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5 Stars Out Of 5
April 6, 2011
The first time that I read J.I. Packer's Knowing God I was a first-year seminary student. The book was a required text for my systematic theology course. As I listened to this audiobook I was reminded of how I felt back thenâ€”this book doesn't read like a textbook. But that's what you have with Packer's Knowing God, a top notch systematic theology work that is not only readable, but hard to put down (or in this case, hard to hit pause on the iPod).
While Packer doesn't hit every subject under the heading of systematic theology, he does touch on a number of topics beyond the doctrine of God. Packer helps the reader (or listener) think through such subjects as God's revelation through Scripture, the Trinity, the person and work of Jesus Christ, and soteriology (the doctrine of salvation).
When I read a book or listen to an audiobook I am always looking for that "worth-the-price-of-admission" factor. Not every book has it, but the best ones often do. For Knowing God it is Section Three, Chapter 18: The Heart of the Gospel. Packer tackles the the term propitiation, a word that can scare readers. But Packer not only unpacks the term, he explains the whole concept in such a way that provides the reader with a better sense of how atonement relates to the gospel. Chapter 18 is certainly worth the price of admission. (Apparently others felt the same way. The chapter was included in In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement by Packer and Mark Dever.)
As an audiobook Knowing God is an easy listen. The length of the chapters lend themselves to be manageable track lengths. The narrator (Simon Vance) does a good job of giving a voice to Packer's text, one that keeps the listener engaged.
[Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from christianaudio.com as part of their christianaudio Reviewers Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.]
Knowing God is a theological treatise of sorts. Packer is clearly well versed in scripture and well read in a variety of theologians and biblical scholars. He does a good job of laying out many of the tenants and concepts of fundamentalist theology. His book makes complex ideas and concepts accessible to the average believer. But this book is best listened to and digested in small bites rather than trying to digest it all at once. Regardless of where you fall on the theological spectrum, Knowing God will challenge your thinking and broaden your understanding of a variety of topics. If you endeavor to listen to this thought-provoking book, put on your boots and prepare to wade through complex ideas. Packer will often take you down a rabbit hole to show you where it ends up.
While I personally do not agree with everything Packer says in his book, it is helpful in thinking through what I do believe.
Simon Vance is the narrator and does a good job. His voice is clear and smooth and is not distracting at all from the material at hand. Thanks to christianaudio Reviewers Program for the opportunity to listen to and review this book.