Concise Theology

"How can I know God better?

If only someone could explain the essentials of theology in bite-sized portions...

If only there were a resource that went deeper without drowning me in page after page...

J.I. Packer has done it!

Finally, there's a book that explains the essentials of theology in a style and length that busy readers can appreciate. J.I. Packer, noted theologian and author of Knowing God, offers 94 concise studies.

Where does the Bible say that?

Each study is just a couple of pages long. That means you can find the answers you need quickly. But don't be fooled--there are plenty of Scripture references on every page. You can go as deep as you want at the pace you want...

So jump right in. Discover for yourself why Christian theology is not just a system of beliefs, but a way of life."

-- From the back cover

While many publishers' summaries are in the end a bit of an oversell, the description given above is actually an accurate portrayal of this jewel of a book. To have such a small volume (a little over 250 pages) tackle so many Bible topics, and so thoroughly, is a uniquely useful and accessible accomplishment to say the least.

-- From the back cover

While there are many good books that summarize a few essential truths in a simple manner -- and there are many good (and usually very large) books that deal thoroughly and systematically with Bible topics -- it is almost unheard of for such a small book to tackle so many subjects, in such a concise and easy-to-read manner, and yet not compromise on the meatiness of the subjects themselves.

Each of the 94 chapters are only about 1.5 pages long.

Yet somehow Packer manages, in almost every case, not only to summarize the biblical teaching on that subject but also to share some devotional, practical implication from it as well. The chapters are arranged under the four major headings of 1) God Revealed as Creator, 2) God Revealed as Redeemer, 3) God Revealed as Lord of Grace, and 4) God Revealed as Lord of Destiny.

Each of the 94 chapters are only about 1.5 pages long.

Under these subheadings, Packer deals with everything from the attributes of God to the ascension of Christ; from creation to conscience; from legalism to the Lord's Supper, from demons to Definite Redemption; from self-discipline to the Second Coming. Even on subjects on which Packer (a paedobaptist) would obviously disagree with Baptists, his explanations are helpful for understanding the what and why of other perspectives.

A few favorite quotes:

"Christianity... is a religion that rests on revelation." (from Revelation).

"Realizing our moment-by-moment dependence on God the Creator for our very existence makes it appropriate to live lives of devotion, commitment, gratitude, and loyalty toward him, and scandalous not to." (from Creation).

"It is vital for spiritual health to believe that God is great (cf. Ps. 95:1-7)" (from Self-Existence).

"A miracle is an observed event that triggers awareness of God's presence and power." (from Miracles).

"Humility in Scripture means, not pretending to be worthless and refusing positions of responsibility, but knowing and keeping the place God has appointed for one." (from Obedience).

"We should view all persons that we meet as possibly being numbered among the elect." (from Election).

"Neighbor-love is profiled in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Its total lack of self-concern is breathtaking." (from Love).

"God requires us to take seriously not only his words but our own as well." (from Oaths and Vows).

"No Christian is giftless" (from Spiritual Gifts).

Categories: Bible Study, Finding Grace