Grow in the Lord With a Good Book: Knowing God

Every year, we make lofty goals about what we want to do in the New Year … but before too long, our good intentions fall by the wayside. Because I’ve got a bit of a (well-deserved) reputation as a bookworm, I want to encourage you to read a few good books that will benefit your walk with the Lord in 2013.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at books covering five critical genres:

  • Theology
  • History
  • Practical Christian living
  • Contemporary cultural issues
  • Fiction

Why these five? Because we need to know Who we serve and what He’s done in the world. We need to know what’s going on in the world today and how to live out our faith practically. And we also need to cultivate a sense of enjoyment of the good gifts God’s given us.

This week let’s start off with theology.

worn Bible without cover on a windowsill

While many evangelicals have a negative view of theology, the fact is, we’re all theologians. We all have ideas about who God is and what He is like, ideas that really do affect every other aspect of our lives. It’s no wonder, then, that in order to grow in our faith, we need to better know the object of our faith, Jesus Christ.

Here’s the first book I’d encourage you to read to help:

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Why this book?

Knowing God is one of the first books I ever read that left me in awe. Packer’s insights into the central pursuit of the Christian life — not simply knowing things about God, but knowing God intimately — are a great gift to believers.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite passages in this wonderful book, about the amazing truth that God has made Himself known to us:

Perhaps you have been acquainted with the Bible and Christian truth for many years, and it has meant little to you; but one day you wake up to the fact that God is actually speaking to you — through the biblical message.

As you listen to what God is saying, you find yourself brought very low; for God talks to you about your sin, and guilt, and weakness, and blindness, and folly, and compels you to judge yourself hopeless and helpless, and to cry out for forgiveness.

But that is not all. You come to realize as you listen that God is actually opening his heart to you, making friends with you and enlisting you as a colleague — in Barth’s phrase, a covenant partner.

It is a staggering thing, but it is true — the relationship in which sinful human beings know God is one in which God, so to speak, takes them onto His staff, to be henceforth his fellow workers (see 1 Cor 3:9) and personal friends.

A few words of encouragement as you read this book:

It’s probably the most challenging book you’re going to see from me. I could only read a few pages in a sitting before I had to put it down and ponder, write a few notes in a journal, and consider what was said in light of Scripture.

It’s rich and weighty stuff best read over a long period of time and that’s because few books as worthwhile and faithful to God’s Word as this one. If you haven’t read Packer’s book, do pick it up and get started today. If you already own it, start reading it again and try to look at it with fresh eyes.

What are some ways we take the privilege of God speaking to us in the Bible for granted? What are some ways we can recapture the sense of awe Packer describes above?

2 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Juli Jarvis January 14, 2013

    My son and I were just talking about this book last week — I think it’s time to pull it off the (dusty) shelf and read it again!

    1. Aaron Armstrong January 23, 2013

      Excellent – hope you have a great time reading it again 🙂

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