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Weakness Is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  482 ratings  ·  76 reviews
For Christians, weakness should be a way of life. Yet most of us try desperately to be sufficient on our own, and we resent our limitations and our needs.

Renowned theologian and Bible teacher J. I. Packer reflects on his experience of weakness--having been hit by a bread truck at a young age and now facing the realities of aging--in order to teach us the importance of embr
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published May 31st 2013 by Crossway Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Kerry Mcgonigal
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this little book by the title. I mean, who writes a book on weakness? Well, J. I. Packer evidently does. And whatever Packer writes about is typically well-written, insightful, and worth the time and effort to read.

I was also drawn to the book because I know how easy it is to try to conceal my own personal weaknesses in an effort to make people think I’m strong. But I’m not. Not physically. Not spiritually or emotionally. Not naturally anyway. And neither are you. So there’s no ne
vittore paleni
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
From the onset I want to say that this is a good and edifying book. It is solid and helpful. HOWEVER, this books is not at all what I expected, it was not something the publishers/blurbs/video suggested it would be. I was expecting something beefier from Packer. What I got, however, was, what seemed to be, a few edited sermons from 2nd Corinthians with a few sprinkled anecdotes. This book is a good and solid book, but, due to my preconceived notions about Packer, I expected more from Packer. Whe ...more
Dantrell Cotton
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Received this book from a friend and decided to read it as part of my night time routine. The super cool thing is that I was serendipitously reading 2 Corinthians, which he references quite a bit. I am new to Packer’s writing, and was thoroughly impressed and challenged. The moments where I felt weary and tired, Packer’s words helped recenter my focus. This is a book I’ll refer back to as I am sure that I only scratched the surface on the content presented. Next up, “Knowing God.”
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-testament, paul
J.I. Packer knows something about weakness. As a child he suffered a near fatal accident when hit by a truck. He had to wear a steel plate over a hole in his head for a year (incidentally, the injury kept him out of World War II and sent him off to Oxford. How’s that for providence!). Now that he is ‘well advanced in years’ he has to deal with aging, mortality, and convalescing from a hip replacement surgery. The apostle Paul also knew something about weakness. He suffered his share of persecuti ...more
Brandi Breezee
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Look forward and look to Christ.” Yes, and Amen! Christ is the hope that sustains us, so let us be of good courage. A short encouraging read.
Dan Glover
Anyone who has seen the publisher's promo video for this book might be forgiven for thinking it is a brief autobiographical sketch of the life of J.I. Packer. It is not. This is a relatively short but very practical, devotional, and edifying exposition of the main themes and thrusts of Paul's second letter to the Corinthian church.

2 Corinthians is usually considered the least understood of Paul's letters, perhaps because it is his least didactic and most intimately personal letter. 2 Corinthians
David Kakish
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
Let me start by saying, after watching this video, it was likely that nothing short of a masterpiece could have lived up to my expectations of this book.

See what I mean...

If you’ve never experienced a Packer book before and are considering this as your first read, might I suggest you pick up a different work– maybe Knowing God or Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. If you have read Packer before, then it’s likely that you too have been impacted by his h
Joshua D.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is likely J.I Packer's last book; he lost his eyesight in his old age during the last year. And what a fitting end to his career. While an intellectual giant, he was a kind and gentle leader. His influence on evangelical thought in the English speaking world is hard to overstate, and yet he has always resisted the megalomania that the modern evangelical celebrity culture has produced.

Weakness is the Way is a book length reflection on the theme of "weakness" in Paul's second letter to the C
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Came across this little book at my dad's house and finished it off the same day. I love reading Packer, so it is the kind of thing where my appreciation for the author has determined before I even crack the cover that I will love this book.

I have two main thoughts as a result of reading this book: First, it was not what I expected (and unlike some readers and reviewers here I did not even see the trailer for the book which was even more misleading than the title). I expected more personal refle
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very helpful book for anyone who feels their weaknesses and desires to honor God in the midst of them. Working through 2 Corinthians, Packer describes the Christian way of life as a walk of weakness. But our call, he says, is to acknowledge our weakness and humbly turn to Christ for strength and grace. Surprisingly, he dedicates a whole chapter on financial giving. Our temptation can be to turn to money in weakness, but God calls us to do just the opposite and learn the skill of Christ ...more
Michelle Earl
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Mr. Packer’s commentary on second Corinthians brings about a whole new understanding of weakness, God’s glory in and through us, hope, and financial giving (that last one I did not expect to have in there but I feel both challenged and renewed and my vision for generosity). Highly recommend this read if you feel tempted in any way to hide your weaknesses, because weak people are whom exactly God chooses to use.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Good overview of Paul’s theology of weakness in 2 Corinthians. However I was hoping for a little more in the practical Theology area on this one. All in all a good book though.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
An expositor's work on 2 Corinthians. ...more
Jared Wilson
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very quick read. Not Packer's best but even his "good" is better than almost anybody's best. The last chapter especially is great. ...more
T.C. Robinson
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
An Overview

Packer’s little book is made up of four well-written chapters, based on 2 Corinthians, around the truth–that the way of true spiritual strength, leading to real fruitfulness in Christian life and service, is the humble, self-distrustful way of consciously recognized weakness in spiritual things.” Packer defines “weakness” as inadequacy, whether physically, spiritually, and so on.

Chapter One: About Weakness. This chapter is really an introduction, a road map, to where Packer is going i
Tim Hoiland
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: faith, anglican, 2014
When J.I. Packer was a young boy, he was hit by a bread truck. The injuries were serious—he had damage to the frontal lobe of his brain and a hole in his skull—landing him in the hospital for three weeks and out of school for six months. When he returned to the classroom, he did so wearing a metal plate to cover the dent in his head. Never again could he play with his peers outside.

Packer is now 87 years old, and is likely nearing the final years of his life. But a lot has happened in these 80 i
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
The world system encourages us to be strong and self-sufficient. Weakness is looked upon as being poor in character and to be avoided.
Packer explains in Weakness Is the Way, that at some point in our life we will become older and weak. We understand growing older, but we fail to see that at every point in our life we are already weak in sin. We are "disabled" in being able to fix ourselves. Packer states, "we are helpless," and he encourages us to "embrace our helplessness, and God's suf
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This short book is based on Paul's second letter to the Corinthian church. Packer covers the concept of weakness using Paul and also how he himself has been impacted by it in his own life. He then explores it using Paul's words in 2 Corinthians via three practical applications: our calling, in our giving, and hope for the future.

I particularly enjoyed the first two chapters but found the final two a little hard going. However, both contain excellent teaching and require great attention to grab t
Chris McGrath
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
The book description is not very accurate here. The book itself is actually a commentary on 2 Corinthians, and while I appreciate the added context of the letter and a careful exploration of the intents and themes, weakness as a way of life is only barely mentioned in the actual content of the book. The book also happens to be extremely short, no more than a couple of chapters, really, so I didn't waste too much time on it. But I think the title is unfortunate because I came to it with an expect ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is a decent work but not always on theme. I was expecting more.

It turns out this is basically a devotional commentary on parts of 2 Corinthians. That fact should have been prominently disclosed by the publishers right on the cover itself.

Furthermore the work itself was sub-Packer. It was decent but we're used to more and better from this eminent writer.

Overall, somewhat disappointed.
Ron Sharp
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Brief thoughts from 2 Corinthians. I was expecting something more topical from the video trailer, but was not disappointed. Tremendous encouragement to finish well, even if weak.
Rose on aish
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
The author of this book defines at the beginning the word "weakness" with biblical and personal experiences. Paul's example of weakness seen in 1st and 2nd Corinthians is being used to show the example of how God's people handle both spiritual and physical weakness. Paul is appealing to his apostolic calling and shows love for the Corinthians by being sincere with them, because they question his honesty and calling. That's why he reassures them of his authority and God’s affirmation of his minis ...more
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
This little book by the inimitable J. I. Packer is a series of 4 reflections on 2 Corinthians. It felt a little uneven to me - of course, it could have been my own distractedness that contributed to that. I most appreciated chapter 1 - the focus on weakness as the Christian way of life - and chapter 4 - the hope that we have in our weakness. 2 Corinthians is one of my very favorite epistles, and it was interesting to me to see which aspects of the letter Packer emphasized and focused
Aaron Beane
Oct 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Packers exposition in chapter 3 on Paul’s Corinthian correspondence is worth the entire book. His explanation of living in present weaknesses from the confident hope of our future inheritance, produced in me the desire to trust in Christ trustworthiness in all areas of my life. It caused moments of ache in my heart to be where Christ is, and gave strength to endure present sufferings in order to experience Christ more. His handling of being good stewards with our money and how that fits into his ...more
Elizabeth Bridcut
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
This is a meditation on Paul's 2nd (well, the second we have) letter to the Corinthian Chrristians. Paul is writing out of a position of great weakness and it is in this letter Paul shares his revelation that "[the Lord's] power is made perfect in weakness". This book is beautifully and clearly written. Here's my quotable quote "We are on oour way home, and home will be glorious. And contemplating that glory, however inadequately we do it, will brace minds and hearts to resist the weakening effe ...more
Brianna Bratrud
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“When the world tells us, as it does, that everyone has a right to a life that is easy, comfortable, and relatively pain-free, a life that enables us to discover, display, and deploy all the strengths that are latent within us, the world twists the truth right out of shape. That was not the quality of life to which Christ’s calling led him, nor was it Paul’s calling, nor is it what we are called to in the twenty-first century. For all Christians, the likelihood is rather that as our discipleship ...more
Reginald Detabali
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Driven with the title of the book, I did not hesitate to read on. But I was honestly expecting more of Packer's brilliancy on serving the title more coherently.

But I am amazed how Packer has faithfully expounded 2 Corinthians' letter of Paul, explaining the background of what was really happening of the Corinthian believers and how they fell in love with "strength" apart from Christ's grace. The author has made some helpful points on the meaning of "weakness" as a way of Christian life for the g
Apr 06, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: jesus, audiobooks
I am not sure if this is because I read the audiobook version, but this book felt disjointed. This book was an analysis of 2 Corinthians, of giving and apostleship primarily. There was little to do with weakness, vulnerability, or the limitations of humanity. The most interesting part was when Packer talked about his own experiences with greater weaknesses, most of which have come with age. It was only a minute or so, but I wish I could have read that book, not this one. In other words, the titl ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
J.I. Packer went to be home with the Lord on July 27th, 20
And crossway gave this book away for free as a tribute to him, and its the providence of God that I am thinking about 2 Corinthians when I downloaded this book to start reading it and I found out that it’s about 2 Corinthians!!
Great book, short, simple and rich of illustrations!
Highly recommend.
Will Dole
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was not what I anticipated; I was anticipating a more extended meditation upon the topic of weakness, whereas this book is actually a meditation upon Paul's second letter to the Corinthian church, with particular application to weakness. Which is probably what I needed.

Packer is always lucid, incisive, and to the point, and this book is no different.
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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

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81 likes · 11 comments
“and ongoing embrace of his incarnate Son as perfectly righteous, to be honored accordingly, embraces us with him, for his sake, by virtue of what he has done for us. This, then, is the divinely devised method of our reconciliation, as Paul sets it forth.     THE MESSENGERS OF RECONCILIATION Paul speaks repeatedly of the messengers of this reconciliation. Observe the following statements: God . . . gave us the ministry of reconciliation . . . entrusting” 3 likes
“as signs of inadequacy and weakness, they look on wealth as a source of stability and strength. Our proud hearts shrink from weakness, real or fancied, in all its forms, as we have already noted, and they embrace whatever looks like strength, including the goal and the reality of affluence. The” 1 likes
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