Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Packer, J.I. Knowing God. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993. 318 pp. $18.00. Purchase at Westminster Books for $9.53.  Purchase the audiobook at christianaudio for $14.98.

Introduction

Knowing God is one of those books I have no business writing a review on, but alas, I have been asked to do so via the new audiobook release. J.I. Packer’s Knowing God hardly needs an introduction, but for those who have never read the book, it is a classic with over one million copies sold. The reader will learn “the glory and the joy of knowing God.”

Summary

Divided into three sections among twenty-two chapters, the reader will be introduced to who God is according to the Bible. The first section, Know the Lord, looks at the importance of studying God. Chapter four, The Only True God, always humbles me and convicts me. This chapter alone is worth the book in its entirety.

The second section is a study on the attributes of God. Aptly titled Behold Your God, you will learn about God’s majesty, wisdom, love, grace, and wrath among other attributes. Here, you will be introduced to the depths of the God you say you serve. After reading this section, you will seek to learn more all the while realizing that you cannot possibly exhaust your understanding of even one attribute though this fact will not deter you from trying to do so.
The third section offers the joy of knowing that If God be for Us… You will find yourself led to worship in this section (as if you haven’t been led to do just that already!). What is more, you will find yourself wanting to share the joy you are discovering with anyone who will listen.

Review

I have nothing but positives regarding Packer’s Knowing God. As mentioned above, the chapter on idol worship (ch. 4) is worth the rest of the book by itself. I first read this book a couple years after becoming a believer and was deeply impacted by it. If you are to know God at all, you need to quickly realize that you cannot know Him. Rather, He, God, allows Himself to be known by you. Furthermore, you will learn that it was not you who sought God, but He who sought you. These are glorious truths that will bless and comfort the child of God.

The audiobook, read by Simon Vance, was done so with the gravity that each chapter, sentence, and word carries inherently with it. One need not listen long to know that what you are hearing is profound. At times, the chapters got long, and I would not suggest listening to for longer than a chapter or two. Doing this will keep your mind fresh and focused on the deep truths you are encountering. This is even truer if this is the first time you have stumbled upon this book.

Recommendation

If you have never read Knowing God and you enjoy reading, pick this book up. It made the list of the 5 books every Christian must own and read for a reason. It has impacted my walk with Christ as well as my understanding (or knowledge of my lack) of God in ways that I am sure I don’t quite get as of yet. This is a book that you will want to periodically read over and over for the rest of your life. In the six years since I first read this book, I have read it four times and each time I do, I discover something new or find myself saying, “So that’s where that conviction originated.” Drink deeply from the pen of J.I. Packer—you can hardly find a living author with more depth.