Review of A Godward Life, Book 2: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life, by John Piper. Multnomah Publishers, 1999.
“The best writers intensify our taste for the Bible, and especially for God himself.” So says John Piper in the preface to A Godward Life: Book 2. Piper is one of the best living writers by this standard, for every one of his books draws us into yet deeper delight in God and His Word.
A Godward Life: Book 2 is perhaps my favorite of the Piper corpus. Consisting of 120 daily readings of three to four pages each, this volume lacks the sustained argument found in his best-known works, The Pleasures of God and Desiring God. With rare exceptions, the readings do not relate specifically to each other and are not organized to build on each other. Yet these 120 diverse meditations on Scripture and life combine to create a greater passion to know God and make Him known, a passion to delve and dig into His word the way that Piper digs.
Many of the readings – each two to four pages long – begin not with the Bible but with an incident in the author’s life: a lost credit card, a breakdown on the freeway (after praying that the car would work well all day long), the occasion of his father’s 80th birthday. Others begin with stories from the lives of others: John Bunyan, Martin Luther, Joseph Tson, John Paton, Charles Simeon. Still others begin with the world around us: meditations on rain, and the pistol star (a star more than 180 million miles in diameter). In every case, however, these beginnings lead to a deep contemplation of Scripture, and its relevance for our daily lives.
Again and again, Piper takes Scripture, delves into it, and ends up with a life-changing insight into the nature of God and the Christian life. He welcomes rather than avoids controversial and difficult topics: the slaughter of the Amorites, the meaning of maleness and femaleness, promises of answer to prayer when it seems that there are none.
Here are a few brief gems:
Charles Spurgeon once said of John Bunyan, “He had studied . . . [the Bible] till his . . . soul was saturated with Scripture; . . . Prick him anywhere; his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. . . . [His] soul is full of the Word of God.” The same can be said of John Piper. His passion for God and delight in His Word jump out of each page of this marvelous volume. All who read it will want to dig deeper into that Word, and cultivate more deeply a relationship with this exuberant God.
Could there be a better Christmas gift than one that will deepen the recipient’s desire to know God and glorify Him?
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