A Peculiar Glory
How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
The glory of God is shining through the Bible.
God has provided a way for all people, not just scholars, to know that the Bible is the word of God. John Piper has devoted his life to showing us that the glory of God is the happiness of the soul. Now, his burden in this book is to demonstrate that this same glory is the certainty of the mind.
Never has the church been in greater need of recognizing that Scripture is self-attesting. In this important and timely book, written not just for pastors and theologians but broadly for the whole church, Piper shows in a wonderfully rich and full way what it means not only to conform our thinking but also to submit our worship and our lives as a whole to the self-establishing, self-validating truth and authority of the Bible, and in doing that, to the Christ of the Bible.
—Richard B. Gaffin, Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
John Piper has written a robust and pastoral defense of an orthodox doctrine of Scripture. Resisting any who would render well-grounded assurance of Scripture’s truthfulness the preserve of experts and academics, his emphasis upon the self-authenticating and life-transforming glory of God they bear is salutary and faith-affirming. We cannot properly regard Scripture without beholding its Author; the greatest strength of Piper’s treatment lies precisely in the fact his account of Scripture is so absorbed in the beauty of the One who inspired it.
—Alastair Roberts, Alastair Roberts, PhD, University of Durham; participant, Mere Fidelity podcast
In this spirited and tightly argued book, pastor-theologian John Piper seeks to ground our confidence in the Bible’s status as the Word of God by directing our attention to the ‘peculiar glory’ that is manifest through its message and across its pages: the glory of the ‘Lion-like majesty’ and the ‘Lamb-like meekness’ that radiates in the face of Jesus Christ. Here is a book on the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture that promises to strengthen our faith in the Word of God and to expand our capacity for wonder before the glory of God.
—Scott Swain, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Academic Dean, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida
A Peculiar Glory should quickly establish itself as a modern classic on the Bible. Clearly and methodically laying out the case for why we can have absolute confidence in the Bible as God's own word, it gives to faith both muscle and joy. The day John Owen persuaded me that the Christian Scriptures are self-authenticating was a glorious moment of liberation for me. I hope and expect that John Piper will bring that same liberation to many with this book.
—Michael Reeves, Director of Union and Senior Lecturer, Wales Evangelical School of Theology; author, Delighting in the Trinity, The Unquenchable Flame and Rejoicing in Christ
There are few questions more important than ‘How Do I know the Bible is God’s Word?’ And there are few people who could address it as well as John Piper. Drawing from the deep theological well of Jonathan Edwards, and with a practical eye for the average believer in the pew, Piper has helped us recover the foundational importance of a self-authenticating Bible. This book will revolutionize the way you think about God’s Word.
It’s easy to take the Bible for granted. We know that it’s the Word of God, but do we really? We know which books belong to it and what distinguishes these texts from ordinary religious literature, right? Of course, we know why we trust Scripture and how to communicate that confidence to others, or do we? Rather than take a high view of Scripture for granted, Peculiar Glory exposes another generation to the source, authority, reliability, and truthfulness of God’s written Word. Dr. Piper has written another important, accessible, and wise account of the things that matter most.
—Michael Horton, Westminster Seminary California
John Piper’s A Peculiar Glory is a solid theological and exegetical treatment of biblical authority, but much more. Besides the standard arguments, Piper has developed (with the help of Jonathan Edwards) a profoundly original, yet biblical, approach to the question. It raises the traditional arguments to an exponential level of cogency. Piper says that our most definitive persuasion comes from actually seeing the glory of God in his Word. Theologians have traditionally called this the “internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, but that theological label does little justice to the experience, the awareness of the glory of God as we meet Jesus in Scripture. That really happens. It is astonishing and powerful. And it explains the difference between an observer’s merely theoretical faith and a true disciple’s delighted embrace of Christ. This doctrine of Scripture is worthy of the overall emphasis of Piper’s writings, the ‘desire’ for God, ‘Christian Hedonism,’ and the ‘dangerous duty of delight.’ Perhaps only Piper could have written this book, and I’m delighted that he has done so.
—John Frame, J. D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
Piper points us to the Scripture—its authority, its historical accuracy, its total truthfulness, but especially its beauty and power. The Scriptures are beautiful and powerful because they disclose to us, as the Spirit opens our hearts, the loveliness and glory of Jesus Christ. Here we find compelling arguments for the truthfulness of the Scriptures and profound meditations on the stunning glory of God. The book captures and expresses the truth of Peter’s words in John 6:68, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’
—Thomas Schreiner, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
The classic doctrine of Scripture’s self-attestation suffers when it is used as a short-cut method of scoring evidential points or winning an argument without doing any work. But it unfolds its wings and soars to the heavens when it is given ample space, when it is handled by somebody who shows that when we read the Bible we are dealing with God himself in his own holy words. In this book, John Piper throws everything he's got at the message of how God illuminates the mind and gives firm conviction to the heart through the Bible.
When I think of John Piper I think of passion, clarity, a believing respect for Scripture, and a burning desire for God’s glory. This book exhibits all these qualities. It is a robust defense of the complete trustworthiness of Scripture with debts to Jonathan Edwards (no surprise there) and the Westminster Larger Catechism. The language of the book is simple and accessible, but the ideas are deep and its coverage extensive (canon, biblical self-testimony, truth value, among other themes). Scholarship is worn lightly and the pastoral concern informing the work is pervasively evident. Whether the reader is educationally sophisticated or unsophisticated, the argument is that the peculiar glory of God is on view for all to see, if God gives the grace to do so. That peculiar glory is on full display in Christ who embodies the majesty and meekness of God. I reminded of Calvin’s dictum about Scripture that the divine majesty lives and breathes there. Piper’s own testimony that begins the book underlines that point. I hope that this work finds a wide readership.
A Peculiar Glory is not just another book defending the reliability of the Scriptures, although it does do that. It is a reminder that without the internal witness of the Spirit, no amount of evidences will ever lead to faith. And that witness works most directly as we read and understand Scripture itself—as it attests itself to us—particularly as we focus on Jesus and the gospel message, the very heart of the Scriptures. Part apologetics, part church history, part almost lyrical poetry, Piper’s book should inspire every reader back to the Bible, to its core and to the Jesus that it reveals who loves us beyond measure despite all that we are and do—more than enough reason for being his disciples.