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Knowing God Paperback – June 24, 1993
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- 2016 WORLD Magazine's Topping the Top 50
- One of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals (Christianity Today, 2006)
- Platinum Book Award, Evangelical Christian Publishing Association
For over 40 years, J. I. Packer's classic has been an important tool to help Christians around the world discover the wonder, the glory and the joy of knowing God. In 2006, Christianity Today voted this title one of the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals. This edition is updated with Americanized language and spelling and a new preface by the author. Stemming from Packer's profound theological knowledge, Knowing God brings together two important facets of the Christian faith― knowing about God and also knowing God through the context of a close relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to transform and enrich the Christian understanding of God. Explaining both who God is and how we can relate to him, Packer divides his book into three sections: The first directs our attention to how and why we know God, the second to the attributes of God and the third to the benefits enjoyed by a those who know him intimately. This guide leads readers into a greater understanding of God while providing advice to gaining a closer relationship with him as a result.
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THE IVP SIGNATURE COLLECTION
For half a century, J. I. Packer's classic has helped Christians around the world discover the wonder, the glory, and the joy of knowing God. Stemming from Packer's profound theological knowledge, Knowing God brings together two key facets of the Christian faith—knowing about God and knowing God through a close relationship with Jesus Christ. Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to renew and enrich our understanding of God. Named by Christianity Today as one of the top fifty books that have shaped evangelicals, Knowing God is now among the iconic books featured in the IVP Signature Collection. A new companion Bible study is also available to help readers explore these biblical themes for themselves.
Available February 16, 2021
|Knowing God||Knowing God Bible Study||Knowing God||Knowing God Study Guide||Knowing God Through the Year||Knowing God Devotional Journal: A One-Year Guide|
|Date published||February 16, 2021||February 16, 2021||June 23, 1993||July 2, 1993||March 7, 2017||October 1, 2009|
|Description||For half a century, J. I. Packer's classic has helped Christians around the world. Now featured in the IVP Signature Collection, this thought-provoking work seeks to renew and enrich our understanding of God.||These five easy-to-use studies explore the character and actions of God throughout Scripture. They encourage us to look for God every time we read the Bible and to deepen our understanding, trust, and worship in response.||J. I. Packer's classic, available in hardback, has been an important tool to help Christians around the world discover the wonder, the glory and the joy of knowing God. Includes study guide.||Individuals & small groups can stretch their understanding & can see God more clearly through rich and transforming discussions. This guide takes readers through twenty-two studies, one for each chapter of the book.||A daily guide through one of the most treasured books of Christian spirituality. Each day you'll read a Scripture and a brief passage about the glory and joy of being in relationship with God, along with prayer and reflection.||Discover the riches of the character of God in this special devotional that reveals the wonder, glory and joy of knowing God. The daily reading includes Scripture, a suggestion for action or reflection, and space to journal or write out your prayers.|
A REMARKABLE LIFE OF KNOWING GOD
J. I. Packer (1926–2020) is regarded as one of the most well-known theologians and influential evangelicals of our time. Once named to Time magazine's list of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America, Packer wrote what many consider the definitive classic evangelical book of the twentieth century, Knowing God, which has sold more than one million copies in North America alone.
As the author of forty-seven books, Packer's prolific work has impacted countless pastors, thought leaders, theologians, and authors. He preached and lectured widely in Great Britain and North America and served as general editor of the English Standard Version of the Bible published in 2001, and as theological editor of the Study Bible version. When Christianity Today conducted a survey to determine the top 50 books that have shaped evangelicals, Packer's book Knowing God came in fifth. In 2014, Packer was named Author of the Year by the Association of Logos Bookstores.
"Week by week and day by day, Packer gives advice that is sure to motivate and inspire readers to reach for more in their quest to unite with God. A fine read for any devoted Christian."-- James A. Cox, Library Bookwatch, December 2009
"This is a book that urges us to know about God and then to know God in Jesus Christ. It is a book that serves up real meat―a thought-provoking call to apply ourselves to knowing who God is and to develop a close relationship with Him."-- East Central Illinois Baptist Association, February 13, 2008
"Something must be said for the staying power of a book like J. I. Packer's Knowing God. With some of the language and rhetoric updated, the foundational elements of the book are as powerful and strong as ever."-- Chris Wise, The Christian Manifesto (thechristianmanifesto.wordpress.com), February 26, 2008
"Packer was magisterial in substance, but adopted the tone of a fellow traveler. He convinced us that the study of God 'is the most practical project anyone can engage in.'"-- Christianity Today, October 2006
"If I can't put the Bible on this list, I'll choose a Packer book instead. Every national and world leader must seek to know the nations and world in which they serve. And in order to know this world and its people, we must first know the God who shaped and molded us all. Packer simply and powerfully re-introduces us to God: his attributes, actions, and, most important, his grace."-- Joshua DuBois, “My Top Five,” Christianity Today, September 2014
- Publisher : InterVarsity Press; Anniversary edition (June 24, 1993)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 286 pages
- ISBN-10 : 083081650X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0830816507
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #21,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Had reporters been more helpful, they would have quoted the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), who noted: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each [person] which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.”
Had I reported on the story, I would have called J.I. Packer—to glean his insights on why a secular world was stopped in its tracks.
Perhaps Packer, the imminent theologian, would have said this: “When the person in the church, let alone the person in the street, uses the word God, the thought is rarely of divine majesty.” Packer, in fact did say this—and much, much more about “Knowing God” (or the lack of knowing God):
“But this is knowledge which Christians today largely lack: and that is one reason why our faith is so feeble and our worship so flabby. We are modern people, and modern people, though they cherish great thoughts of themselves, have as a rule small thoughts of God.”
Over the last three years on dozens of weekends, I’ve enjoyed re-reading “Knowing God,” the classic morsel by J.I. Packer. Now 92, this English-born Canadian evangelical is still considered one of the most influential evangelicals in North America. Knowing God has sold over one million copies.
Published in 1973, my well-worn copy is from the 13th printing in 1978, and Chapter 2, “The People Who Know Their God,” grabbed me by the throat back then—and still does:
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ,” wrote Paul. “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him. . . .I want to know Christ” (Phil 3: 7-10).
“When Paul says he counts the things he lost rubbish, or dung (KJV), he means not merely that he does not think of them as having any value, but also that he does not live with them constantly in his mind: what normal person spends his time nostalgically dreaming of manure? Yet this, in effect, is what many of us do. It shows how little we have in the way of true knowledge of God.”
BAMBOOZLED? I’m guessing—if Packer were a guest on the Sunday morning news shows to help us make sense of the Notre-Dame fire—he might mention God’s work in Jacob’s life (a must-read snippet from Chapter 9, “God Only Wise”).
“But God in his wisdom had also resolved to instill true religion into Jacob himself. Jacob’s whole attitude to life was ungodly and needed changing; Jacob must be weaned away from trust in his own cleverness to dependence upon God, and he must be made to abhor the unscrupulous double-dealing which came so naturally to him.
“When Jacob had filched Esau’s birthright and blessing (Gen. 25:29-34; 27:1-40), Esau turned against him (naturally!) and Jacob had to leave home in a hurry. He went to his uncle Laban, who proved to be as tricky a customer as Jacob himself. Laban exploited Jacob’s position and bamboozled him into marrying not only his pretty daughter, whom Jacob wanted, but also the plain one with bad eyes, for whom he would otherwise have found it hard to get a good husband (Gen 29:15-30).
“We may be frankly bewildered at things that happen to us, but God knows exactly what he is doing, and what he is after, in his handling of our affairs. Always, and in everything, he is wise: we shall see that hereafter, even where we never saw it here. (Job in heaven knows the full reason why he was afflicted, though he never knew it in this life.)
“Meanwhile, we ought not to hesitate to trust his wisdom, even when he leaves us in the dark. But how are we to meet these baffling and trying situations, if we cannot for the moment see God’s purpose in them? First, by taking them as from God, and asking ourselves what reactions to them, and in them, the gospel of God requires of us, second, by seeking God’s face specifically about them.”
THE 1, 2 PUNCH! Why trust God? Packer gives us this one, two punch! “Wisdom without power would be pathetic, a broken reed; power without wisdom would be merely frightening; but in God boundless wisdom and endless power are united, and this makes him utterly worthy of our fullest trust.”
In seeking to know God and God’s will (Chapter 20), Packer warns of six pitfalls:
• “Unwillingness to think
• Unwillingness to think ahead
• Unwillingness to take advice
• Unwillingness to suspect oneself
• Unwillingness to discount personal magnetism
• Unwillingness to wait.”
THE MOUNT EVEREST OF SCRIPTURE: ROMANS. “Paul’s letter to Rome is the high peak of Scripture…” Packer reminds us. Luther labeled Romans “the clearest gospel of all.”
“Not every Christian, however, appreciates the magnificence of Romans, and there is a reason for this. Someone who touched down on the top of Everest in a helicopter (could such a thing be) would not at that moment feel anything like what Hillary and Tensing felt when they stood on the same spot after climbing the mountain. Similarly, the impact of Romans upon you will depend on what has gone before. The law that operates is that the more you have dug into the rest of the Bible, the more you are exercised with the intellectual and moral problems of being a Christian, and the more you have felt the burden of weakness and the strain of faithfulness in your Christian life, the more you will find Romans saying to you.”
And get this! “John Chrysostom [349-407] had it read aloud to him once a week; you and I could do a lot worse than that. Now, as Romans is the high peak of the Bible, so chapter 8 is the high peak of Romans.”
But wait! Packer’s promo for Romans 8 is exceeded only by Alexander Whyte (1836-1921) who told his Scottish congregation, “You’ll not get out of the seventh of Romans while I’m your minister!” Yikes!
• “There are two sorts of sick consciences, those that are not aware enough of sin and those that are not aware enough of pardon, and it is to the second sort that Paul is ministering now. He knows how easily the conscience of a Christian under pressure can grow morbid, particularly when that Christian’s nose is rubbed as Romans 7:24-25 would rub it in the reality of continued sin and failure.”
• “God makes not only the wrath of man to turn to his praise but the misadventures of Christians too.”
• “Is your trouble a sense of failure? The knowledge of having made some ghastly mistake? Go back to God; his restoring grace waits for you.”
• “Is it not a hollow fraud to say that we honor Christ when we ignore, and by ignoring dishonor, the One whom Christ has sent to us as his deputy, to take his place and care for us on his behalf? Ought we not to concern ourselves more about the Holy Spirit than we do?”
I ASKED THE LORD THAT I MIGHT GROW (BIG MISTAKE!)
The great hymn, “Amazing Grace,” penned by converted slave trader John Newton (1725-1807), is familiar to all. But…have you sung or read Newton’s other, more deeply convicting hymn?
Packer wraps up Chapter 21, “These Inward Trials,” with Newton’s remarkable lyrics: six convicting verses of “I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow.” I’ve listened to, sung, and meditated on the words for half-a-year now. “Alexa, repeat!” Yet every repeat stings.
In Chapter 20, “Thou Our Guide,” the author shares deep wisdom on discerning God’s will. He writes, “Wisdom in Scripture always means knowledge of the course of action that will please God and secure life, so that the promise of James 1:5—“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him” (RSV)—is in effect a promise of guidance.
“Only within the limits of this guidance does God prompt us inwardly in matters of ‘vocational’ decision. So never expect to be aided to marry an unbeliever, or elope with a married person, as long as 1 Corinthians 7:39 and the seventh commandment stand!”
Tweet this! “The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them. ‘He guides me in paths of righteousness’ (Psalm 23:3)—but not anywhere else.”
THE QUEST FOR COMFORT. “Comfort is, of course, used here in the old, strong sense of that which encourages and nerves, not in the modern sense of that which tranquilizes and enervates. The quest for ‘comfort’ in the modern sense is self-indulgent, sentimental and unreal, and the modern ‘I-go-to-church-for-comfort’ religion is not Christianity; but [Edward] Elton is talking of Christian assurance, which is a different thing. Here again, however, the Everest principle operates.” (Don’t skip Chapter 20. Oh, my.)
My second read-through of “Knowing God” was on Kindle, but I just ordered a fresh new copy (without underlined pages) for my third read. I hope you’ll read (or re-read) this powerful book…slowly.
J.I. Packer notes: “When you start reading Luther, or Edwards, or Whitefield, though your doctrine may be theirs, you soon find yourself wondering whether you have any acquaintance at all with the mighty God whom they knew so intimately.” So…what do you read, in addition to the Bible, to know God more deeply?
For the modern reader, "Knowing God" can be an intense experience. Unless you have been a Christian for most of your life and have attended regular services or read the Bible numerous times, much of the information can either be comforting or unsettling. If you are used to hearing about God being called "Universal Intelligence" or "A Higher Power," then this book will bring you to a startling reality of who God really is as described in the Bible. Yes he is merciful, loving, forgiving and wise. He is also at times jealous or can be filled with righteous indignation. He is both a judge and a loving father.
What we see as negative qualities are extremely well explained by J. I. Packer. I especially enjoyed reading about how God can be jealous without sinning.
Reading "Knowing God" can be a humbling and enlightening experience. God is presented in all His glory and is revealed in God the Father, Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit. For the most part, J. I. Packer focuses on God the Father and Jesus Christ and briefly mentions the importance of the Holy Spirit.
Each chapter comes across as a sermon or essay in which multiple topics combine into a coherent whole. There are some difficult areas like the explanations of how God judged people in the New and Old Testaments. There are also sections on why Christians suffer and how you can lead a more godly life despite trials and tribulations.
One of the most interesting topics presented is how Christians can gain wisdom. Steps are given and can be easily followed.
At one point in the book the author describes the reading of the Bible as somewhat depressing at times. I found this true while reading the Old Testament mostly because there is so much violence and sin. Yet now that I'm at the Psalms things seem to be looking up. The author then says we are fools not to read the Bible. So what choice do you really have but to endure certain books and delve more deeply into others?
While reading "Knowing God" you may experience a wide variety of emotions like anger, distress, guilt, fear, awe, relief and love. If you doubt your salvation or feel there is no way God could forgive all your sins you will especially enjoy reading the chapter on Romans.
For the most part, J. I. Packer focuses intensely on each point being made and rarely includes any illustrations. He also doesn't avoid any difficult topics yet spends only a small amount of time talking about heaven and hell.
Overall, I felt this was one of the best books I've ever read about God. It is truly a classic every Christian should find time to read. It took me two days to read but I'd suggest you take a week because there is so much information to digest.
~The Rebecca Review
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I think each article/chapter is best read allowing plenty of time to digest the very thoughtful contents. I found I needed to read each chapter several times to take in all the information.
Very good material. Well worth having.