Over this past weekend, World magazine carried this story on the reading habits of noted Anglican theologian, professor, and writer J.I. Packer (Jan.2, 2016). It is taken from the recent Crossway publication on Packer by Leland Ryken (see image here).
If you are wondering what books have been most influential in Packer’s life – and therefore, worth reading – read on.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to pledge to read more and to read better. What books have been influential in your life? And what will you read this year that will make an influence (for good!) in your Christian life?
RELIGION | Excerpts from a new biography of theologian J.I. Packer
J.I. Packer is regularly asked about the major books in his life, and the lists that he generates on those occasions fall into two categories—books that influenced him most and books that he reads every year.
In a recent interview, Packer was asked, “Which books have made the greatest impact on you?” He prefaced his reply with a characteristic bit of understatement: “Well, that’s a difficult question because I have read a lot of books.” The ensuing list is as follows, in the order that Packer followed in the interview: (1) John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion; (2) Bishop J.C. Ryle, Holiness; (3) John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress; (4) Richard Baxter, multiple books, but chiefly The Reformed Pastor; and (5) John Owen, Indwelling Sin and The Mortification of Sin, “but it’s a shame not to mention Justification; The Holy Spirit; and The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.”
If you wish to (re)visit a post I did a few years back on an interview that Carl Trueman did with Packer, go here. There too he speaks about the influence of the Puritans on his doctrines and life.