Sunday, 31 May 2009

Ryle on Holiness

Last year I discovered J.C Ryle, and I really liked what I read of him. An older person at my church said I should read J.C Ryle's book on Holiness as that is probably his most famous work. Anyway for my birthday, (while we were on our honeymoon) my wife gave me this book. I was pretty happy.

Holiness has 21 chapters that I assume were once sermons that have been collated and turned into a book. The book moves from fighting with sin and sanctification to biblical examples like Mose and Lot and then on to looking more at Jesus. From there the chapters turn to the church and the feelings of what a true church/Christian should have.

Ryle is a no holds bar type of guy. I'd describe him as an old Driscoll, but he isn't funny or crude, he is just stern. He is willing to look you in the eyes and tell you to pull your socks up and to start fighting against sin. Ryle is heavy on doctrine, but he is methodical in what he writes with lots of steps and sub points, which makes him quite clear and easy to follow.

You can tell that he is a pastor and that his heart is on his readers. He tells of death bed visits that he had made and argues against the idea of some people who say they will become completely committed to God when they get older. Your life will set a patten for the end.

The chapters are a bit long and I tried to read each chapter in one sitting every week, so it took me a while to finish.

This book is a good encouragement (kick up the pants) for Christians who say they are Christians, but really aren't that committed to church. Ryle goes more after your heart than your actions actions and in doing so, I think that should change your behaviour. It is also a good book on sanctification. Reformed folk are all for justification by faith alone, but sometimes over look the person responsibility of their faith and that we have to stand against temptations, sin and the devil.

You can read this book online at a few places such as here or here and most of it is up on wiki source (I'll finish it one day).


  1. Thanks for reviewing this mate. I started reading this book, but never finished it. This is the encouragement I needed!

  2. Hey Steve,

    Yeah I did lose some steam when reading the book. One chapter a week for 21 weeks does take a while to finish a book, and there were a fair few weeks that I didn't read a chapter. I ended up setting myself some "Ryle time" on Sundays to finish the book.