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Holiness (Abridged): Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots

4.36 of 5 stars 4.36  ·  rating details  ·  2,247 ratings  ·  75 reviews
J.C. Ryle's Holiness has imparted a standing challenge to Christians for 130 years. In this new, slimmed-down series of excerpts from Ryle's masterwork, we aim to present his original message to a whole new generation.
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Moody Publishers (first published 1879)
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Ryle's work is a classic Reformed defense of the pursuit of sanctification as an active enterprise against various late 19th century denigrations of that understanding. He is, in a way, a Puritan out of place in history (and easier to read than John Owen). In Holiness, Ryle stands against extremes among the Reformed and Lutheran that claim sanctification is all about faith, but also against the holiness movements of his day, arising in part out of a misdirection of Wesley's understanding of imm ...more
A remarkable number of books that promote 'formulas' for living the Christian life have had their day on the Christian bestseller lists, only to fade away as time goes on. Yet J.C. Ryle's Holiness, which was first published 126 years ago, shows no signs of going out of style. What could possibly account for the longevity of a volume that Reformation & Revival Journal once called "the finest work on living the Christian life available"? I offer three reasons:

1) It gives no formulas. Bishop Ry
Amy Ivey
WOW!!! This book was written in the late 1800s, but it reads like it was written today!! Each chapter is a separate paper written by J.C. Ryle, some were sermons, all focused on SCRIPTURAL holiness. Ryle's discussions are beautifully simple and completely scripturally founded. He begins with chapters on sin, sanctification, holiness, then continues on to offer biblical examples of his points. His chapter on Moses clearly represents Moses as a type of Christ: Moses left the rank and greatness and ...more
Nov 16, 2009 Julia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
This review so far refers only to chapter VII "Assurance" (pp. 143-181):

Another reading with me doing plenty of underlining throughout. One line of truth even had me updating my Facebook profile quotations since I resonated with it so much.

Reading this chapter wasn't all roses for me, however. I felt that I didn't share the experience he described as so common among Christian believers (a lack of "assurance") but by the end of the chapter I was chalking it up to cultural differences and semanti
Excellent, Excellent book!

I believe that a lack of passion for personal holiness is probably one of the saddest aspects of 21st century Christianity. In our effort to move away from legalism, we have given way to lechery, and we have emphasized God's love and forgiveness so much that most of us have no clue what the verse "Strive...for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." (Hebrews 12:14) means. This book helps you understand what that verse means biblically.

A generation that is
This has been a book that I have slowly read for the past 2 years. It's not a fast read by any means, but the writing is mostly clear. Some parts I connected with better than others. It was originally written as a series of papers, so it felt like 20 separate thoughts on holiness. However, this is a book that deserves to be read by every Christian today.
I really love the discussion over how much of the confusion regarding the pursuit of holiness is really confusion over participation in sanctification vs. justification.
This is a rich, rich book. My very favorite chapter was the chapter on Lot. Wow. Every Christian should read that chapter. My favorite chapters were 1-4 and 9, 15, 19.
Pete Williamson
A classic that should be read and discussed by every Christian.
Aaron Kleinheksel
Tremendous and timeless treatment of the titled topic.

J.C. Ryle's book was written partly in response to the then-fashionable (late 19th c.) theology of "let go and let God" approach to the Christian life. It was being taught that once an individual accepted Christ that conflict and struggles in this life would abate as God would take over. This false teaching led to much spiritual abuse, disillusionment, and confusion in the Church. Incidentally, this type of stuff is still found being dissemin
Mike E.
Ryle is the engineer of pastor-theologians! "Holiness" is detailed and exhaustive as well as pastoral, practical. Any believer wanting to be challenged to pursue holiness would benefit from this classic, still in print from 1879. Ryle calls the believer to the fight, to the battle, for holiness. Sanctification is a work of God's grace, but does not happen apart from discipline and intentionality. Ryle does not address congregational or community holiness, only personal holiness. It's amazing how ...more
This is a classic every christian reader should read. It is full of application and truth. It is well focused that it is written directly to the reader that you are examining your own walk with the Lord instead of thinking so and so should read this. There are many books on holiness which I think this book takes crown. It is very centered on scripture and who Jesus is. The what, the why and the how come is revealed in the pages of this read. It is very sobering in that we have a great God that h ...more
Angie Tolpin
We as Christians should be in a pursuit for Holiness. But often our relationships don't allow us to live holy. Comparison, competitiveness, etc... all attempt to swerve the christian off the path of living holy and usually this is done by our own team mates, the body of Christ.

I have been grieved over this reality in my own life and in reading this was so encouraged to pursue holiness no matter what the cost, friendships, etc...

So thankful for this exegesis of scripture on this topic.
Derrick Ochago
Jul 07, 2014 Derrick Ochago rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Christians
Recommended to Derrick by: Tollege
Honestly, the subject of sanctification or rather holiness is not given as much attention as it should be in church today. Christians are so passive to even obey some of the plainest texts in scripture like "if you love me, you will obey my commandments" This is book, however old it may be is a stunner and every Christian even more minster in church should read it
This is a fantastic book for anyone looking for a complete treatment of holiness as it relates to the Christian. This was originally published as twenty separate papers that each address a sub-topic of spiritual holiness and end with a set of convicting questions to the reader. Ryle was a preacher and spent much of his time visiting the families in his church. He writes this volume as a pastor that is concerned for his flock. He is deeply theologically and deals with the difficult concepts to un ...more
One of my top three Christian books, so full of practical spiritual help, comfort and conviction. Clear, concise, and highly readable. Highly recommended.
Zack Melvin
A challenging classic, not just in the conviction it brings to the Christian soul, but to its contemplative nature; in other words, this isn't a book you can just quickly read through. I tried it - wouldn't recommend it. One needs to steep their soul in each of these chapters for them to have any sanctifying effect, to the glory of God. The message: God desires us to be holy before him, and holiness is happiness in the Lord, whom we are to eagerly await in soberness of mind as we stand our groun ...more
This book was a spiritual blessing, and I have been highly encouraged by it. The chapters towards the last half was more devotional and some were messages preached by Ryle. This is a book I would recommend people of all ages and theological persuasion.
Having stated this, it is my prayer that I master the topic in this book and be more sanctified. I hope to read this again sometimes in the future, and perhaps see how God has worked in my lives sanctifying me.
Another great book by Ryle. This one was very much appreciated and very practical in nature. There were some outstanding examples of holy living (Moses) and some examples of how not to live as a christian (Lot) and then examples of those who are entangled with the world and look back to their destruction (Lot's wife). The book also outlines practical holiness and the root of all holy living, that Christ is our all in all.
Michael J
Very beneficial. I wouldn't say that I enjoyed it, for it pricked my conscience in a few places. I found it very encouraging, and occasionally sobering, but very helpful throughout. I would recommend this book to any who desires to learn more about what it means to be a Christian.

they forgot to proofread the last several chapters. I noticed more than a few misspellings and missing punctuation marks and such. lol
Kevin Yaiko
Found this book randomly and it turned out to be one of the most helpful books I've read. Thought-provoking questions, conviction given in the light of hope, and clarification of justification vs. sanctification are the highlights of the book for me. The author is very real in our struggles, unapologetic in the standards before all Christians and constantly points us to the gospel message.
Joshua Horn
A great and very convicting book. Ryle deals directly with many issues that still effect believers to this day. A book everyone should probably read. My only complaint is that these really seem to be a series of sermons, and would have been even better if they had been tied together a bit more fully. Also the last third of the book, while good, did not really seem to relate the topic.
Great classic, on holiness (justification and sanctification). Without which no one will see the Lord.
Incredible book. At a little over 400 pages, it's long, but it's very helpful and very practical. I have learned a lot more about holiness and its importance. If you're looking for what it means to be a Christian practically, then I think you should read this book. It's long, and you'll probably have to look up some words that he uses, but it's definitely worth it.
Lawson Hembree
By far one of the most impactful books on my faith I have ever read. Ryle skillfully exposits 20 short passages and powerfully applies them for his readers. Though it was written in 19th century England, much of the text could easily be describing 21st century America. I highly recommend this book to any Christian for their personal growth and edification!
Kathy Carlson
I started reading this book when I first became a Christian. It was so hard to read and understand. Now with a solid foundation of learning, I can zip through this book. J.C. has a wonderful way of articulating the ideas that may already be in your head that can help you explain them to others. It is definitely required reading.
Human greatness is a lifetime endeavor. JC Ryle breaks down every possible point on which we can become more holy as earth bound creatures. I felt inspired by the beliefs of this simple man from the 1800's. He extends truth without shame and made me anxious to join him in his quest for holiness.
Alex Houston
This book on the Christian life is a must read. Bishop Ryle's books are pastoral, biblical, and of great value for us all. Another one for the desert island. BTW, Bishop Ryle had a very cool beard! My wife loves this book, think we've given at least two copies away.
A clear, gentle and humble call to follow Christ through holy living (Hebrews 12:14): "I want to see among believers more of a pilgrim spirit, a more decided separation from the world, a conversation more evidently in Heaven, a closer walk with God..."
Heather Tomlinson
I'm afraid I read the guy's first chapter and decided I wasn't going to read the book. He sounds too dogmatic, on points that I don't think it's reasonable to be dogmatic about. So perhaps I shouldn't rate the book as I haven't read much of it, but anyway.
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  • The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
  • The Mortification of Sin
  • The Bruised Reed
  • Quest for Godliness
  • Redemption Accomplished and Applied
  • Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices
  • The Reformed Pastor
  • The Sovereignty of God
  • Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
  • The Doctrine of Repentance (Puritan Paperbacks)
  • The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin
  • God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (with the Complete Text of the End for Which God Created the World)
  • Lectures to My Students
  • The Religious Affections
  • The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
  • Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
  • The Mystery of Providence (Puritan Paperbacks)
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
J. C. Ryle was a prominent writer, preacher, and Anglican clergyman in nineteenth-century Britain. He is the author of the classic Expository Thoughts on the Gospels and retired as the bishop of Liverpool.
More about J.C. Ryle...
Thoughts for Young Men A Call to Prayer The Duties Of Parents Practical Religion Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: 4 Volumes

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“A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience, but war within. He may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace.” 20 likes
“Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word.” 13 likes
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