The Pursuit of Holiness
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The Pursuit of Holiness

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  10,027 ratings  ·  185 reviews
"Be holy, for I am holy," commands God. But holiness is something that is often missed in the Christian's daily life. According to Navigator author Jerry Bridges, that's because we're not exactly sure what our part in holiness is.In The Pursuit of Holiness, he helps us see clearly just what we should rely on God to do--and what we should take responsibility for ourselves....more
ebook, 160 pages
Published February 27th 2014 by NavPress Publishing Group (first published 1978)
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In The Pursuit of Holiness, author Jerry Bridges urges us to live a life of obedience to God, striving for increasing victory over sin. The first few chapters define and argue the need for holiness. The rest of the book includes exhortation and practical tips for attaining greater holiness.

I listened to the audiobook version. Narration is as important as writing style when you’re listening to a book and while narration was competent I found it somewhat bland. I think this somewhat diminished my...more
The Chestertonian (Sarah G)

Jerry Bridges paints a fairly familiar picture in this book: new Christian enthusiastically expects his faith to carry him above sin, and quickly realizes the surprising truth that the Christian life doesn't actually work that way. He falls into despair because if he was really a Christian, he should be walking in victory, right? And then there are all those well-meaning people ready to assure that struggling Christian that there is no need to be concerned because "Christ has already done everyt...more
If you consider that the Number One attribute of God is Holiness and the first Commandment He gives us is to love Him, pursuing this virtue makes perfect sense. In fact, the author asks, why don't we hear more about this? Why are we so complacent about our own sanctity? Are we expecting Him to take care of it for us or do we think there's not much we can do?

Holiness is not a word most of us use in our everyday conversations and it does look a little like the author has been trying to be pun-ny...more
I recently had the opportunity to review The Pursuit of Holiness by Dr. Jerry Bridges. If you've read my reviews of several of his other books, you know that I really appreciate his writing. Dr. Bridges is able to communicate and practically apply biblical truth very effectively, with a humility and grace rarely seen. The Pursuit of Holiness is no exception. The book is definitely deserving of it's reputation as a "modern classic"!

While his book Transforming Grace emphasized God's grace in our C...more
Josh Morgan
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (

I recently received a complimentary copy of Jerry Bridges' audiobook version of The Pursuit of Holiness in order to review it (without any expectation of a positive review, as will be obvious here :) ). I had several theological problems with this book that bleed over to the larger issues of some of holiness movements. Let's go through these by way of some of Bridges' central points:

Factual certainty i...more
Beth Peninger
3.5 stars
I worked for the Navigator's in the 1990's. Part of my time with them was with NavPress so Jerry Bridges is a familiar author/name to me. Despite that exposure to him, and other Navigator authors, it has taken me until now to read even one of his books - considered by some to be classics regarding the life of a believer in God.
In this book, first written and published in the late 1970's, Bridges tackles the mystery of living a holy life. Holiness is one of those spiritual disciplines t...more
Excellent book by a long-time Navigator that I worked with for two years and admired back in the early 1970s. It's been good to follow his writings. This was his first book, which I read soon after it came out in 1978. We just finished it, using the study guide, at our Wednesday night ladies' Bible study. The big emphasis of the book is that we don't understand the proper distinction between God's provision and our own responsibility for holiness. God has made the provision and empowers us throu...more
John Gardner
I waited far too long to read this book... but better late than never!

Jerry Bridges' now-classic book on holiness has instantly vaulted up my list of must-read recommendations. It is the perfect blend of biblical exposition and practical application, which treads the delicate balance between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility.

Drawing on a metaphor from the world of farming (a tactic borrowed from Christ's earthly ministry), Bridges teaches that holiness is a joint venture between God and...more
I first read this book as a freshman in college, after hearing and responding to the gospel for the first time. I remember that this book had a big impact on me then, so it was with no small curiosity and anticipation that I went back to this book recently.

This is a good book, with a solid, biblical call to holiness. Bridges' style is straightforward and engaging, and this book is short enough to be read in a handful of sittings. But the truths discussed in the book are deep, and reading a singl...more
Jun 18, 2014 Debra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Christians
Excellent! This is a must-read for all Christians. It's challenging. It's encouraging. It's very readable. This has been a life-changing book for me, and one I will read again and again.

Book Description:
“Be holy, for I am holy,” commands God. But holiness is something that is often missed in the Christian’s daily life. According to Navigator author Jerry Bridges, that’s because we’re not exactly sure what our part in holiness is.

In The Pursuit of Holiness, he helps us see clearly just what we sh...more
Timothy Stone
The Pursuit of Holiness is one of those modern stalwarts read by many evangelicals the past quarter century or so since it's publication. The book is a short, but very thorough, book that deals with the subject (obviously, given the title) of holiness.

I decided to read the book after seeing a friend's review of it, and I must say that I was both surprised and convicted. I was surprised in how much about the subject of holiness I did not know about. How much, indeed, I would argue very few Christ...more
Every person who claims to be a Christian or follower of Christ at some point in their life should read this book. This book is so important and fundamental that it will change your thinking about holiness forever. I wish I heard about this book seventeen years ago.
Alexis Neal
This book kicked my butt. Bridges is hard-hitting and insightful. His view of sin and holiness is uncompromising but not legalistic. I am extremely convicted, and plan to revisit this book many times in the future.
Jenny Carr
Excellent. Very thought provoking, readable, and down to earth. He draws from Puritan wisdom, and applies it to modern day living. Thoroughly recommend for all christians.
Sarah Vigers
A really worthwhile read. I recommend reading it slowly with a pot of coffee and a packet of tissues. Expect to be convicted, and then enjoy moving forward!
“Be holy, for I am holy” is a command given by God in Leviticus 11:44. Yet according to author Jerry Bridges, few believers understand what it looks like to live a holy life. In his book The Pursuit of Holiness, Bridges explains the fundamental responsibilities a believer has to live a holy life. He defines the holy life as one lived “in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world.” (16) Using Ephesians 4:22,24 as the foundation, Bridges further...more
The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges is a valuable book that, I think, would be helpful to any earnest Christian.

It has such a practical format that it's not only easy to read, but easy to reference when you need a refresher on such topics as the holiness of God, putting sin to death, habits of holiness and the joy of holiness (among many others). The style of this book reminds of me of Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy in this regard. The chapters are very managable and while the book itse...more
Matt Harmless
Whether you simply have a vague understanding of "holiness," or you are a Bible scholar that has spent a significant amount of time studying this word's origin, usage, and possible meanings, you know that holiness seems to be an unattainable attribute of men. Yet there it is in the Bible, the command, "Be Holy, for I am Holy." How are we to attain this holiness? How are we to strive for this holiness? What is meant by this command? To what degree are we to be holy?

These are the questions that I...more
Finished reading through/studying Pursuit of Holiness today for the third or fourth time. This time through I read and copied off all of the Scripture references from the ESV Bible. I think the newer translation made me look at some of bridges comments a little differently. This study should be worked at by all believers. We all are too easily satisfied with our relationship and condition before Christ. We are self deceiving, telling our selves we don't really need to work on our purity. He conf...more
The beauty of this book is its simplicity with how the author Jerry Bridges communicate the truth of the Christian need to pursue holiness. While the writing is simple that does not mean that the book is superficial. Far from it: the author truly understands our human nature and what we as sinners are really like. The biggest profit I got from the book was Bridges concern that today too many Christians are confused concerning God’s responsibility and man’s responsibility in the area of sanctific...more
Bendick Ong
Okie it’s the book cover again. Only that, as in most cases, there’s always much more.

The pursuit of holiness is jerry bridges’ best-selling book and navpress’ in 2006 has one of the best covers i’ve ever seen: with a nice frame, beautiful fonts and an apt quote from 1 Cor 9:24 superimposed on a picture of wooden steps across ruins of wild grass, leading toward a misty background of trees and shrubs. Plus the colour tone gives this rustic feel that is even erhm nice to the touch. Plus it smells...more
Jerry Bridges writes a piercing, challenging, and practical charge for Christians to give their lives to be holy as God commands. In The Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2006), readers will find practical helps, biblical conviction, and realistically high expectations.

What I Liked

Bridges clearly points Christians toward a higher level of following Christ. Far too many believers fail to live a holy life because they have compromised their understanding of what it means to be hol...more
This short book is a fantastic introduction to holiness, or freedom from sin, and its role in the Christian life. The book first defines holiness and sin, and explains why it is so very important to pursue holiness in the Christian life. It then moves into tips on how to recognize sin and an exhortation to guard one's self against it. Then, the pursuit of holiness is discussed in the context of how it relates to other elements, such as free will, faith, God's power, etc. Ultimately, the book add...more
This is a more modern, easy read than Puritan writers on holiness, but follows the same line of thinking as some of them like John Owen and Martin Lloyd Jones. I found this to be good book that outlines the holiness of God and our God-commanded pursuit of holiness. He explains that pursuing holiness is not a work of the flesh and that we are not called to sit and wait for God to just make the change happen in absence of our effort.

There is a good foundation of theology and very practical applic...more
This book is exactly the kind of thing I needed. I have had some of the same questions, struggles, and excuses mentioned in the book. It is written clearly and candidly, with quotes from the Bible and elsewhere that encourage and convict. We need both God's Holy Spirit and personal effort, or we will fail in the pursuit of holiness. I'm thankful for friends who were reading git and thereby inspired me to read it. A book that should be thought on and read more than once.

There is something questi...more
"Be holy, because I am holy" The book is open, genuine and persistent in the need to strive towards holiness: the reward is a deeper and more satisfying relationship with our Maker. It breaks down the aspects of holiness, factors that derail us from pursuing it, and challenges one to consider the journey a joyful one. It encourages putting off the old self, and putting on the new --- that to be like, and to aspire towards God is worthy being one's life purpose. An important point to consider was...more
This is a really helpful little book. I read it first not too long after my adult decision to follow Christ, and it inspired, challenged and educated me on the mind-boggling task of attempting to imitate God in his holiness. If that sounds intimidating, it is, and Bridges takes some time to expand on the Biblical notion of pursuit, not perfection, in our application to this task. I recently re-read it, and think I should probably do so every year or two, to keep these ideas fresh. On re-reading,...more
Amazing book. My wife and I decided to read through it and do a study with it together. We both loved it. I read this book once before, nearly 20 years ago and I didn't really remember much about it. However, this time though was a different story. I practically underlined the entire book and found every chapter to be packed full of great biblical teaching. I can't emphasize enough how much I think every Christ follower should read this book. This book was timely for me, and certainly impacted m...more
Bryana Johnson
Bridges’ writing is in no sense literary and is extremely simple. This was so distracting to me in the first couple of chapters that I didn’t want to continue reading the book. After that, though, I felt that the style and the content became markedly better, to the point that I almost wanted to give this book five stars. I consider this an ideal supplement to the frustratingly elusive writings of Hannah Whitall Smith, Andrew Murray, and Watchman Nee. Bridges sorts through some of the confusion g...more
so I admit I wasn't paying super close attention to this book the whole time it was playing... but so far, nothing earth shattering.

hmmm, I'm a bit worried about how he seems to equate every bodily desire as a sinful desire. I forget the name of the heresy, but basically it's one the ancient Greeks came up with where they believed that the soul was good and the body was evil. I agree with the point that most of us all too often are controlled by our bodies instead of controlling them, but innate...more
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  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
  • Holiness
  • Humility: True Greatness
  • A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
  • The Holiness of God
  • The Passion of Jesus Christ
  • Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
  • What Is the Gospel?
  • The Mortification of Sin
  • The Sovereignty of God
  • Basic Christianity (IVP Classics)
  • The Religious Affections
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
JERRY BRIDGES is an author and conference speaker. His most popular book, The Pursuit of Holiness, has sold over one million copies. Jerry has been on the staff of The Navigators for over fifty years, and currently serves in the Collegiate Mission where he is involved primarily in staff development, but also serves as a speaker resource to the campus ministries.
More about Jerry Bridges...
The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts The Practice of Godliness Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God's Unfailing Love

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“In the deceitfulness of our hearts, we sometimes play with temptation by entertaining the thought that we can always confess and later ask forgiveness. Such thinking is exceedingly dangerous. God’s judgement is without partiality. He never overlooks our sin. He never decides not to bother, since the sin is only a small one. No, God hates sin intensely whenever and wherever He finds it.” 30 likes
“Too often, we say we are defeated by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated. We are simply disobedient. It might be good if we stop using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather, we should use the terms obedience and disobedience. When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may in fact be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin's reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God's provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.”
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