J. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life

By Leland Ryken, Afterword by J. I. Packer

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J. I. Packer: An Evangelical Life

By Leland Ryken, Afterword by J. I. Packer

... Show All

Over the last sixty years, J. I. Packer has exerted a steady and remarkable influence on evangelicalism. In this biography, well-known scholar Leland Ryken acquaints us with Packer’s life, heart, and mind, tracing the outworking of God’s sovereign plan through his childhood, intellectual pursuits, and professional life. Filled with personal anecdotes and little-known facts, this appreciative volume sheds light on the key themes that have given shape to Packer’s life and thought, highlighting his enduring significance for Christians today.


Leland Ryken

Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for nearly fifty years. He served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version Bible and has authored or edited over sixty books, including The Word of God in English and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible.

Product Details

Category: History & Biography
Format: Hardcover w/ Jacket
Page Count: 432
Size: 6.0 in x 9.0 in
Weight: 25.4 ounces
ISBN-10: 1-4335-4252-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-4335-4252-7
ISBN-UPC: 9781433542527
Case Quantity: 24
Published: October 31, 2015

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Life

Early Life and College (1926–1948)

  1. Childhood and Teen Years (1926–1944)
  2. The College Years (1944–1948)

Theological Education and Ministry (1948–1954)

  1. The Post-College Year (1948–1949)
  2. Graduate Student in Oxford (1949–1952)
  3. Ministry (1952–1954)
  4. Courtship and Marriage (1952–1954)

Professional Life in England (1955–1979)

  1. Tyndale Hall, Bristol (1955–1961)
  2. Latimer House, Oxford (1961–1970)
  3. Return to the Academic Life (1970–1972)
  4. Trinity College, Bristol (1972–1979)

Professional Life in North America (1979 to the Present)

  1. From England to Canada (1978–1979)
  2. Regent College (1979 to the Present)
  3. Christianity Today (1958 to the Present)

Part 2: The Man

  1. A Portrait of the Man
  2. The Little-Known Packer
  3. What Packer’s Style and Rhetoric Tell Us about Him

Part 3: Lifelong Themes

  1. The Bible
  2. The Puritans
  3. Writing
  4. Anglicanism
  5. Theology
  6. Preaching and the Minister’s Calling
  7. Controversy

Afterword: J. I. Packer Reflects on His Life


“This book offers a full and balanced portrait of a diligent and faithful theologian. But because J. I. Packer’s theology has always been pastoral, practical, catechetical, and eminently readable—instead of recondite, esoteric, or merely academic—it is appropriate that this welcome volume is itself down-to-earth, accessible, and reader friendly. Leland Ryken, as a veteran student of the Puritans, is the ideal author to write about the most influential Puritan of our time.”
Mark Noll, Research Professor of History, Regent College; author, America’s Book: The Rise and Decline of a Bible Civilization, 1794–1911

“This book is a fascinating, insightful, and, to my mind, precisely accurate portrait of the same Jim Packer whom I have known for more than thirty-five years. What a joy to read this book and be challenged by Packer’s remarkable life!”
Wayne Grudem, Distinguished Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary

“Without a doubt, this is now the definitive, most up-to-date biography of J. I. Packer, and it deserves high praise. With the sensitivity, wisdom, and sheer humanity that a fine biographer needs, Leland Ryken allows us to see the life, mind, and heart of this quiet but highly influential man. Traversing the notoriously complex and hazardous terrain of UK and US evangelicalism with impressive sure-footedness, Ryken not only helps us understand the man and his context, but ourselves as evangelicals.”
Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology, United Kingdom

“A friendly portrait of a great evangelical, the man behind the headlines, full of insight into Packer’s genius as a brilliant communicator of the Reformed faith.”
Andrew Atherstone, Latimer Research Fellow, Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford

“It is such a pleasure to read Leland Ryken’s biography of Dr. Jim Packer. Personally, I have been deeply blessed by Dr. Packer’s writing and teaching ministry for over fifty years since, as a student, I picked up “Fundamentalism” and the Word of God. I can also testify that his Knowing God was most often nominated by my seminary students as a work that profoundly influenced them. To be able to read about the man himself and to understand how God gifted and shaped him has been a moving and edifying experience. This is a good book about a great man.”
Peter Jensen, former Archbishop of Sydney

“J. I. Packer is chief among the cadre of impressive British thinkers who have had a shaping influence on evangelical Christianity in North America over the past half-century. Indeed, his influence girdles the globe, and it shows no sign of abating as this great theologian approaches his tenth decade. This new biography builds on earlier Packer studies, but it offers distinctive insights into the humanity and ministry of a life lived well, with grace abounding and wisdom from above.”
Timothy George, Distinguished Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“For evangelicals, J. I. Packer stands as one of the foremost theological leaders of this generation. His writings have illuminated the minds of countless Christians with the clarity of the Bible’s teaching. He has answered our questions, provoked our thinking, expanded our understanding, and always pointed us to Christ. I’m so glad that Crossway has produced this biography of the man behind the words.”
Phillip D. Jensen, Bible Teacher and Evangelist, Two Ways Ministries

“Not every life warrants a book-length biography. But then, J. I. Packer’s is no ordinary life. Widely and justifiably regarded as one of the most influential evangelical theologians and Christian statesmen of the last one-hundred years, this meticulously written and remarkably insightful biography of one of my personal heroes deserves a wide reading. Packer’s impact on the Church will be felt and seen for years to come and I happily applaud Leland Ryken’s perceptive portrait of this truly great Christian man. I cannot recommend this too highly.”
Sam Storms, Founder and President, Enjoying God Ministries