The Study of God

“…ignorance of God—ignorance both of his ways and of the practice of communion with him—lies at the root of much of the church’s weakness today.” 

J.I. Packer

Packer gave two unhappy trends that beset even the Christians during his time. First, Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit. The focus is on man and leaves room only for small thoughts of God. To them, thoughts of death, eternity, & judgment are forgotten. Second, Christian minds have been confused by modern skepticism. The foundational facts of faith are called into question. Even today, we observe this left and right. The Scriptures and God is put on trial. They doubt everything about God and think that doubting everything about God’s revealed will is good.

R.C. Sproul, in his endorsement of the book, writes, “Knowing God is a masterpiece by a master theologian. It serves as a wake-up call for those who are asleep to the majesty of God.” Knowing God wakes up a sleeping soul, for only the Creator Himself can raise a man from his slumber.

Many thought that the proper study of mankind is man, while Spurgeon, in Packer’s long quote of him, says that the proper study of God’s elect is God. Furthermore, he writes,

the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.

We must take heed to this verse in Jeremiah, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls” (Jer 6.16)

The Benefits in the Contemplation of Divinity

Packer enumerates the undeniable benefit of meditating upon God’s nature and character. He states that it humbles the mind and expands the soul.

It humbles the mind. “It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity…when we come to this master science… that our eagle eye cannot see its height, we turn away with the thought that vain man would be wise.” Men think highly of themselves. Only a sight of God’s majesty can put them into their lowly state. God is infinite and we are not.

It expands the soul. “Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.” In knowing God, the affection of our soul won’t be limited to the concerns of this world.

Finally, only the thoughts of God after Him as revealed in His Word can give true peace and bind the broken-hearted.

“Would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead.”

These are some of the benefits of knowing God. Would you engage your soul in this fruitful study? Would you spend your time knowing the lover of your soul more?

Questions for meditation:

  • Think about the people around you. Between the two unhappy trends, which one do you notice the most?
  • How does the study of God serve as a wake-up call for you and others?
  • Do you know other studies that can humble man’s mind and expand man’s soul? If not, why can the study of God alone do it?

Note: This is from our Youth Bible Study. Citations are from J.I. Packer’s Knowing God.

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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