Saturday, March 24, 2012

Book Review: The Knowledge of the Holy

Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages.

From the preface: True religion confronts earth with heaven and brings eternity to bear upon time.

From chapter one: What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. 

Can a book be both theological and devotional? It's a tricky combination to pull off, I think. But A.W. Tozer's classic Knowledge of the Holy is one of the best examples I've ever read. It is both theological--of substance and depth--and devotional--written with the pure intent to make your heart love and love greatly your Lord and Savior. Why learn more about God? So you can love him more, so you can worship him in spirit and truth. Tozer is urging readers to meditate on God, to meditate on God's glory--his majesty. He's saying DELIGHT IN GOD.  His zeal shines through on this one just as it did in his book, Jesus, Our Man in Glory. It is a short book that I'd recommend to just about anyone. It is a book EVERY Christian needs to consider picking up. Even if you're not typically a reader of theology.

Knowledge of the Holy is very reader-friendly. Each chapter is short--just three or four pages, which is why I think it would be a great choice for a devotional. The content has weight to it--it is a book ABOUT God how could it be anything else? Yet. At the same time, it is written in a style that is simple and straight-forward. His message is significant--of much worth--and it's completely relevant. And I imagine this is a book that you could read again and again and still benefit from.

My favorite quotes:

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man's spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God. (1)

That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. (2)
What is God like? What kind of God is He? How may we expect Him to act toward us and toward all created things? Such questions are not merely academic. They touch the far-in reaches of the human spirit, and their answers affect life and character and destiny. When asked in reverence and their answers sought in humility, these are questions that cannot but be pleasing to our Father which are in heaven. (13)
To be right we must think rightly of God. It is morally imperative that we purge from our minds all ignoble concepts of the Deity and let Him be the God in our minds that He is in His universe. The Christian religion has to do with God and man, but its focal point is God, not man. (35)
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. To magnify any attribute to the exclusion of another is to head straight for one of the dismal swamps of theology; and yet we are all constantly tempted to do just that. (79)
We can hold a correct view of truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself. It is a grave responsibility that a man takes upon himself when he seeks to edit out of God's self-revelation such features as he in his ignorance deems objectionable. (80)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

hopeinbrazil said...

This is one of the books that offers new insights in each reading. A favorite!