J.I. Packer: An Evangelical Life


By Leland Ryken  

The first year that I was a believer, as a freshman at Rice University, I was given a copy of Packer’s Knowing God. Little did I know the effect it would have on me, nor did I have any idea that it would become a modern Christian classic. Since then I have read it a number of other times. It is a superb overview of the glory and greatness of God, looking at specific attributes.


Though none of his other books have had the impact of Knowing God, he has been a prolific author along with being an academic who has taught most recently at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Originally from Britain and a graduate of Oxford University, he has wielded enormous influence in the evangelical world on both sides of the Atlantic over the last 50 years or so. He was the general editor for the superb and influential translation of the Bible, the English Standard Version or ESV.


The writer of this biography is Leland Ryken, who knows Packer personally but has not been a close colleague all of his life. Ryken has been an esteemed English professor at Wheaton College. The book is well done, both well written and well researched. I could not say this is a great biography – Packer did not live the kind of fascinating life that makes for a great biography, such as a Martin Luther or a Dietrich Bonhoeffer – but for any Packer fan, like me, this is a book not to miss.