Many times over the years I have invited readers of this blog to join me in a reading project, mostly as part of a program I’ve called Reading Classics Together. We’ve read some incredible books together —Holiness by J.C. Ryle, Christianity & Liberalism by Gresham Machen, The Religious Affections by Jonathan Edwards, The Cross of Christ by John Stott, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks, and a whole lot more. Most recently we read through The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel. I think it is time to read another classic.
I would like to return to modern times and read a book that I believe will prove to be an enduring classic—J.I. Packer’s Knowing God. This is a book I have been meaning to read but, for one reason or another, have never gotten to. And that makes it an ideal candidate for Reading Classics Together.
First published in 1973, Knowing God has gone on to sell more than 1 million copies, and helped establish Packer as one of the most important voices of twentieth-century Evangelicalism. In 2006, the editors at Christianity Today selected it as one of the top 50 books that have shaped Evangelicals. The publisher says this: “Written in an engaging and practical tone, this thought-provoking work seeks to transform and enrich the Christian understanding of God. Explaining both who God is and how we can relate to him, Packer divides his book into three sections: The first directs our attention to how and why we know God, the second to the attributes of God and the third to the benefits enjoyed by those who know him intimately. This guide leads readers into a greater understanding of God while providing advice to gaining a closer relationship with him as a result.”
From all accounts, it is a book that demands both reading and re-reading. So why don’t you get yourself a copy, or dig out the copy you have lying around, and let’s read it together. I was given a copy as a wedding gift and now, 17 years later, am finally going to read it.
I propose that we read 2 chapters a week. The chapters are quite short, so this pace should not be too demanding. We will begin on August 20. That gives you 3 weeks to track down a copy of the book and to read the first 2 chapters. Then, on August 20, visit my website and I will prepare an article on those first 2 chapters. At that point you are free to add comments of your own or direct us to a place where you have written about them. Then we will read 2 chapters per week until the book is finished— a process that will take 11 weeks. And it’s that simple!
Knowing God is very widely available. You can find it used at just about any online retailer, or buy it new at:
- Amazon (in many formats ranging from discount paperback to deluxe hardcover, from Kindle to audiobook)
- Westminster Books (paperback, hardcover)
The book is still under copyright so, unlike some of the older works, it is not (legally) available free online.
Let’s Get Started
Again, I will share my first post on August 20. All you need to do is obtain a copy of the book and read chapters 1 and 2 prior to August 20.
Why don’t you leave a comment below if you plan to join the program (or if you’ve got any questions).