Blog Posts by John Piper
A Poem for Father's Day
I wrote this poem when Noël’s Father died. But now it covers both our fathers. We thank God for them. What a gift they were to us. And what a gift they gave.
In Memory of George T. Henry and William S. H. Piper, Our Fathers
Reflections on Psalm 1 and Joshua 24:15
No tree however deep the roots,
However high and green the shoots,
However strong the trunk has…
Many Years of Patience
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him” (Lamentations 3:25).
Charles Simeon was in the Church of England from 1782 to 1836 at Trinity Church in Cambridge. He was appointed to his church by a bishop against the will of the people. They opposed him not because he was a bad preacher, but because he was an evangelical—he believed the Bible and called for conversion and holiness and…Continue Reading
God’s Painful Exegetical Help
In this week’s Taste & See Article, I pointed out from Psalm 119:67 and Psalm 119:71 that God sends affliction to help us learn his word.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. . . . It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.
I didn't ask how affliction helps us understand God’s word and keep…Continue Reading
How God Teaches the Deep Things of His Word
The reason Psalm 119 has 176 verses is that the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters. The psalmist exults in the multifaceted preciousness of God’s word by taking each letter of the alphabet and writing eight verses of exultation, each verse beginning with that letter. It’s like saying: “The word of God is precious in every way from A to Z—beyond perfection.” (Eight is one more than seven, the number of…Continue Reading
Warfield's Supernatural Patience
It takes supernatural power to be patient. That’s why Paul seems to go over the top in how he prays for our patience:
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. (Colossians 1:11)
But that glorious might makes its way into our attitudes by means of promises that we believe. Like Romans 8:28.
Benjamin B. Warfield was a world-renowned…
Unseen Purposes for Disappointment
When Christ died he purchased for you the Yes to all God’s promises (2 Cor. 1:20), and that includes the promise to use his sovereign power to govern all the inexplicable, maddening detours and delays of your life for wise and loving purposes. He is doing a thousand things for you and for his glory in your disappointed plans.
Richard Wurmbrand tells a story that illustrates the necessity of believing…Continue Reading
The Wonder of "Idiotic" Perseverance
In his book, Passion, Karl Olsson tells a story of incredible patience among the early French Protestants called Huguenots.
In the late Seventeenth Century in… southern France, a girl named Marie Durant was brought before the authorities, charged with the Huguenot heresy. She was fourteen years old, bright, attractive, marriageable. She was asked to abjure the Huguenot faith. She was not asked to commit an immoral act, to…
Happy Meeting Anniversary, Noel
Today 42 years ago, I met my wife. I like to mark the day and give thanks. Please indulge a grateful husband.
On the 40th anniversary of that day I wrote this poem. It’s still true. Happy Meeting Anniversary, Noël. Let’s go out tonight.
Six Six Sixty Six
And That Glad Afternoon
For some the summer marks the ripening
Of seeds sunk in the furrows of the spring,
Do the Righteous Always Prosper?
How does the promise in Psalm 1:3 point to Christ? It says, “In all that he does, he prospers.” The righteous prosper in everything they do. Is this naïve or profoundly true?
In this life the wicked often prosper.
- “Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” (Psalms 37:7)
- “Evildoers not only prosper but they put God…
Charles Wesley’s Radical, Fruitful Risk
On July 18, 1738, two months after his conversion, Charles Wesley did an amazing thing. He had spent the week witnessing to inmates at the Newgate prison with a friend named “Bray,” who he described as “a poor ignorant mechanic.” One of the men they spoke to was “a black slave that had robbed his master.” He was sick with a fever and was condemned to die.
Wesley and Bray…Continue Reading
20 Reasons I Don't Take Potshots at Fundamentalists
1. They are humble and respectful and courteous and even funny (the ones I've met).
2. They believe in truth.
3. They believe that truth really matters.
4. They believe that the Bible is true, all of it.
5. They know that the Bible calls for some kind of separation from the world.
6. They have backbone and are not prone to compromise principle.
7. They put obedience to Jesus…Continue Reading
The Phenomenal Design of Pain
If there was pain before the Fall, it was only good. That is implied, I presume, in God’s calling his unfallen creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31), and in God’s promising that in new world there will be no crying “nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4). However, not many would use the word “pain” for something that is only good. It doesn’t appear that the Bible uses it that way either.
The Cost of Knowing & Showing Christ
I suspect Paul’s experience when he was caught up into paradise, while not absolutely normative, is at least a caution: Count the cost before you want to know Christ deeply or show him clearly.
“He heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter” (2 Corinthians 12:4). But there was a price to be paid for this extraordinary knowledge.
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of the…Continue Reading
Advice to Missionaries (and All of Us)
As I was working on the fifth volume of The Swans are Not Silent series about the lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John G. Paton, I found a letter written by Judson from Burma on June 25, 1832 with sobering counsel to missionaries.
Actually, these are hard and good words for all of us. Here are five of his points:
Fourthly. It may be profitable to bear…
How A Roman Catholic Anti-Calvinist Can Serve Today’s Poet-Calvinists
May 29 is G. K. Chesterton’s 134th birthday. He was a British journalist and brilliant writer. Nobody exploits the power of paradox like Chesterton.
I celebrate his birthday by recommending his book Orthodoxy.
The title gives no clue as to what you will find inside. It had a huge influence on me forty years ago in ways that would have exasperated Chesterton. He did all he could to keep…Continue Reading
There Are No Surprise Sins
One of the mercies of God that keeps me believing in him is that none of the events of history or of the news today, which seem to contradict God’s character, contradict God’s Word.
In other words, there are no surprise sins or surprise calamities in this world for those who know their Bibles.
The reason this sustains faith is that, if the very book that tells me about God’s…Continue Reading
Now or Later?
A Love for Missions Starts at Home
There is a relationship between the sermon series that just ended at Bethlehem concerning our vision for the next generation and the book I just finished writing on the missionary sacrifices of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton.
When Iain Murray gives an account of the “rise of the missionary spirit” in Scotland in the 1800's he comments that “a new zeal to take the gospel to the world…Continue Reading
4 Books from this Writing Leave
Thank you for praying for me on my four week writing leave. It's over today. It was more productive than I thought it would be. Hence my heartfelt thanks. Four projects were more or less completed.
This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence - A book on marriage that exults mainly in its meaning not its emotion. But I do hope it helps people keep their covenant and be happier…Continue Reading
What Does "God-Centered" Mean?
At Bethlehem Baptist Church and at Desiring God we use the term “God-centered” a lot. Here is one simple way to tell what we mean and test yourself to see if you are God-centered.
The psalmist describes the motivation of God in saving sinners like this:
Both we and our fathers have sinned... Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power…
A TBI Update and Announcement
Dear friends of TBI,
With trembling gratefulness in my heart, I look at the remarkable cluster of visionary ministries growing like fruit on the tree of Bethlehem Baptist Church.
- We are a kind of mission sending agency with 85 foreign missionary units (families or singles) who count Bethlehem as their main sending base.
- Campus Outreach has exploded in its four-plus years at Bethlehem with 25 staff on four…
It's Never Too Late to Keep Asking
One of the greatest hope-killers is that you have tried for so long to change and have not succeeded. Now you look back and think: What’s the use? Even if I could experience a breakthrough, there would be so little time left to live in my new way it wouldn’t make much difference compared to so many decades of failure.
That’s not true. Suppose you only had five years left…Continue Reading
How a Grandmother Knits
For Noël on Mother’s Day
She sits, the needles in her hands
looping and hooking her heart
into this little blue blanket,
and without any pink strands
stitches closed her wounds.
Do People Bore You?
I'm working on a book on the new birth. The final chapter is designed to give encouragements for personal evangelism. I just added a quote by C. S. Lewis that I love. Here’s the whole section to help you move toward people:
Find People Interesting
Be encouraged that simply finding people interesting and caring about them is a beautiful pathway into their heart. Evangelism gets a bad reputation when we…Continue Reading
Don't Neglect Reminding
It is essential to say grand old truths again and again. There is ample evidence in the Bible that they are quickly forgotten.
Remember, there are different kinds of forgetting.
One is that great truths are gone out of the mind never to return. The other is that they are gone out of the mind for a season (a day, a year) while we languish in discouragement and sin.