Book Review: Knowing God by J.I. Packer

I had a few people mention this as a highly influential book on many well-known christians whose own writings I have read and liked. So I thought it would be worthwhile getting this book and having a read. I have to note that this is an extremely rich book, full of some much deeper theology than I was expecting of it. It is extremely well-research and referenced, clearly the product of a knowledgeable and passionate mind.

The one main criticism I would have was of an opportunity missed in the 2005 updated edition; specifically that of the language used. The style of writing is not as accessible as it might otherwise have been. Some of the phraseology is archaic and not straightforward to the lay reader. This is further used by the Bible quotations which are mostly from very old translations, not in the modern vernacular. For this reason, a modern reader who isn’t familiar with this way of putting things (which I think would still have seemed a little antiquated when it was first published in the 1970s) could be easily put off.

Putting that small criticism aside and focussing on the substance of the book, it is clear to see why it is so highly esteemed. The huge range of references means that the vast majority of what the author has proposed is backed up with evidence. The real difference in this book that sets it apart is the unflinching look at ALL aspects of God’s nature. Too often, the idea of God showing jealousy, judgement and wrath is dodged, ignored or glossed over by many a christian writer.

In terms of the scope of the book, the author has been very thorough. He has not left out any significant areas of God’s character. I think this is a book I will come back to again and again. I haven’t yet used the study questions at the back, but have had a flick through them, and they appear to provide good food for thought. It’s not a short book and if you follow up all the references it will take several weeks to work your way through, but it will be well worth it.

2 responses to “Book Review: Knowing God by J.I. Packer

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer | The Alethiophile

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