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John Piper – A Peculiar Glory

Posted On April 29, 2016


Is the Bible true? I am not asking if there is truth in it, say, the way there is truth in Moby Dick, or Plato’s Republic, or The Lord of the Rings. Aspects of truth can be found virtually everywhere. What I am asking is this: Is the Bible completely true? All of it. Is it so trustworthy in all that it teaches that it can function as the test of all other claims to truth? This book is about how the Bible gives good grounds for the answer yes. The Bible is completely true.

There is a story behind every book. That is certainly true here. This introduction is not that story; my story comes in chapter 1. But I think it will be helpful to signal immediately why glory figures so largely in this book. My seven decades of experience with the Bible have not been mainly a battle to hold on. They have been a blessing of being held on to, namely, by beauty—that is, by glory.

I have stood in front of this window all these years, not to protect it from being broken, or because the owner of the chalet told me to, but because of the glory of the Alps on the other side. I am a captive of the glory of God revealed in Scripture. There are reasons deeper than my experience for focusing on the glory of God. But I cannot deny what I have seen and the power it has had.

Vastly more important than one man’s experience is the reality itself. The glory of God is the ground of faith. It is a solid ground. It is objective, outside ourselves. It is the ground of faith in Christ and in the Christian Scriptures. Faith is not a heroic step through the door of the unknown; it is a humble, happy sight of God’s self-authenticating glory. Consider the following biblical examples of how the glory of God becomes the ground of knowledge. The fourth example is the focus of this book.

The Heavens

First, how are all human beings supposed to know that God exists and that he is powerful and beneficent and should be glorified and thanked? David, the king of Israel, answered in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (v. 1).

But there are many people who do not see the glory of God when they look at the heavens. Nevertheless, the apostle Paul says that we should see it and that we are without excuse if we don’t, because

what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him. (Rom. 1:19–21)

God has shown everyone the glory of his power and deity and beneficence. If we do not see God’s glory, we are still responsible to see it, treasure it as glorious, and give God thanks. If we don’t, we are “without excuse.”

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