Blog Posts by John Piper

Free Calvin eBooks

John Piper

Dear Friends,

Why was John Calvin so mastered by the majesty of God? What kind of ministry did this produce?

In addition to the short Reformation Day video we made available today, we're offering three free ebooks to help you dig deeper into the life of John Calvin.

We like to…

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After Darkness... Light (Video from Geneva)

John Piper

Dear Friends,

Today is Reformation Day. Martin Luther posted his explosive 95 theses October 31, 1517. In the wake of Luther’s life, an army of Reformers soon emerged. Foremost among them was John Calvin. Together they recovered for the church the supreme authority and clarity of the Scriptures. Grace-erasing tradition had buried the glory of the gospel. But now light was breaking out. So the Reformers took up a Latin phrase to describe the wonder: “Post Tenebras Lux”—“After Darkness... Light.”

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Legislating Morality for Women in the Seventh Century

John Piper

As Dana Robert tells the story of the conversion of the Irish, lessons abound for our day. For example, here is a paragraph about the effect of Christianity on the condition of women in the seventh century.

Although little is known of women’s roles in Ireland before the coming of Christianity, its spread launched a new day for women’s rights once a Christian leader gained the public authority to limit warfare. In 697 the Abbot Adomnan (d. 704) issued the…

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A Poem on Hebrews 3:13

John Piper

"Lest You Be Hardened"
Hebrews 3:13

Your thoughts, your words, your ways
     Are high,
So far above my place
     That I 
Sometimes perceive your broad
     Daylight—
Your brilliant blue, your sun—
    As night.

You love me with some shock,
     A threat.
Am I then in the dock,
    In debt?
You answer, "No, you're blest.
     It's my
Alert, my kindness, lest
     You die."

I see. Then, Lord, invoke
     Your Dove.
Cause…

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The Great Story and the Single Verse

John Piper

In my neck of the Christian woods, words like narrative, meta-narrative, story, storyline, biblical theology, and big picture abound. I would like to sound a note that may encourage some who, like me, may wonder how this language works to build faith in the human heart.

First, I affirm the common-sense hermeneutical principle that in any message, or essay or poem or novel or scene from a movie or conversation or psalm or gospel or epistle or chapter or verse,…

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I Am Going to Vote

John Piper

Having read several articles by people who don’t plan to vote in the presidential election, my conclusion is: I’m going to vote.

It seems to me that the good that can be done, presumably by the protest of not voting, is mainly done by talking about not voting rather than by not voting. Then it also seems that this same good would be accomplished if those who thought they would not vote did all that talking, but then voted.

This…

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Writing Like Cicero for the Sake of the Soul

John Piper

Marilynne Robinson, whose novels Gilead and Home have moved many of us deeply, has just published a new collection of Essays titled When I Was a Child I Read Books.

Here’s a caution. Her fiction is more easily understood than her nonfiction. She admits, “My style is considerably more indebted to Cicero than to Hemingway” (87). That means her sentences sound like translations of good Latin. In other words, she writes non-fiction like John Owen.

The preface puts the…

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New Publications Relating to C. S. Lewis

John Piper

Joel Heck, Professor of Theology at Concordia University, Texas, has served us again by publishing rare materials relating to C. S. Lewis. In 2008 he published The Personal Heresy: A Controversy. And now he has published the Socratic Digest (Concordia University Press, 2012), a digest of the biannual publication of the meetings of the Socratic Club at Oxford from 1943 to 1952. Lewis was a regular part of this club and seven of his essays are included, plus other…

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"All Men Desire Happiness" Can Be Confusing

John Piper

When Blaise Pascal1 and Jonathan Edwards2  (and I3) say that all human beings desire happiness we say something true and, for some, misleading.

Here’s the problem. Happiness (I’m not distinguishing it from joy) is an experience of the soul, something outside of me to be desired. So to desire happiness is not the same as desiring a cheese biscuit at Red Lobster, nor the same as desiring forgiveness for my sins. The biscuit and the…

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Slow Dying

John Piper

The hill of dying, not of death,
     Is steeper,
And all the climbers gashed.

On hands and knees, I take a breath,
     A creeper,
Barely moving, slashed.

And though the door of death is shut,
      The keeper
Beckons with a skull.

“But if my death is why you cut,
     Grim Reaper,
Why is your scythe so dull?”


Recent poems from John Piper:

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God Answers

John Piper

Is there a word to help us feel 
     the weight of Adam's fall?
          All.

How heavy will this burden weigh,
     (Spare not!) on those who fell?
          Hell.

O Lord, so great this forfeiture!
     Was there sufficient reason?
          Treason.

Then whence could any traitor hope
     before your burning face?
          Grace.

But surely that…

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Spiritual Awakening and the Knowledge of God

John Piper

I have never understood or empathized with the view that knowing more about God gets in the way of loving God. And yet there are people who, it seems, build their lives and ministries inside the fog of doctrinal ambiguity.

It has been my conviction, and my experience, for over 40 years that knowing more about God from his inspired, energy-filled word puts more kindling in place so that the Holy Spirit can ignite a greater and greater flame of…

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My Life

John Piper

Shall I now live for him, 
     for you, for me?
I shall. 
     And do you see:

If not for him, 
      what good for you or me?
If not for me, 
       what worth then he?
If not for you, 
      Then less the sum would be.

And will you say to me,
       “Is not this quest outrageous pleasuring?”
I answer, “Speak of we,
      And…

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Same-Sex Attraction and the Inevitability of Change

John Piper

Whether sexual orientation can change or not, hearts can change and turn any sexual orientation into an occasion for the glory of Christ. When Paul says, "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), he did not exclude people with same-sex attraction.

Feasting and fasting have always been ways of glorifying Christ with food. Similarly sexual relations in marriage and sexual abstinence outside marriage have always been…

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Sometimes the Lord Slays His Loved Ones

John Piper

Some people are by nature tough, blunt, matter-of-fact, unsentimental. Others are tender, warm, soft-spoken, emotionally sensitive. Some, amazingly, are a mixture. In general, what makes these different folks feel loved is very different.

Being assessed by these different people can be dismaying. Their responses to a sermon, or a comment in conversation, can be poles apart — one feeling firmly loved, another feeling put off by perceived harshness.

What should we do? I think we should spend our lives soaking…

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What Did Jesus Come to Save Us From?

John Piper

Let’s do this inductively. I ask. You answer.

John 3:17, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

  • Why did God send his Son? _______________

John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

  • Does not obeying the Son (e. g., when he commands us…
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Learning from the Logic of Fear

John Piper

God says to Ezekiel, “Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 3:9).

The logic strikes me, at first, as odd. Don’t be afraid of the people of Israel. Why? Because they are a rebellious house.

Why would their rebelliousness reduce my fear of them?

Because the condemnation on their faces will not stick. They hold you in derision, but they are wrong and you are mine.

In other words, God is…

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A Possible Marriage Saver in Nine Steps

John Piper

The grace of God is patient and works both instantaneously and over time. A mistake we sometimes make is thinking too idealistically, as though if we blow our first apology, there is no chance for a second.

The way to think about this marriage saver biblically is that it is an effort to see Colossians 3:13 fleshed out in real life: “Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other.” There is both “bearing…

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More Thoughts on Friends Who Fail You

John Piper

Last Sunday’s message struck a chord with many when I spoke of Christian friends letting you down. I argued that sometimes they forsake you never to return — like Demas. He loved “the present world,” and so abandoned the great apostle who craved the Lord’s appearing more than he craved the world (2 Timothy 4:8).

And, even more relevant, we saw that many friends let you down but can and should remain your friends and your partners in ministry. Paul…

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Life Is Cheap in Norway: C. S. Lewis on the Sentence of Anders Breivik

John Piper

Anders Breivik’s sentence for killing 77 people in Norway on July 22, 2011 is outrageous. He was deemed sane and sentenced to serve 21 years in prison “in a three-cell suite of rooms equipped with exercise equipment, a television and a laptop.” That’s 100 days of posh prison time for each person he murdered, with a legal release possible at age 53. Life is cheap in Norway.

The news agencies explained that such a sentence

is consistent with Norway’s general…

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When a Sermon Becomes a Poem

John Piper

After preaching on the inestimable value of God’s inspired word on August 11th, I was so moved that the desire to say it again another way kept urging me on. So I wrote this.

The Truth
A Meditation on 2 Timothy 3:14–17

Stay, Timothy. Stay in this firmament,
This world of light within the world. Relent
From wandering, from chasing mist. Remain!
Outside awaits the glistening world, insane.

Stay, Timothy. This sky, this vast terrain
Where you now stand, is…

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