JI Packer was born July 22, 1926. He died July 17, 2020. During Packer’s ninety-plus years on earth, his preaching, teaching, and writing impacted a countless number of people. Packer’s impact on my life was through the books he wrote. Here are my top five JI Packer books, with a quote from each book:
Knowing God “It has been said by someone that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’ I will not oppose the idea, but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.”
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God “The aim of the discourse is to dispel the suspicion (current, it seems, in some quarters) that faith in the absolute sovereignty of God hinders a full recognition and acceptance of evangelistic responsibility, and to show that, on the contrary, only this faith can give Christians the strength that they need to fulfill their evangelistic task.”
Keep in Step with the Spirit “The key thought of this book is now before you. It is not a new thought; it is as old as the New Testament. To state it is no more than to recall Christians to their roots. The thought is simply this: The essence of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, at this or any time in the Christian era, is to mediate the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Concise Theology “If Scripture is indeed God himself preaching and teaching, as the great body of the church has always held, then the first mark of good theology is that it seeks to echo the divine Word as faithfully as it can … Theology is for doxology and devotion – that is, the praise of God and the practice of godliness.”
Keeping the 10 Commandments “Whether as persons we grow and blossom or shrink and wither, whether in character we become more like God or more like the devil, depends directly on whether we seek to live by what is in the Commandments or not. The rest of the Bible could be called God’s repair manual, since it spells out the gospel of grace that restores sin-damaged human nature.”
In 2016, Packer did a short retrospective interview about his life and ministry. That video can be seen here. A few weeks back, Justin Taylor wrote a summary and eulogy to commemorate Packer’s death. Taylor’s piece can be found here. DA Carson also wrote a short article to pay tribute to the life and ministry of JI Packer. Carson’s piece can be found here.