Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book Chat: Tackling J.I.Packer in Term 3

Disciplines of a Godly Woman was a big winner. We had nine people turn up yesterday afternoon. Great for discussion. A very challenging book and one that I'll keep dipping into regularly, I think.

I think we might have gotten a bit carried away on the roll of excitement that this book produced. We decided that next term we'll tackle J.I.Packer's Knowing God.

I'm already feeling a bit anxious. I've tried reading Packer before. He's hard work. Packed full of great information (pardon the bad pun) but I've found when I've tried to read his work that I need to read every single sentence about three times before I understand what he's saying. We read another one of his books for Book Chat, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, last year, and had a very low turn-out for the discussion. According to our minister, Knowing God is supposed to be even harder to read than that one.

So I'm wondering what I can do or suggest to make it easier for people. Should we each choose a chapter (any one we like) and report back on what we learned from that? Or are there particular chapters in it that are "must reads"?  Apparently it's based on a series of stand alone talks, so it doesn't sound as though you need to read one chapter before reading the next. And of course, reading the whole book is perfectly acceptable for those who can battle on through the density of the information.

Just putting it out there to the blogging world (Meredith, if you're reading, I know you've tackled it!), are there any particular chapters in Knowing God that you'd recommend for Packer novices to start off with?


Meredith said...

Go Karen! Definitely a big jump from Hughes to Packer. Packer in and of himself is not hard to read. But if you blink you miss it with him, because every sentence is important.

As you know, it took me about five months, on and off, to read right through it so it might be a good idea to pick and choose. My picks would be

Chapters two and three.
Chapters seven through to thirteen
And Chapter twenty two (the Romans 8 chapter)... one to take slowly, especially if read in isolation, but to enjoy.

I would say part two is the most accessible bit but if people didn't want to take on too much then just the first seven chapters (as I have listed) because the final four are pretty heavy - just look at the subject matter and you will see why. These later subjects are not ones to be avoided but if you are wanting to encourage people to read then the others are more uplifting.

It is a glorious book so good luck with it. I think if people are prepared to read at a slightly slower rate than with the Hughes book, and they love God, then they will be fine. Let us know how it goes.


Milika said...

Audio book.
I'd cracked Knowing God open a few times, but it was only when I started listening to the audio book that I made my way through most of Packer's density.

I downloaded during one of Christian Audio's free months. Currently it's $7.50 on their website.

Karen said...

Thanks so much ladies for the suggestions, and welcome Milika (don't think you've commented before?). It's great to have a few ideas to give people when they start telling me it's all too hard and they'll probably give the next discussion group a miss....
I bought the ebook last night and tried to start reading, but possibly not the best move to pull out at 10pm. It might have to be read at a more alert time of the day...

Petrina said...

I'm very interested to read Meredith's suggestions, having just started the audio book during my kitchen prep & cleanup times. I agree with 'blink & you'll miss it' - I've taken to listening to each chapter twice.