The Knowledge of the Holy (preface, chapter 1 and 2)

I’m midway through a study of the classic Christian book, The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer. I’m studying it online with some friends in Asia. These are my notes from our first week. I hope they will bless you. If you would like to join us, please send me a message!

We are all effected by our mental image of God.

  • Do you think God is angry or mean?
  • Is He busy and uninterested?
  • Does He care about you, your family, your country?
  • Is God all-powerful?
  • Does He see and know everything?

How would you describe God in just one sentence?

I would describe God as the Almighty creator and ruler of the universe, full of steadfast love, justice, and mercy. But I’m afraid that I also sometimes feel like God is far away, so I try to take care of my life by my own strength instead of depending on Him.

In the book, “The Knowledge of the Holy,” published in 1961, A.W. Tozer says that most modern Christians no longer have an accurate view of God. He says that most modern Christians have replaced a HIGH, BIG view of God with a LOW, SMALL view of God. This has happened gradually over years and generations. We have not done this intentionally, rather our view of God has been reduced so slowly that most Christians are not even aware it has happened.

Do you think it has improved since 1961 or gotten worse?

One consequence of our world’s low view of God is immoral attitudes and actions by both Christians and non-Christians. One reason immorality is becoming so common is that people today have a wrong view of God.

How do you see a low view of God causing people to make immoral choices – lying, stealing, sexual immorality, gossiping, pride?

We must have an accurate belief of who God is, so we can think about Him rightly, worship Him rightly, and follow Him rightly. Unfortunately, we often make God more like us. We make God in the image of man. We imagine God to be more like a human, but we are wrong!

“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Numbers 23:19)
“神 非 人 , 必 不 致 说 谎 , 也 非 人 子 , 必 不 致 後 悔 。他 说 话 岂 不 照 着 行 呢 ?
他 发 言 岂 不 要 成 就 呢 ?” (民 數 記 23:19)

“Thought and speech are God’s gifts
to creatures made in His image.”

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 1)

We speak because God speaks. It is essential to use correct words to describe and think about
God, but it is also essential to actually believe the words that we say about God.


What you truly believe will determine your thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

We can say aloud a statement about God, a “creed,” such as these first two sentences of the Apostles Creed, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.”

But do we truly believe this, or do we just say that we believe it? Do you truly believe that God is the Father Almighty? Do you truly believe that God created the heavens and the earth? Do you truly believe that Jesus Christ is really the Son of God born from a virgin mother?

The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal (worldly) problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long.

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 1)

When you believe in an all-powerful eternal God, then you can encourage yourself that your time on earth will not last very long…. But when you believe in an all-powerful, eternal God, then you have an even greater problem: you must obey and worship this all-powerful, eternal God! But … When you believe in an all-powerful, eternal God who sent His own Son to die in your place, trusting in the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then God can FREE you from those fears!

You can truly and rightly believe that God loved you while you were a sinner, that He redeemed you by the blood of Jesus, and that He has freed you to obey and worship Him rightly through His Son, Jesus Christ! Praise GOD!

In Chapter 2, Tozer describes God as “Incomprehensible.” “Incomprehensible” means = not able to be understood. We cannot fully understand God because God is not exactly like anything or anybody.

We learn by using what we already know
as a bridge over which we pass to the unknown.

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 2)
Jianbing – YUMMMY!

If you were trying to tell me how amazing a “Jianbing” is, you would describe it using things that I know. You might say, “They’re like crepes wrapped around a crispy chip with eggs and potatoes, a yummy sauce and onions.” But no matter how hard you worked to describe it, I wouldn’t fully understand it unless I tasted it. YUMMY!!!

St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia

I remember when my husband and I visited the world-famous St. Basil’s cathedral in Moscow, Russia. I had seen dozens of picture and videos of it, but until I saw it in person, I had no idea how breathtakingly beautiful it was.


I’d heard women tell me how incredible it is to give birth and what a miracle adoption is, but until I gave birth myself, and until I adopted my own son myself, I simple couldn’t really understand. What a gift to be a mommy!

“Whatever we visualize God to be, He is not,
for we have constructed our image
out of that which He has made …
and what He has made is not God.”

A.W. Tozer, “Knowledge of the Holy” (Chapter 2)

John, Isaiah, and Ezekiel all tried to describe their visions of God and heaven, but they couldn’t fully do it. They were limited by human language and experience.

When have you experienced this? When have you tried to understand something, but you couldn’t understand it until you experienced it for yourself?

In God’s great goodness, He sent Jesus, His own Son, God in the flesh, to live on earth with men.

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” (Colossians 2:9 ESV)
“因 为 神 本 性 一 切 的 丰 盛 都 有 形 有 体 的 居 住 在 基 督 里 面.” (歌 羅 西 書 2:9)

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
“道 成 了 肉 身 , 住 在 我 们 中 间 , 充 充 满 满 的 有 恩 典 有 真 理 。
我 们 也 见 过 他 的 荣 光 , 正 是 父 独 生 子 的 荣 光.” (約 翰 福 音 1:14)

Though we are unable to fully describe or understand God because He is incomprehensible,
God has revealed so much about who He is in His Word! We should study the scriptures
diligently and we should trust that God will reveal Himself to us by faith, as we worship Him
each day with humility.

Let’s close our time together singing, “Behold Our God,” worshipping God together with our
hearts, souls and minds.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s