Do you want to get to know God better? In that case, good news! I have decided to start a new series here on Understand the Bible. It’s been something I’ve had on my mind for a while, but I finally feel the time is right. I’ve been re-reading Jim Packer’s classic book Knowing God lately, and it’s struck me again how good it is to focus on God for a while. At the end of the day, that’s what the Christian life is all about – getting to know God. This is how Jesus described eternal life:
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.John 17:3
That’s the point of life – to know God. If we’re going to be spending eternity with him – we’re going to get to know him pretty well! And the best news is, we can start right away.
Why should we get to know God?
This is how the great preacher C.H. Spurgeon once started a sermon on this subject (Jim Packer quotes this in Knowing God):
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 Father.
… Oh, there is, in contemplating Christ, a balm for every wound; in musing on the Father, there is a quietus for every grief; and in the influence of the Holy Ghost, there is a balsam for every sore. 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.
Spurgeon could certainly turn a phrase! When we lift our eyes from our circumstances to God, it’s hugely comforting. We need to look less at ourselves and our situations and more at our Creator. Knowing God is not simply an intellectual exercise – although it’s good for our minds as it helps us to think – but it’s an immense comfort. When we see how big God is, we realise that he’s bigger than any of our problems!
How do we get to know God?
We primarily get to know God through studying his word, the Bible. God has revealed himself to us in his word, and we get to know him by reading it. However, in my experience, a bit of guidance can be very helpful in this regard: the truths about God are everywhere in the Bible. But there is no one place where God just comes out and says it all concisely. We need to dig a little and bring up lots of different places through the Bible.
This is where we need a roadmap, a guide, to help us navigate through the Bible clearly. For this series, I’m going to be using the Anglican 39 Articles. The very first article is, “Of Faith in the Holy Trinity”, which says:
THERE is but one living and true God, ever- lasting, without body, parts, or passions; of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the Maker, and Preserver of all things both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
OK, I know that’s quite dense! But as a framework, it’s great. It will help guide us as we start to look at who God is. We’re going to break it down and take it bit by bit.
Get to know God – roadmap
This is how I’m planning to break it down. God is…
- One – living and true
- Everywhere – without a body, spiritual
- Without parts – sometimes called God’s “simplicity” (don’t worry, I’ll explain)
- Impassible (without passions) – God is unable to suffer
- Infinitely powerful (omnipotent)
- Infinitely wise
- Infinitely good
- The maker and preserver of all things
- Three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Trinity)
In each part of the series we’ll look at the Bible and what it says, then we’ll think about what it means for us. In other words, this series will be practical. My aim is not just to help you to think about God, but to encourage your own faith.
Join in – let’s get to know God together!
I will be publishing these here on the blog over the coming weeks. Once they’re all done, I hope to turn this into a video course which can go into the Teaching Programme.
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