Theology Thursday: The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer

 Who is God? What is He like? A.W. Tozer aims to answer these questions in his book The Knowledge of the Holy. Tozer explores several of God’s attributes in order to reintroduce a correct view of God into the Church. Everyone who strives to follow Christ should read The Knowledge of the Holy because it presents crucial doctrines through clear, simple arguments, verse from Scripture, and quotes from great Christian thinkers.

The Knowledge of the Holy has 23 chapters, each one exploring one attribute of God. Tozer uses each attribute to explain others, outlining his arguments clearly and simply. When discussing the sovereignty of God, Tozer says:

“to be sovereign God must be all-knowing, all-powerful, and absolutely free.” (p. 169)

Tozer gives evidence for each of his claims, and explains their implications:

“[…] He must be free to do whatever He wills at any time to carry out his eternal plan in every single detail without interference.” (p. 170)

This direct writing pervades the book, making it easy to understand Tozer’s meaning. Since we, the readers, don’t have to wade through verbose language, we can instead spend our time thinking about God’s mysteries.

Tozer doesn’t presume to be a final authority on the Scriptures or God. Instead, he quotes the Scriptures and thoughtful Christ followers of the past. Tozer ends each chapter with a verse or two from a hymn or poem. After describing God’s faithfulness, he concludes with an Isaac Watts hymn:

“His truth forever stands secure / […]And none shall find His promise vain.” (p. 126)

Tozer is keeping with the Christian tradition of expressing truth through poetry. The Knowledge of the Holy also references Church fathers when explaining important doctrine. When describing the different persons of the Trinity, Tozer quotes Athanasius’ creed:

“The Father is made of none,[…] neither created nor begotten.” (p. 24)

This shows that the author is trying to convey the truth by looking at the testimony of saints, not only through his own personal lens. The Scriptures are cited heavily throughout the book. In discussing how Christ was both fully God and fully man, Tozer quotes John 1:18:

“[Jesus] referred to himself as ‘the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father.’” (p. 34)

This illustrates that Tozer’s theology is not only grounded in tradition, but in the divinely inspired Scriptures.

The Knowledge of the Holy, though written in 1961, is helpful to believers of every age. Since Tozer writes clearly and uses the Scriptures and great theologians to back his claims, this book is a concise and accurate picture of God’s character. Any Christian who wants to fully know his or her Maker should read this book.

What are your thoughts on this book, or any other theology that you’ve read? How does this relate to your beliefs? Let me know in comments!

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