Posted by: William | January 7, 2008

The Supremacy of God in Preaching

I have just finished John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching. I purchased the book shortly after a conversation with a good friend of mine on the topic. I’m still somewhat of a novice in the world of Reformed literature and I don’t really know all the ‘reliable’ authors. Maybe that’s a bad way to put it. Regardless, when I went in search of a book on the topic of preaching, it was something like going into a restaurant for a blind date and not being too sure who you’re there to meet. I had seen Piper preach a few times and I love his affection for the Lord in all the things he says. So, when I saw that he’d written a book on my topic of interest, I was relieved and excited.

I received the book late last week and immediately began reading. The book is short, a brief 109 pages, broken up into two parts, seven chapters and a conclusion. I was concerned at the beginning of the book, during the first two chapters (‘the goal of preaching,’ and ‘the ground of preaching’). It seemed that he was staying in somewhat shallow water, recapping old truths about God (although, who can ever get tired of those, really?).  It really did prove to simply be laying some groundwork for the rest of the book though. By the third chapter in which he began to discuss the power with which we ought to preach, and the fourth chapter where he unpacks the gravity of preaching, he had gotten my attention.

A major theme throughout the book is clear, that the point of preaching is not to make converts, but to glorify God. All is for the glory of God and when truth is obscured or withheld for the sake of conversion, God is cheated and will not be glorified by those actions.

Into the second part, Piper sets up the rest of his teaching using the great preacher Jonathan Edwards. Piper does an excellent job of using Edwards as a clear case study on the subject of preaching. Going through, explaining the disposition and heart condition of a true preacher of the Word of God. He highlights clearly the preacher’s need to be personally affectionate and in love with God, to pursue God, to hate the things that God hates, and to pray, pray, pray! Just as Edwards did, hours and hours before dawn.

I think the most important word that Piper continually drove home was that preaching must be not just be ‘based’ on scripture, but be ‘oozing’ with it. Piper writes:

“I say that good preaching is ‘saturated with Scripture’ and not ‘based on Scripture’ because Scripture is more (not less) than the basis for good preaching. Good preaching does not sit on Scripture like a basis and say other things. It oozes with Scripture.”

I consider this view of teaching, literature, whatever totally quintessential (although I’m not always very good at it myself). That is exactly the way this book was written. It’s scarce to find a page without bible references strewn throughout. It is clear that Piper’s priority and love is for the Word of God.

I would recommend this book to anyone in the position to preach; I believe you will be encouraged, inspired and convicted. Perhaps by God’s grace, power and affection for his own glory, he would give us another Jonathan Edwards through Piper’s words of teaching and exhortation. To that end, I will pray.

 

 

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Responses

  1. […] bluemilk wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI have just finished John Piper’s The Supremacy of God in Preaching. I purchased the book shortly after a conversation with a good friend of mine on the topic. I’m still somewhat of a novice in the world of Reformed literature and I don’t really know all the ‘reliable’ authors. Maybe that’s a bad way to put it. Regardless, when I went in search of a book on the topic of preaching, it was something like going into a restaurant for a blind date and not being too sure who you’re there to meet. I had seen Piper preach a few times and I love his affection for the Lord in all the things he says. So, when I saw that he’d written a book on my topic of interest, I was relieved and excited. I received the book late last week and immediately began reading. The book is short, a […] […]

  2. I’ve been reading Piper’s book Desiring God. He definitely has passion for God’s word.

  3. Good post. I might pickup the book…


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