For it is by grace you have been saved...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for "Knowing God"

As we saw on Day 2 of this A-Z Challenge, I am a lover of books.  All kinds of books.  And over the years I've read lots and lots of 'em; some good, some bad, some in between.  But every once in awhile there is a book that stays with you.  J. I. Packer's Knowing God is one of those books. 

Written in 1973, this book has remained a constant best seller ever since.  It's sold millions of copies, been translated into dozens of languages, used over and over in churches and Bible studies all over the world.  And with good reason.  This is a life changing kind of book.

Now, I know other people say that about this or that latest best seller.  Often, those so-called "life changers" are just fads and flash-in-the-pan kinds of things.  They soon fade away, mostly because they were built on weak and worthless foundations, bad theology, etc.  Knowing God is different.  It is built on sound, biblical teaching, and far from being fad-ish, addresses the most basic concepts of all: God.

Obviously, Scripture itself is the sole source of information about God.  Packer doesn't claim, like so many modern books, that he has some sort of new revelation, been to heaven and back, etc.  He simply arranges the teaching of Scripture about who God is and who we are and how we can know Him into a nice little package that opens our eyes to the splendor and majesty of God, and the joy of knowing Him. 

Just read the back cover to see the kind of influence this book has had: D. James Kennedy, R. C. Sproul, Michael Card, and even Billy Graham all speak of the powerful influence of Packer's work.  But don't take their word for it, or even mine.  You should read it for yourself. 

Over the years I've taught literally dozens of classes based on this book.  I've had more than one copy, and the current copy I had made into a spiral bound edition for easier access and teaching.  It's full of notes and highlights and additional pages of notes used for teaching classes, etc.  

Packer focuses on the glory and majesty and sovereignty and beauty of our God.  He doesn't shy away from His wrath and Justice and Jealous nature; but puts those together in the light of His Wisdom and Truth and Love and Grace.  He highlights the nature of salvation and adoption in ways that makes you fall in love with God all over again.  After reading the first time, I came to see God as so much bigger and grander and more beautiful and more terrifying and more wonderful than ever before.

I thought I would include a few quotes from the book for this post.  But as I went through and looked at all those highlighted and noted pages, I couldn't find just one or two that I thought captured the whole thing.  More accurately, I couldn't narrow it down to just one or two.  I don't think there is a single page in my current copy that doesn't have underlines and notes.  Folks, it's just that good of a book. 

So if you've never read Packer's Knowing God, go out and get it today.  Being a continuing best seller I can guarantee you won't have trouble finding it: at the bookstore, online, Kindle format, etc.  Again, nothing stands even close to God's Word and the words of men should never be held in the same esteem.  But when it comes to the words of men, I don't think they get any better than this book. 


Eddie Eddings said...

That book was a classic the moment it was published!
I love the way begins the first chapter with a deep theological quote from a very young Spurgeon.

Gregg Metcalf said...

This book is one of the few that is on my spiritual goals list for my personal growth and development that I try to read each year. Although I am not an evangelical in the same vein as Packer, I have found this book to be valuable over and over again. Thanks for the post!

P. S. K was for Saturday, today is L. However, the fun of the challenge is you can play however you want to play! :) Glad your are apart.

Gregg Metcalf said...

OOPS I misread the date, sorry! Don't know what I saw now. My goof!