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J. I. Packer (1926–2020) has gone home to be with the Savior he loved. In addition to being an influential theologian, Packer was a prolific writer whose books sparked deeper love for God in generations of Christians.

Here are 40 of my favorite J. I. Packer quotes.


“Readiness to die is the first step in learning to live.”

“There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them, and that this relationship guarantees God’s favor to them in life, through death and on for ever.”

“Adoption is the highest privilege of the gospel. The traitor is forgiven, brought in for supper, and given the family name. To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is greater.”

“Were I asked to focus the New Testament message in three words, my proposal would be adoption through propitiation, and I do not expect ever to meet a richer or more pregnant summary of the gospel than that.”

“Knowing God is a relationship calculated to thrill a man’s heart.”

“To know that nothing happens in God’s world apart from God’s will may frighten the godless, but it stabilizes the saints.”

“Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.”

“I believe that prayer is the measure of the man, spiritually, in a way that nothing else is.”

“The Christian’s motto should not be ‘Let go and let God’ but ‘Trust God and get going.’”

“People treat God’s sovereignty as a matter of controversy, but in Scripture it is a matter of worship.”

“There is tremendous relief in knowing his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can disillusion him about me.”

“We never move on from the gospel; we move on in the gospel.”

“If you ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ no light may come, but if you ask, ‘How am I to glorify God now?’ there will always be an answer.”

“For the Christian, the best is always yet to be. . . . Our Father’s wealth is immeasurable, and we will inherit the entire estate.”

Photo of Dr. J.I. Packer

“I need not torment myself with the fear that my faith may fail; as grace led me to faith in the first place, so grace will keep me believing to the end. Faith, both in its origin and continuance, is a gift of grace.”

“All Christians believe in divine sovereignty. On our feet we may have arguments about it, but on our knees we are all agreed.”

“Doctrinal preaching certainly bores the hypocrites; but it is only doctrinal preaching that will save Christ’s sheep.”

“In the New Testament, grace means God’s love in action toward people who merited the opposite of love. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending his only Son to the cross to descend into hell so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven.”

“Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”

“He that has learned to feel his sins, and to trust Christ as a Savior, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity.”

“Calvary’s saving power does not depend on faith being added to it; its saving power is such that faith flows from it.”

“The Puritan ethic of marriage was first to look not for a partner whom you do love passionately at this moment but rather for one whom you can love steadily as your best friend for life, then to proceed with God’s help to do just that.”

“‘Father’ is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.”

“Every view of Scripture proves, on analysis, to be bound up with an overall view of God and man.”

“The healthy Christian is not necessarily the extrovert, ebullient Christian, but the Christian who has a sense of God’s presence stamped deep on his soul, who trembles at God’s word, who lets it dwell in him richly by constant meditation upon it, and who tests and reforms his life daily in response to it.”

“A half truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth.”

“The Scriptures are the lifeline God throws us in order to ensure he and we stay connected while the rescue is in process.”

“‘Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.”

“The traveler through the Bible landscape misses his way as soon as he loses sight of the hill called Calvary.”

“Few of us live daily on the edge of eternity in the conscious way the Puritans did, and we lose out as a result.”

“I do not want to believe [in hell], but I dare not disbelieve it.”

“The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity—hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory—because at the Father’s will Jesus Christ became poor, and was born in a stable, so that 30 years later he might hang on a cross.”

“In Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God saves sinners.”

“God loves all in some ways, and God loves some in all ways.”

“God uses chronic pain and weakness, along with other afflictions, as his chisel for sculpting our lives. Felt weakness deepens dependence on Christ for strength each day. The weaker we feel, the harder we lean. And the harder we lean, the stronger we grow spiritually, even while our bodies waste away. To live with your ‘thorn’ uncomplainingly—that is, sweet, patient, and free in heart to love and help others, even though every day you feel weak—is true sanctification. It is true healing for the spirit. It is a supreme victory of grace.”

“The proper aim of preaching is to mediate meetings with God.”

“Application is the preacher’s highway from the head to the heart.”

“The church no more gave us the New Testament canon than Sir Isaac Newton gave us the force of gravity.”

“The life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration.”

“Optimism hopes for the best without any guarantee of its arriving and is often no more than whistling in the dark. Christian hope, by contrast, is faith looking ahead to the fulfillment of the promises of God. . . . Optimism is a wish without warrant; Christian hope is a certainty, guaranteed by God himself. Optimism reflects ignorance as to whether good things will ever actually come. Christian hope expresses knowledge that every day of his life, and every moment beyond it, the believer can say with truth, on the basis of God’s own commitment, that the best is yet to come.”


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