Remembering J.I Packer (1926-2020) and Knowing God

James Inell Packer, best known as J.I Packer, has gone home to be with the Lord on Friday. He was 93, just 5 days shy of his 94th birthday. The British-born Canadian theologian will be remembered by many as one of the most influential evangelicals of our time and rightly so.

Packer’s contribution to the body of Christ was tremendous. He has served as a theology professor, author, and speaker. Packer was also the general editor for the English Standard Bible (ESV), theological editor for the ESV study Bible, and an executive editor and writer for Christianity Magazine, just to name a few. 

Packer has authored several well-known books including Fundamentalism and the Word of God , as well as Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

Packer was also notably influenced by the Puritans, in whom Packer highlights in his book A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life

But the book that J.I Packer is best known for is his highly acclaimed work, Knowing God. It is a book that many Christians have read and is often recommended as a book that every Christian should read. 

Knowing God Kindle Edition

For those who have never read Knowing God, I strongly encourage you to do so. It is a book that touches on the attributes of God. I believe every Christian needs to learn the attributes of God. For how can they profess to know, love, and serve God without any knowledge of Him whatsoever? Feelings and thoughts alone won’t suffice. A clear-cut understanding is required. 

And what better way to learn than through God’s Word, which helps us understand that we serve a sovereign, merciful, loving, just, holy, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God? Packer dives into these attributes and more in his book. Why is this important? As Packer says in his book, “Our aim in studying the Godhead must be to know God Himself better”

To date, Knowing God has sold well over a million copies. It was originally as a series of articles for Evangelical Magazine. When Packer published the book in 1973, he had no idea that it would have the impact that it did in years to come. 

“When I sent the manuscript of Knowing God to the publisher just over twenty years ago, I thought of it as a study book that could hardly be of general interest. I thought of it as a study book that could hardly be of general interest. I was wrong. It has sold over a million copies; it has gone into more than a dozen languages; it has become a nurture book for the Christian world.”- Packer said in a 1993 Preface to Knowing God.

According to Christianity magazine, “Knowing God” came in 5th in their list of  “The Top 50 Books That Have Shaped Evangelicals”. I’m sure, for some people, it would be 1st. But it is definitely one of the best books to ever come out in our lifetime. Not many Christian books today can make that claim for they are far from being preoccupied with the character of God. Oftentimes, they are more man-centered than God centered. Sad but true. 

Such a book like Knowing God is essential in growing in one’s walk of faith. Read it alongside the Bible to reap its full benefits. This is what theology is all about. More than just terminologies and concepts, but growing in the reality of coming to know the living God! There are far too many distractions and misconceptions today that try to vie for our attention.

May the church get back to knowing God as He really is so that they would make Him known. Not the watered down God in modern Christianity. But the one true God!

As for J.I Packer, he is now living that reality in its fullest, RIP.

 

Published by Blessed Are The Forgiven

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered". -Psalm 32:1

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