The Study of God

This entry is part 2 of 16 in the series The Attributes of God

In every order of magnitude, what is God telling us about Himself? He provides us with an abundance of gratuitous beauty—beauty that is not necessary but points to His creativity and reflects His glory. We see more of the natural world now than ever before, and the more we see, the more we are amazed. The complexity, the elegance, the beauty—naturalistic worldviews cannot account for these.

We have a narrative that points beyond creation to the Creator. As Christians, then, take time to notice the wonders of creation. The more you notice, the more you will realize you are immersed in the immense purposes of God. God’s capacities are boundless, and knowing Him is the greatest good. In His general revelation He reveals His divine power, but in His special revelation He reveals much more. The beauty we see in creation should drive us to seek to know Him in Scripture. Knowing God—not just in your head, but in your heart—will make all the difference in your life.

The Study of God

You are shaped by what you desire. So, if you desire to know God, you will be shaped by that desire. Unfortunately, we tend to have sloppy thought lives, flabby wills, and anemic intentions. We lack vitality in our desires, selling ourselves cheaply on the trinkets and baubles that this world offers. But only a holy desire to know God and a pursuit of Him will give us satisfaction.

Ask for the grace of holy desire. Take note of what you long for most, especially when your mind wanders. Submit those things to God, and pray that He would grant you a longing for Himself.

The more you study God, the more your desires and your mind will be expanded. It is a humbling and exalting pursuit. Seeking to know God will enlarge your sense of your identity, your purpose, and your hope.

Starting the Study

We may have a holy desire to know God, but where do we begin? In his book Knowing God, Packer gives us five truths as a starting point for the study of God, which I have adapted here:

  1. God has spoken to us through His Word about His salvation.
  2. He is the King over all things, and all things bring Him glory.
  3. God is our Savior and sovereignly chooses to bring us to salvation in Jesus.
  4. God is Triune in the Persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  5. We must respond to God as He has revealed Himself in His Word.

No other religion has these five truths; Christianity is unique in its claims. Every other religion is works-oriented, claiming that you must earn your way to God. But Christianity is different. It makes the claim that God had to come down to us in order to save us. We need His righteousness because our own will not suffice.

As we being the study of God, we need to remember that we are studying a person, not a system. God is not an object which we study but a person with whom we enter into relationship. As you study, then, invite God to lead you. Ask Him to increase your love of Him as you know Him better. The key to the study of God is realizing that we cannot do this on our own strength. We have to walk in the power of the Spirit in order to know God.

This study is based on A. W. Tozer’s book The Knowledge of the Holy and J. I. Packer’s Knowing God.

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