Tag Archives: John Piper

“The rigorous habit of querying the text” by John Piper

“Amazing things happen when you form the rigorous habit of querying the text-– when you aggressively ask questions to yourself and to the text. Little by little, thread by thread, you begin to see the intricately woven fabric of God‘s revelation. Over time you will be changed.”

–John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 347.

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“The purpose of God for the Bible cannot fail” by John Piper

“God has made the natural act of reading the Bible supernaturally the indispensable means of achieving the ultimate goal of the universe…

The purpose of God for the Bible cannot fail. And that purpose is to reveal God’s infinite worth and beauty as the ultimate value and excellence in the universe, to open the eyes of His people to see that glory in the Scriptures, so that we savor the excellence of God above all created treasures, and, by beholding and being satisfied with God, be changed from glory to glory, until the bride of Christ— the family of God across all centuries and cultures— is complete in number and beauty for the white-hot worship of God forever and ever.

God purchased and secured this great salvation through the incarnation of the Son of God, so that He might live a perfect life, die in the place of sinners, and rise from the dead to rule the world. To preserve and perform this great plan of salvation, God inspired and preserved the Christian Scriptures.

And now He is carrying out His plan as millions of people pursue the natural act of reading the Bible supernaturally. I invite you to join us. It is the only way for your life to be of lasting service to the world, and for your work to show forth the glory of God, and for your soul to be fully satisfied forever.”

–John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 392-393, 393.

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“Look, look, look!” by John Piper

“Most people read half asleep. We read the Bible pretty much like we watch television— passively. What I mean by passively is that we expect the TV program to affect us. Entertain us, or inform , or teach us. Our minds are almost entirely in the passive mode as impulses come into our minds.

The opposite is when our minds go on alert and watch carefully. We become aggressively observant. When we see TV or the world actively, we see layers and dimensions and aspects of reality that before were totally unnoticed. The difference is that now the mind is engaged.

You have issued a command to the brain: Look! Listen! Think about what you are seeing. Spot clues. Be aggressively observant. Be unremitting in your attentiveness. Be unwaveringly watchful. Make connections. Notice patterns. Ask questions….

The barrier to seeing the riches of the Scriptures is not owing to the fact that more people don’t know Greek and Hebrew, but that more people don’t have the patience to look, look, look.”

–John Piper, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 327, 332.

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“Seeing is a gift” by John Piper

“No one decides to see glory. And no one merely decides to experience the Christian Scriptures as the all-compelling, all-satisfying truth of one’s life.

In the end, seeing is a gift. And so the free embrace of God’s word is a gift.

God’s Spirit opens the eyes of our heart, and what was once boring, or absurd, or foolish, or mythical is now self-evidently real.

You can pray and ask God for that miracle. I ask daily for fresh eyes for His glory.”

–John Piper, A Peculiar Glory (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 283.

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“He gives rain on the earth” by John Piper

“‘God does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth.’ (Job 5:8-10) In Job’s mind rain really is one of the great, unsearchable wonders that God does. So when I read this a few weeks ago, I resolved not to treat it as meaningless pop musical lyrics. I decided to have a conversation with myself (which is what I mean by meditation).

Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come from another source on the fields. From where?

Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea over several hundred miles, and then be poured out on the fields from the sky. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 2,323,200 cubic feet of water, which is 17,377,536 gallons, which is 144,735,360 pounds of water.

That’s heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What’s it mean? It means that the water stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.

What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is saltwater. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up millions of pounds of water from the sea, takes out the salt, carries the water (or whatever it is, when it is not water) for three hundred miles, and then dumps it (now turned into water again) on the farm?

Well, it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped millions of pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the millions of pounds of water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.

How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh millions of pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that’s the way to ask the question)? Well, it’s called coalescence. What’s that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger, and when they are big enough, they fall.

Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.

I think, instead, I will just take Job’s word for it.”

–John Piper, Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2005), 24–26.

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“A freshness of vision” by John Piper

“One of the tragedies of growing up is that we get used to things. It has its good side of course, since irritations may cease to be irritations.

But there is immense loss when we get used to the redness of the rising sun,

and the roundness of the moon,

and the whiteness of the snow,

the wetness of rain,

the blueness of the sky,

the buzzing of bumble bees,

the stitching of crickets,

the invisibility of wind,

the unconscious constancy of heart and diaphragm,

the weirdness of noses and ears,

the number of the grains of sand on a thousand beaches,

the never-ceasing crash crash crash of countless waves,

and ten million kingly-clad flowers flourishing and withering in woods and mountain valleys where no one sees but God.

I invite you, with Clyde Kilby, to seek a ‘freshness of vision,’ to look, as though it were the first time, not at the empty product of accumulated millennia of aimless evolutionary accidents (which no child ever dreamed of), but at the personal handiwork of an infinitely strong, creative, and exuberant Artist who made the earth and the sea and everything in them.

I invite you to believe (like the children believe) ‘that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course you shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the Architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega’ (note 11, resolution 10).”

–John Piper, The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God (Portland, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1991), 95-96.

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“Slow down, query, ponder and chew” by John Piper

“We will never think hard about Biblical truth until we are troubled by our faltering efforts to grasp its complexity.

We must form the habit of being systematically disturbed by things that at first glance don’t make sense. Or to put it a different way, we must relentlessly query the text.

One of the greatest honors I received while teaching Biblical studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, was when the teaching assistants in the Bible department gave me a T-shirt which had the initials of Jonathan Edwards on the front and on the back the words: ‘Asking questions is the key to understanding.’

But several strong forces oppose our relentless and systematic interrogating of Biblical texts. One is that it consumes a great deal of time and energy on one small portion of Scripture.

We have been schooled (quite erroneously) that there is a direct correlation between reading a lot and gaining insight.

But, in fact, there is no positive correlation at all between the quantity of pages read and the quality of insight gained. Just the reverse for most of us. Insight diminishes as we try to read more and more.

Insight or understanding is the product of intensive, headache-producing meditation on two or three propositions and how they fit together. This kind of reflection and rumination is provoked by asking questions of the text.

And you cannot do it if you hurry. Therefore, we must resist the deceptive urge to carve notches in our bibliographic gun.

Take two hours to ask ten questions of Galatians 2:20, and you will gain one hundred times the insight you would have attained by quickly reading thirty pages of the New Testament or any other book.

Slow down. Query. Ponder. Chew.”

–John Piper, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry (Nashville: B&H, 2002), 74-75.

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