Prosperity Preachers

Philippians 1:12–14

In this lab, Pastor John laments that prosperity gospels rob people of the opportunity to show the world that Christ is worth suffering and dying for.

Principle for Bible Reading


John Piper utilizes specific Bible verses to give practical steps for how he walks by faith. He summarizes it in the acronym A.P.T.A.T.

  • Admit you can do nothing without God (John 15:5).
  • Pray for help (Psalm 50:15).
  • Trust a specific promise (2 Chronicles 20:20).
  • Act (Philippians 2:12–13).
  • Thank God for his provision and goodness (Psalm 106:1).

These steps can also provide practical help for Bible study. How can you walk by faith when your Bible is open before you but your mind wanders and your heart is distracted?

  • Admit that you need God’s help to focus and be engaged. It might be helpful to cast all present anxieties on him before you begin your study (1 Peter 5:6–7).
  • Pray for help to not only understand God’s word, but to be obedient to it (James 1:22).
  • Trust a specific promise. In this case, Paul’s words to Timothy may be helpful: “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (2 Timothy 2:7).
  • Act by prayerfully reading, thinking about, and meditating on truth.
  • Thank God for his word and for meeting you whether you feel like it was especially rich or not.

Study Questions

  1. What do you think of prosperity preaching? Do you think 2 Corinthians 2:17 describes one of these preachers?
  2. How do you think Paul’s imprisonment served to advance the gospel in Philippians 1:12? In what ways can our suffering advance the gospel?
  3. Do you believe that Christ is worth suffering for?