Book Review | Knowing God

Dr. James I. Packer’s Knowing God is undoubtedly one of the most critically-acclaimed Christian books published in the 20th century. Named by Christianity Today as one of the top fifty books that have shaped evangelicals, many considers this book as a modern classic. It was originally published in 1973, and forty-eight years later, it now has over a million copies sold worldwide.

In Knowing God, Dr. Packer highlights the importance of really knowing God biblically—knowing who He is, beholding His glory, living for Him. In this time of great fall-away, when theology is often devalued by many, even more tragically in churches today, I strongly believe we need this message now more than ever.

“Once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall into place of their own accord.”

J.I. Packer, Knowing God (pg. 34)

Dr. Packer divided the book in three parts with a total of 22 chapters. Part One: Know The Lord is what I would consider theology proper. In here, he stresses our need for theology or the study of God—not just knowing about but truly knowing Him. In Part Two: Behold Your God, Dr. Packer unpacks the attributes of God—His majesty, wisdom, love, grace, judgement, wrath, goodness. Finally, in Part Three: If God Be For Us, he discusses the richness of the gospel of grace, our adoption to God’s family, and how He guides us.

My favorite chapter in Knowing God is the 18th: The Heart of The Gospel. Dr. Packer unwrapped the doctrines of propitiation, justification, substitution in a concise and very readable manner—all in one chapter. I believe this is the very heart of this book and where its subjects intersect—the holiness and perfection of God in contrast of our fallenness.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough! I can see myself going back to this from time to time. Knowing God is published by the InterVarsity Press and is available in paperback and hardback. This 20th Anniversary deluxe hardback edition includes a twenty-three-page companion study guide to help readers explore biblical themes. It is designed either for personal study or group discussion. This edition retails for $30.

Disclosure: A review copy of Knowing God (ISBN: 9780830816514) was provided for review by InterVarsity Press, from whom you may purchase a copy.

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