, and so also by his manner of quoting does thewriter to the Hebrews (Heb. 1:5-13; 3:7; 4:3; 10:5-7, 15-17; cf. Acts 4:25;28:25-27).
Since the apostles? teaching about Christ is itself revealed truth inGod-taught words (1 Cor. 2:12-13), the church rightly regards authenticapostolic writings as completing the Scriptures. Already Peter refers to Paul?sletters as Scripture (2 Pet. 3:15-16), and Paul is apparently calling Luke?sgospel Scripture in 1 Timothy 5:18, where he quotes the words of Luke 10:7.
The idea of written directives from God himself as a basis for godly livinggoes back to God?s act of inscribing the Decalogue on stone tablets and thenprompting Moses to write his laws and the history of his dealings with hispeople (Exod. 32:15-16; 34:1, 27-28; Num. 33:2; Deut. 31:9). Digesting andliving by this material was always central to true devotion in Israel for bothleaders and ordinary people (Josh. 1:7-8; 2 Kings 17:13; 22:8-13; 1 Chron.22:12-13; Neh. 8; Ps. 119). The principle that all must be governed by theScriptures, that is, by the Old and New Testaments taken together, is equallybasic to Christianity.
What Scripture says, God says; for, in a manner comparable only to the deepermystery of the Incarnation, the Bible is both fully human and fully divine. Soall its manifold contents?histories, prophecies, poems, songs, wisdom writings,sermons, statistics, letters, and whatever else?should be received as from God,and all that Bible writers teach should be revered as God?s authoritativeinstruction. Christians should be grateful to God for the gift of his writtenWord, and conscientious in basing their faith and life entirely and exclusivelyupon it. Otherwise, we cannot ever honor or please him as he calls us to do.
Excerpted from Concise Theologyby J. I. Packer Copyright © 2001 by J. I. Packer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
- Publisher : Tyndale Elevate; 42542nd edition (February 1, 2001)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0842339604
- ISBN-13 : 978-0842339605
- Item Weight : 10.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.2 x 0.7 x 7.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #64,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The book is a superb presentation of theology in bite-sized sections with 95 chapters each only a few pages long. The sweep of theology is covered from revelation, theology proper, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, sin, salvation, the church, some Christian living topics, and the end times. Each chapter is direct and well explained as Packer has a wonderful way with words and noting relevant verse references leading to sections that are very informative and deep, making this book refreshing as a theological read that encourages theological reflection.
Packer masterfully writes in a devotional and practical style that consistently remains on point with whatever topic is being addressed. His background is Covenental and Anglican, but I rarely found this to be a hindrance in this theological study because he is charitable to other positions.
The title really explains some of the limitations this book has that should not count against it: 1) it does not reference other theological literature frequently, 2) every theological nuance or possible question is not addressed in the book; but again this book does not set out to be a lengthy systematic. I wonder (and hope) that the author might produce a more lengthy systematic in the future!
This is a book that would be great for a group study. It is also works very well as a theological reference as I find myself turning to it again and again. I highly recommend it to all as a refreshing walk through theology and a useful theological tool.
(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!
I am often referring to this book on different topics because I have so many questions about Jesus, the church, and Sovereign election. Packer splits the book up into sections: God revealed as Creator, God revealed as Redeemer, God Revealed as Lord of Grace, and God revealed as Lord of Destiny. Within each of these sections is topics relating to the section. Topics like "Fall of Man", "Election", "Baptism" and "The Unpardonable Sin" are just a few of the many topics he covers. You don't have to read this front to back, you can simply find a topic you are trying to learn more about and read the few pages which contain huge amounts of wisdom from God's word.
This book doesn't cover these topics in-depth, but it does give you plenty to understand the foundations of the Bible.