In chapter 1 Packer offers up “five basic truths” which he calls the “foundation-principles of the knowledge about God which Christians have.” First on the list: “God has spoken to man, and the Bible is His Word, given to us to make us wise unto salvation.”
In chapter 3 the author poses the question, “What are we talking about when we use the phrase ‘knowing God’? What sort of activity, or event, is it that can properly be described as ‘knowing God’?”
Here is the beginning of his answer: “What happens is that the almighty Creator . . . comes to him and begins to talk to him, through the words and truths of Holy Scripture. Perhaps he has been acquainted with the Bible and Christian truth for many years, and it has meant nothing to him; but one day he wakes up to the fact that God is actually speaking to him – him! – through the biblical message.”
“Knowing God involves, first, listening to God’s word and receiving it as the Holy Spirit interprets it, in application to oneself.”
Packer believes that a hunger for the Word of God is a crucial indicator of genuine knowledge of God. This hunger is proof that our profession of salvation is real. “Is it not a fact that a love for God’s revealed truth, and a desire to know as much of it as one can, is natural to every person who has been born again?”
It is appropriate for us to regularly heed Paul’s command to “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). This self-examination should include many aspects of the Christian experience, and at the top of the list should be these questions: “Do I possess an ever-increasing love for the Word of God? Do I desire to know as much of it as I can, for the ultimate purpose of knowing God? Has this passion for God’s truth become as natural to me as breathing and eating and drinking?”
May it be so.
NOTE: This is one of a serious of posts on “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer. For details on how to join me, blogger Tim Challies and hundreds of other Christians on this journey, click here. To read the other posts in this series, click here.