I first read JI Packer’s classic Knowing God in college. It was the first time I was challenged with the idea that knowing about God was not the same as knowing God. I found Packer’s approach to the doctrine of God to be serious, systematic, biblical, and devotional. Obviously I’m not alone in that assessment, as the book has sold well over a million copies.
The book is written with the following five truths in mind:
- God has spoken to man, and the Bible is his Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.
- God is Lord and King over his world; he rules all things for his own glory, displaying his perfections in all that he does, in order that men and angels may worship and adore him.
- God is Savior, active in sovereign love through the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue believers from the guilt and power of sin, to adopt them as his children and to bless them accordingly.
- God is triune; there are within the Godhead three persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; and the work of salvation is one in which all three act together, the Father purposing redemption, the Son securing it and the Spirit applying it.
- Godliness means responding to God’s revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God’s Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion.
This foundation is solid, and the theology that follows is deep and devotional.