Jo's Reviews > The Knowledge of the Holy

The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
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Jun 20, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favorites, christian
Read from June 20, 2010 to July 05, 2011

Want to know something horrible? I have never been able to touch my toes without bending my knees. Here I am, a mere twenty years of age, and I am utterly inflexible. Do you know that feeling, when you try to do the whole touch-your-toes move, and your muscles just say, “Ooooh no, under no circumstances are we going any farther than this.” One summer I decided (it being my deepest desire to touch my toes) that I was going to stretch my leg muscles every night until I could do it. It worked. A little. It would have worked even better had I bothered to do it for more than a week. Desire only takes you so far without discipline.

So, the whole touch-your-toes thing. That is something akin to the feeling I get when I try to comprehend God. I know, I know, it’s a dumb analogy. But my mind only goes so far, and then it stops. And let me tell you, it has a tendency to think of God on a lot smaller scale than he actually is (which is only understandable, since he is infinite). Now I realize that God uses a lot of things to stretch our knowledge of him; life experience, relationships, the Holy Spirit and his word, to name a few. But does he use guys like Tozer? I think maybe so. Because every once in a while reading Tozer, he would just blow the boundaries of my mind a little. (We’ll just leave that pronoun deliberately ambiguous.)

Tozer never claims that his words can impart an understanding of God. In fact, half of his chapters (each one on a different characteristic of God’s) end by saying how much beyond our comprehension all of this is. In his chapter on God’s love, I think he expresses a sentiment that goes for the rest of the book as well. He says, “I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme than a child can grasp a star. Still, by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So, as I stretch my heart toward the high, shining love of God, someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.” He works to bring us along just a little more in our understanding, and in that I think he succeeds.

This book could easily be used devotionally. The chapters are short enough to read and meditate on one every day, perhaps alongside a time of Bible study and prayer.

In the final chapter of Tozer’s book, he lists several conditions that must be met in order to receive the knowledge of God. Among these, he says, “Fifth, we must practice the art of long and loving meditation upon the majesty of God. This will take some effort, for the concept of majesty has all but disappeared from the human race. The focal point of man’s interest is now himself. Humanism in its various forms has displaced theology as the key to the understanding of life. When the nineteenth-century poet wrote, ‘Glory to Man in the highest! for man is the master of things,’ he gave to the modern world its new Te Deum. All this must be reversed by a deliberate act of the will and kept so by a patient effort of the mind.”

Discipline, my friend. Can I recommend, for one, that you read a little Tozer?
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Quotes Jo Liked

A.W. Tozer
“Yet if we would know God and for other's sake tell what we know we must try to speak of his love. All Christians have tried but none has ever done it very well. I can no more do justice to that awesome and wonder-filled theme than a child can grasp a star. Still by reaching toward the star the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. So as I stretch my heart toward the high shining love of God someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope.”
A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy


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