Kelli Sallman on J. I. Packer: The Man Who Helped Us Know God

James Innell Packer, known to friends as Jim and to millions as J.I. Packer, died July 17 at the age of 93. A highly respected theologian and prolific writer, he authored more than 165 works, including one of the all-time bestselling Christian books, Knowing God (1973).

To Marcus Avery, he was a gift used by the Holy Spirit to salvage his life. For over 15 years, Avery read daily in select books about the doctrine of God, books by A.W. Tozer, Arthur Pink, Stephen Charnock, and, of course, Packer. A once “wayward son without Christ as first love,” he said, “I discovered through the writings of these spiritual giants that God was good and desirable and enjoyable.” So, as he came to know Packer through many phone conversations during the past three years, his gratitude for the privilege of Packer’s mentorship sometimes broke through in heartfelt tears.