Book Review: The Mighty Weakness of John Knox by Douglas Bond

I must admit that I had never heard of the reformer John Knox until I read this biography from Douglas Bond. I’m now wondering why it took me so long to read of such an encouraging and powerful man of God. This short read of the life of John Knox was an interesting lesson of church history but also the history of a nation whose leadership was reformed along with the Kirk, or the church as others would call it. The life of Knox was riddled with pain and weakness, but also with thunderous strength and tender mercies. Bond roped me in right from the beginning with this quote, “Weakness, in Paul’s theology of ministry, is an essential prerequisite to being used of Christ. The Almighty is in the business of raising up simple, frail, and little people, and empowering them to be strong in Christ”.

What follows that quote is an example of a little man being used mightily of God in an age where many, even in the church, were afraid and unwilling to confront the atrocities of the Catholic Church of that day. When Knox was first called on to preach the gospel, it is said of him, that he ran from the room weeping. From those frail beginnings we see a mere man, transformed and gripped by the gospel of grace and transformed into a thundering voice for a nation whose hearts were turned back to God.

Many of us hear stories of mighty men who have various gifts and talents prior to their turning to Christ, then we hear of them continuing to use their talents to preach and teach the kingdom of God. There was no mention of any merit on the part of Knox that would make it seem plausible that God would turn his heart toward heaven and use him in such a way that many would be in awe of his might in the gospel. This is the fear of many people today, that we have nothing in us of any worth to God, therefore, he cannot use us in a mighty way. Saying that, let me encourage you to pick up this book and take a careful reading of a man, humble in spirit, mighty in Christ, and be encouraged. After his calling to the gospel of Christ, Knox had a new and different demeanor saying such things as, “I cannot, in good conscience, delay preaching tomorrow, if i am not detained by violence…as for fear of danger to my person, my life is in the hand of him whose glory I seek, and, therefore, I fear not their threats, I desire the hand and weapon of no man to defend me”. This was spoken while standing in a castle, besieged by warriors at the front gate and an armada of French ships cutting off any hope of escape.

I want to commend this book to any who would put themselves in a lower class of believers because they are not mighty speakers or experienced writers. For any in the body of Christ who would compare themselves to the spiritual giants of our day, let me encourage you to learn from those who pioneered this faith in a day, much harsher and violent than our own, and spat in the face of adversity. For those who brought the gospel to bear on the lives of those around them, let us learn and lean on their examples of mighty faith and have our strength restored by the grace God provided them and is still in the business of providing today. Douglas Bond is an excellent writer and his style makes this volume very readable. I look forward to reading more from Bond in the future. I also want to say how much I appreciate the placement of the Scots Confession of Faith at the end of this book. It was mentioned throughout the book and I was eventually going to look it up, but Bond has done a great service for his readers and placed it at the end so that all may marvel at the might in which God displays his glory among those deemed, weak and insignificant.

Please Check Out The Other Books In This Series: A Long Line of Godly Men

The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon

The Mighty Weakness of John Knox

Pillars of Grace

Foundations of Grace

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards

The Expository Genius of John Calvin (Read my review here)


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above from Reformation Trust Publishing for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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