The ministry of preaching is the central labor of my life. My prayer is that through that ministry and everything else I do, the great glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ would be magnified as more and more people come to live out the obedience of faith more and more deeply.
John Stephen Piper was born January 11, 1946, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Bill and Ruth Piper. His father was a traveling evangelist, and the Pipers lived near Chattanooga to be near a Christian college for which Bill served on the board. When the school moved to Greenville, South Carolina, the Pipers moved as well, and it was in Greenville that John spent his growing-up years. John honored his father in a 2008 biographical message called “Evangelist Bill Piper: Fundamentalist Full of Grace and Joy” and in the 2013 ebook A Tribute to My Father. John also wrote a tribute to his mother, who died in 1974, in the book What’s the Difference, and commended her in his Mother’s Day sermon in 2005, “Honoring the Biblical Call of Motherhood: A Tribute to Ruth Piper.”
John graduated from Wade Hampton High School in 1964, and he majored in Literature and minored in Philosophy at Wheaton College (1964–68). Studying Romantic Literature with Clyde Kilby stimulated the poetic side of his nature, and today he regularly writes poems to celebrate special family occasions and rich, biblical truths. At Wheaton, John also met Noël Henry whom he married in 1968.
Following college, he completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1968–71). While at Fuller, John discovered the writings of Jonathan Edwards.
John did his doctoral work in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich in Munich, Germany (1971–74). His dissertation, Love Your Enemies, is now available through Crossway Books. Upon completion of his doctorate, he went on to teach Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota for six years (1974–80).
Bethlehem Baptist Church
In 1980, sensing an irresistible call to preach, John became the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he ministered for 33 years, until Easter 2013. Together with his people, John was dedicated to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ — a mission he continues now for the wider church through the ministry of desiringGod.org.
Desiring God and Bethlehem College & SeminaryJohn is the author of over 50 books and now frequently travels to speak, and writes regularly, through Desiring God. He also became chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary at its founding in 2009 and continues to serve as both chancellor and professor.
John and Noël have four sons, a daughter, and twelve grandchildren.