Principle for Bible Reading
Romans 8:28 is one of the most important and most treasured verses and promises in the Bible. In this lab, John Piper begins a series of three labs pulling apart the critical pieces in these twenty-four words for understanding and embracing our sovereign and good God.
What Does ‘Good’ Mean? (01:48–05:30)
“We do not know what to pray for as we ought” (Romans 8:26). But there is something we do know. What do we know? We know that all things work together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28).
- What does “good” mean? First, it is “good” to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29). We will be like him one day in sinlessness and purity.
- Second, being conformed to him, we will be in a position to see and praise him, the One who goes before us and is lifted above us (Romans 8:29).
- The last good of Romans 8:28 is our final glorification (Romans 8:30).
What Are the ‘All Things’? (05:30–11:03)
- All things — positive or negative, painful or pleasurable — are by his design, and sustained by him, and for his glory (Romans 11:36).
- God will work all things according to the counsel of his will, and his will is for our good (Ephesians 1:11–12).
- Everything we need in this life will be ours, including painful things that are necessary to bring us to glory (Romans 8:31–34).
- Even death is yours. Death itself will serve our ultimate, lasting life (1 Corinthians 3:21–23).
- All our sufferings will serve our future glory (Romans 8:18–21).
- All of our groaning will work together for our good (Romans 8:23–25). At least one way this happens is that suffering produces hope (Romans 5:3–5).
- Try to define “good” in Romans 8:28. Clearly, it does not mean comfort or ease or health or prosperity. So what does it mean here?
- When Paul says “all things,” what kinds of things does he have in mind?
- Read Romans 11:36, 1 Corinthians 3:21–23, and Romans 5:3–5. Do those verses change or shape the way you read Romans 8:28? If so, in what ways?
Piper: “We will have everything we need in this life, including painful things necessary to bring us to glory.”
‘The Greatest Chapter’ Series
This lab is part of a series through Romans 8. Taking a verse or two at a time, John Piper unfolds the other-worldly realities in these thirty-nine verses, all along pointing out general, practical principles for understanding and applying the Bible’s meaning. Visit ‘The Greatest Chapter’ series page to see all the labs in this series.