A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
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A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  1,038 ratings  ·  25 reviews
J. I. Packer has had a long-standing passion for the Puritans. Their understanding of God and His ways with man has largely formed his own spirituality and theological outlook. In A Quest for Godl
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 15th 1994 by Crossway Books (first published 1990)
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This is part of a book review I wrote for both Knowing God and Quest for Godliness. I have tried to save the 5 stars for truly outstanding books. I encourage you to read this.

...In Dr. Packer’s A Quest for Godliness, he first goes through the rich history of the Puritans. He then writes about the Puritans and their views on Christian foundations (the Bible, the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, etc) and how the depth of their works and life should be used today. Our readings for this book focused a lot o...more
Joshua Smith
A solid treatment of the Puritan life. Before I read this book I thought that Puritans were backwards and strange, but I have come to fully appreciate their zeal for gospel ministry. They have actually become my personal heroes, and I owe it mostly to this book. Great book for anyone interested in theology. It applies as much today as it did 300-400 years ago. This is just an introduction to Puritan theology, and it should spur deeper interest in their writings.
Often times the subject of spirituality has Protestants turning to Catholic and Anabaptist mystics. What a shame. Protestants have a rich heritage of heart-felt spirituality that avoids the errors and excess of the mystics. We have the Puritans. This volume is far more than an introduction to the spirituality of the Puritans. It is a passionate call to what they called "experimental religion" - a faith that is thoroughly biblical, doctrinally rich, and passionate.
Becky Pliego
Packer does a great job in explaining how the Puritans view life, and how they lived it. This is a must read for those who love to quote the Puritans, but know nothing about them.

"Scripture teaches us our duty. Its instruction is for practice. It must be studied, therefore, for the purpose of setting our lives in order. And God will only prosper our study if we continually exercise ourselves to live by what we learn. Then our knowledge will deepen and expand; but otherwise it will run out into...more
This is a book that I would encourage anyone who is even remotely interested in theology to read. It is basically a history of the Puritans, told in a more devotional and encouraging style than a simple history book. Packer’s chapter on John Owen’s The Death of Death in the Death of Christ is worth the price of the book alone. This is an excellent book on these true giants in the faith.
Loved this book. Love the Puritans. For all those who think they were stuffy Christians who just told people what not to do, should read this book. They were the cool, young christians of their day - except they held theology and the discipline in the Christian life as something exciting and not 'life sucking'
Derek Brown
In 336 densely packed pages and over several chapters, Packer, in his book, 'A Quest for Godliness,' brings the reader face to face with many different facets of Puritan life and ministry with historical precision and keen theological insight. Packer insists that an encounter like this with the Puritans is essential for Christians today who have all but lost any true sense of what Puritans believed, lived for, and sought to give to the church.

In an introductory chapter, Packer explains why we ne...more
I had a bit of a hard time getting into this book. The first few chapters are evidently taken wholesale from various magazines and papers with the result that some of it is repetitive, sometimes almost word for word. I was surprised that it was not edited to flow better. Having said that, I thought it was a great introduction to the Puritans. Packer obviously loves the Puritans and tries his best to make you love them too. I was already appreciative of them so I was not a hard sell, but my appre...more
This book was absolutely fabulous. If you intend to read the writings of the Puritans themselves, this book is an excellent introduction and provides context. Even if you never intend to read the Puritan authors, this book will give you a good understanding of the gold that they offer. Word of warning for those, you will probably want to read them after finishing this book.

J. I. Packer has done a wonderful job collecting quotations and speaking to the general Puritan consensus on a number of top...more
Andy Ward
Reading Packer's love fest on the Puritans again, this time with less awe on my part. Don't get me wrong, the Puritans are great, but Packer goes a little overboard with his praise.
Excellent take on the Puritans and their vision and life. Also available as a series of lectures from RTS Florida.
Packer clearly describes the Puritans and their holistic approach to God. He discusses in detail how the Puritans built their lives around the LORD. The portrait he paints is very different from the stigmatized version of Puritanism that is popular today. I would say his main point is that the Puritans were more mature Christians than most of today's Christians and that we have much to learn from them.
Jacob Aitken
One of the first reformed books I read. I am not the neo-Puritan I used to be, but this book is important to me if for no other reason than nostalgic ones.

It's probably best known for Packer's famous essay on Owen's Death of Death. I do not hold to Limited Atonement, but this essay (and Owen's book) is probably one of the finest *logical* defenses of it.
Rod Culbertson
When it comes to understanding the Puritans as a group, one will never regret turning to J.I.Packer. This book is a succinct yet thorough treatment of Puritan beliefs, practices and life. Readable and insightful. One is enabled to understand the Puritans better and to benefit from their devotion as well as from their weaknesses.
This should challenge perceptions of the Puritans as dour fanatics. My quote on marriage is from this book. After reading this, I wish I had been raised with this worldview from the outset. A really good overview of how we should all view the Christian life.
Steven Wedgeworth
Something of a caricature of what Puritanism was all about, but it still reads well as a devotional and popular Christian manual.
Ash Giri
Very informative introduction to Puritanism, although I must say that I can hardly stand Packer's writing style.
Bauer Evans
Exceptional introduction to the Puritans, by a trusted theologian, superb writer, and devoted follower of Christ
Motivating, full of things that spur you on. I need to read this again. It gets you out of 'self' mode.
Michael Moyles
Great exposé of the Puritans, and great insight into how their piety can be applied to our lives. Well done.
Paul Jeon
A intro to the life and thought of the Puritans. Also, a reminder to guard against chronological snobbery.
Excellent! Good introduction to Puritans, as well as containing many insights by Dr. Packer himself.
Walt Murray
Not the easiest book you will ever read, but the content is fantastic.
Mike Hyatt
Read while in seminary.
A superb book. This is one of the few books that I have read more than 3 times.
Nolan Tenholder
Nolan Tenholder marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
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  • Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were
  • The Bruised Reed
  • Overcoming Sin & Temptation
  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
  • A Body of Divinity: Contained in Sermons upon the Westminster Assembly's Catechism
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
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  • The Religious Affections
  • The Practice of Godliness
  • Systematic Theology
  • The Holy Spirit (Contours of Christian Theology, #6)
  • Christianity and Liberalism
  • Putting Amazing Back into Grace: Embracing the Heart of the Gospel
  • According to Plan
  • The Christ of the Covenants
What do J. I. Packer, Billy Graham and Richard John Neuhaus have in common? Each was recently named by TIME magazine as among the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.

Dr. Packer, the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College, was hailed by TIME as “a doctrinal Solomon” among Protestants. “Mediating debates on everything from a particular Bible translation to the acceptabi...more
More about J.I. Packer...
Knowing God Evangelism & the Sovereignty of God Concise Theology In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God

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