Book Review: “The Knowledge of the Holy”

My wife and I recently finished reading A.W. Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy”, and I figured it would be a good opportunity to write my first book review.

The book itself is very short (117 pages in my edition), and could potentially be read in a single sitting. Allison and I finished it in three weeks by reading a single chapter each night. Since the material is at times a bit heavy, this might be the better approach.

A.W. Tozer

Tozer spends each chapter reflecting on a specific quality of God – His infinitude, immutability, wisdom, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, holiness, and so forth. In the process, Tozer explains how all of these qualities are inevitably linked together. I couldn’t begin to do the author justice, so I’ve collected below a few short passages:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry, for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is – in itself a monstrous sin – and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges…A god begotten in the shadows of a fallen heart will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true God.”

‎”If by ‘practical men’ we mean unbelieving men engrossed in secular affairs and indifferent to the claims of Christ, the welfare of their own souls, or the interests of the world to come, then for them [knowledge of God’s immutability] can have no meaning at all…But while such men may be in the majority, they do not by any means compose the whole of the population. There are still the seven thousand who have not bowed their knees to Baal.”

“The unbelieving mind would not be convinced by any proof and the worshipping heart needs none.”

“I think it might be demonstrated that almost every heresy that has afflicted the church through the years has arisen from believing about God things that are not true, or from overemphasizing certain true things so as to obscure other things equally true…For instance, the Bible teaches that God is love; some have interpreted this in such a way as virtually to deny that He is just, which the Bible also teaches.”

Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! I considered creating some sort of “rating system” for future book reviews…but in all honesty, I only have enough motivation to write about the ones that I really enjoy.

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11 thoughts on “Book Review: “The Knowledge of the Holy”

  1. I’m pretty sure I have read just about everything that Tozer wrote, and “Knowledge of the Holy” would be at the very top of the list second only to “The Pursuit of God.” This is such an important book. When I read “could potentially read in a single setting” I was amazed until I was pleased that you said it took three weeks. As you well know this is not a book to be read but to be digested. In the introduction there is a statement that I have quoted so many times that I could not even begin to count–“What comes into your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you.” Great book and thanks for the review. By the way, if you go with the standard 5 star review I would say this one deserves at least a 6 or a 7. 🙂

  2. I listened to several sermons by Tozer very early on as a Christian, and then went on to read just about everything he’s written. I’m so grateful to God for this man. Thanks for the review. There’s a biography about him that’s also very good, and a History lecture on my website that’s well worth a listen.

  3. “I think it might be demonstrated that almost every heresy that has afflicted the church through the years has arisen from believing about God things that are not true, or from overemphasizing certain true things so as to obscure other things equally true…For instance, the Bible teaches that God is love; some have interpreted this in such a way as virtually to deny that He is just, which the Bible also teaches.”

    -Love this quote! Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Keep up the good work!

    -Joseph

  4. A great review…and the title of the book on its own speaks entire volumes. Tozer shone a bold light on God’s Word. In today’s age of deception when many churches are falling into every grave heresy imaginable, we need to return to a study of these classic teachings. Thank you!

  5. Awesome review. This makes me want to read the book. I actually downloaded a pdf of the book a couple of weeks ago when I heard David Platt bring it up in one of his sermons for T4G. This might be something awesome for my wife and me to read as well.

  6. Pingback: Our Gentle God Loves Kindness « Broken Believers

  7. Pingback: Our Gentle God Loves Kindness | Broken Believers ♥

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