The Knowledge Of The Holy–A.W. Tozer

by Rick Pidcock

A.W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy is the of the most influential works on the attributes of God.  He begins by arguing why we must have a proper view of God in our minds.  Then he discusses what God is like in how He has revealed Himself to us.  Tozer next defines what an attribute of God is.  Then, following an explanation of the Trinity, he discusses eighteen different attributes of God.  Finally, he concludes by arguing that we must display God’s majesty by faithfully representing Him in the world.

The Knowledge of the Holy is profitable for everybody because it is a clear explanation about the One Who created us to worship.  For the unbeliever, this book shows the majesty of God’s character so that the unbeliever will see how far he falls short of God’s glory.  For the believer, this book shows the majesty of God’s character so that the believer can stand in even more awe of God’s mercy, love, and grace in his life.  Because God’s attributes are eternal, this book is profitable to people at all times of all ages.  It is very strong in its connection between God’s attributes and our lifestyle.  And for these reasons, I strongly recommend this book to everyone. 


1. “True religion confronts earth with heaven and brings eternity to bear upon time.”

The focus of the Christian life should be on the eternal, rather than the temporal.  2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  The joys of living in light of eternity far outweigh the temporary pleasures of living in sin.  We must view everything in this life in light of eternity. 

2. “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

What do you think about when you first think about God?  Many people will say, “God is love.”  Others would say, “God is holy.”  Still, others would say, “God hates me.”  Your answer to that question depends upon what your view of God is. Your view of God determines your walk in life.  If you view God to be non-existent, then you will live as if He does not exist.  If you believe that He exists, but does not really care about what goes on in our lives, then you will live your life accordingly.  But if you truly believe with all of your heart that He loves you with a holy, redemptive love, then you will worship Him with all that you are. 

3.  “…God is not like anything; that is, He is not exactly like anything or anybody.”

We will never find any object, person, or idea that can be compared to the wholeness of God’s glorious person and character.  Acts 17:24 says, “God that made the world and everything in it, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” 

There is nothing of equal or greater value than God.  Thus everything is below Him.  And nothing below Him can ever compare to His greatness.  That is why it is wrong for us to try to define God’s entire character by one single attribute.  Yes, God is love.  But He is so much more than that.  He is also just, holy, righteous, and many other things.

4.  “An attribute of God is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself.”

Before Ruth Ellen and I first met, she knew absolutely nothing about me.  I remember seeing this beautiful girl walking around campus.  But I never revealed myself to her.  Thus, she did not know what I was like.  However, after I revealed myself to her, she has begun to know me more than any other person on this earth.  But she only knows me to the degree that I reveal myself to her. 

In the same way, we can only know God to the degree that He has revealed Himself to us.  And whatever He has revealed to us about Himself is an attribute.  He reveals His attributes to us through the Word and through creation.  Thus, by studying the Word and marveling at His creation, we can know Him more intimately.

5.  “Our sincerest effort to grasp the incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity must remain forever futile, and only by deepest reverence can it be saved from actual presumption.”

As we study to know God more intimately, we must admit that we will never completely understand Him.  God is incomprehensibly infinite in all of His attributes.  We are only finite.  Just as a worm will never understand the character and make up of a Stealth bomber, we will never fully understand the infinite character of God.  Thus, we must always strive to know God more. 

We must never make an idol out of our pursuit of God.  It is possible to worship our pursuit of God as opposed to God Himself.  We must admit that we will never completely understand Him, even though our eternal passion will be to know Him more and more each moment.

6.  “Whatever God is, and all that God is, He is in Himself.”

God is the essence of His own character.  Acts 17:25 says, “Neither is worshipped with men’s hands as though He needed anything, seeing He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.”  God does not need our worship to make Him any more God.  God is God.  He does not need anything to make Him even more of God. 

We, on the other hand, find our life, breath, and wealth only as He gives it to us.  Verse 28 says, “For in Him we live and move, and have our being.”  We find our existence only as He grants it to us.  But He is all that He is in and of Himself.  For that reason, we must worship Him with our hearts and lives.

7.  “To say that God is immutable is to say that He never differs from Himself. The concept of a growing or developing God is not found in the Scriptures.”

Because God is whole in and of Himself, He cannot change.  If His character were to change, then He would have to be less than God.  He cannot be more than God.  So any change in His character would thus make Him less than God.  This thought should encourage as well as frighten us.  If we are lost in sin, we should be very afraid for God’s judgment.  God is just.  And He will forever judge the wicked.  However, if we have a relationship with God, then we can be encouraged because we know that God is always loving, gracious, and merciful to those that love Him because of His just dealings with Christ.

8.  “We Christians are the Church and whatever we do is what the Church is doing.  The matter, therefore, is for each of us a personal one.  Any forward step in the Church must begin with the individual.”

Just as the apostles were part of the Church over two thousand years ago, we are a part of that same exact body.  Our ministries and lives are the very action of the body of Christ.  If we are the body, then why are His hands not helping the sick?  If we are the body, then why are His feet not walking to the poor?  If we are the body, then why are His lips not spreading the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We are the body of Christ on this earth in this age.  And every action of the Church begins with individuals.  My life is the body of Christ in action.  Your life is the body of Christ in action.  So we must ask ourselves, “What are we doing as individuals to advance the cause of the kingdom?”

The Knowledge Of The Holy can be purchased online for just $14.16.

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