Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness Hardcover – March 31, 2016
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“A Peculiar Glory is not just another book defending the reliability of the Scriptures, although it does do that. It is a reminder that without the internal witness of the Spirit, no amount of evidences will ever lead to faith. And that witness works most directly as we read and understand Scripture itself—as it attests itself to us—particularly as we focus on Jesus and the gospel message. Part apologetics, part church history, part almost lyrical poetry, Piper’s book should inspire every reader back to the Bible, to its core and to the Jesus whom it reveals, who loves us beyond measure despite all that we are and do—more than enough reason for being his disciples.”
—Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
“Never has the church been in greater need of recognizing that Scripture is self-attesting. In this important and timely book, Piper shows what it means not only to conform our thinking but also to submit our worship and our lives as a whole to the self-establishing, self-validating truth and authority of the Bible and, in doing that, to the Christ of the Bible.”
—Richard B. Gaffin Jr., Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary
“A Peculiar Glory is a solid theological and exegetical treatment of biblical authority, but much more. Besides the standard arguments, Piper has developed (with the help of Jonathan Edwards) a profoundly original yet biblical approach to the question. It raises the traditional arguments to an exponential level of cogency. Piper says that our most definitive persuasion comes from actually seeing the glory of God in his Word. Theologians have traditionally called this the ‘internal testimony of the Holy Spirit,’ but that theological label does little justice to the experience, the awareness of the glory of God as we meet Jesus in Scripture. That really happens. It is astonishing and powerful. And it explains the difference between an observer’s merely theoretical faith and a true disciple’s delighted embrace of Christ. This doctrine of Scripture is worthy of the overall emphasis of Piper’s writings, the ‘desire’ for God, ‘Christian hedonism,’ and the ‘dangerous duty of delight.’ Perhaps only Piper could have written this book, and I’m delighted that he has done so.”
—John M. Frame, professor of systematic theology and philosophy emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando
“Piper points us to Scripture—its authority, its historical accuracy, its total truthfulness, and especially its beauty and power. The Scriptures are beautiful and powerful because they disclose to us, as the Spirit opens our hearts, the loveliness and glory of Jesus Christ. Here we find compelling arguments for the truthfulness of the Scriptures and profound meditations on the stunning glory of God. The book captures and expresses the truth of Peter’s words in John 6:68, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
“The classic doctrine of Scripture’s self-attestation suffers when it is used as a short-cut method of scoring evidential points or winning an argument without doing any work. But it unfolds its wings and soars to the heavens when handled by somebody who shows that when we read the Bible, we are dealing with God himself in his own holy words. In this book, John Piper throws everything he’s got at the message of how God illuminates the mind and gives firm conviction to the heart through the Bible.”
—Fred Sanders, professor of theology, Torrey Honors Institute, Biola University; author, The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything
“It’s easy to take the Bible for granted. We know that it’s the Word of God, but do we really? We know which books belong to it and what distinguishes these texts from ordinary religious literature, right? Of course, we know why we trust Scripture and how to communicate that confidence to others, or do we? Rather than take for granted a high view of Scripture, A Peculiar Glory exposes another generation to the source, authority, reliability, and truthfulness of God’s written word. Dr. Piper has written another important, accessible, and wise account of the things that matter most.”
—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology, Westminster Seminary California; author, Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God's Story
“There are few questions more important than ‘How do I know the Bible is God’s Word?’ And there are few people who could address it as well as John Piper. Drawing from the deep theological well of Jonathan Edwards and with a practical eye for the average believer in the pew, Piper helps us recover the foundational importance of a self-authenticating Bible. This book will revolutionize the way you think about God’s Word.”
—Michael J. Kruger, President and Professor of New Testament, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte; author, Canon Revisited
“In this spirited and tightly argued book, pastor-theologian John Piper seeks to ground our confidence in the Bible’s status as the Word of God by directing our attention to the ‘peculiar glory’ that is manifest through its message and across its pages: the glory of the ‘Lion-like majesty’ and the ‘Lamb-like meekness’ that radiates in the face of Jesus Christ. Here is a book on the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture that promises to strengthen our faith in the word of God and to expand our capacity for wonder before the glory of God.”
—Scott R. Swain, president and James Woodrow Hassell Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida
“With passion, clarity, a believing respect for Scripture, and a burning desire for God’s glory, John Piper has written a robust defense of the complete trustworthiness of Scripture, with debts to Jonathan Edwards and the Westminster Larger Catechism. The language of the book is simple and accessible, but the ideas are deep and its coverage extensive. Scholarship is worn lightly, and the pastoral concern informing the work is pervasively evident. Whether the reader is educationally sophisticated or unsophisticated, the argument is that the peculiar glory of God is on view for all to see, if God gives the grace to do so. I hope this work finds a wide readership.”
—Graham A. Cole, Dean and Vice President of Education and Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“John Piper has written a robust and pastoral defense of an orthodox doctrine of Scripture. Resisting any who would render well-grounded assurance of Scripture’s truthfulness the preserve of experts and academics, his emphasis upon the self-authenticating and life-transforming glory of God they bear is salutary and faith-affirming. We cannot properly regard Scripture without beholding its author. The greatest strength of Piper’s treatment lies precisely in the fact that his account of Scripture is so absorbed in the beauty of the one who inspired it.”
—Alastair J. Roberts, theologian; blogger
“A Peculiar Glory should be quickly established as a modern classic on the Bible. Clearly and methodically laying out the case for why we can have absolute confidence in the Bible as God’s own word, it gives to faith both muscle and joy. The day John Owen persuaded me that the Christian Scriptures are self-authenticating was a glorious moment of liberation. I hope and expect that John Piper will bring that same liberation to many with this book.”
—Michael Reeves, president and professor of theology, Union School of Theology
About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God; Don’t Waste Your Life; This Momentary Marriage; A Peculiar Glory; and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
Top customer reviews
A Peculiar Glory, Piper’s first major work in a number of years, explains why and how he has such deep-rooted confidence in the Bible. He sets out to answer this question: How are we to know that the Christian Scriptures are the word of God? Of course we have any number of books that answer the question. There is a whole genre of books that look to the history of the Bible, to the formation of the canon, to the accuracy of the narratives, to the fulfillment of prophecy, and so on. This is one way of arriving at the conviction that the Bible is truly God’s Word. But Piper takes a different approach. His concern is whether a person without access to scholarship and without access to specialized knowledge can have equal assurance. His concern is that even “ordinary people, with little chance of following complex and obscure textual and historical arguments, may discern whether the Christian Scriptures are the word of God. We may rejoice that God always raises up scholarly Christians to interact with scholarly opponents of Christian faith. But it is wrong to think that all believers need to follow those debates in order to have a justified faith in Scripture.”
His focus, then is the Bible’s self-attestation, or the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. Yet this internal witness is not a leap into the dark, a blind faith. “The argument of this book is that the final step of certainty concerning the Scriptures is the step of sight, not inference. The pathway that leads to sight may involve such empirical observation, and historical awareness, and rational thought. But the end we are seeking is not a probable inference from historical reasoning but a full assurance that we have seen the glory of God. Thus, at the end of all human means, the simplest preliterate person and the most educated scholar come to a saving knowledge of the truth of Scripture in the same way: by a sight of its glory.”
He begins with his own story of being enthralled and held by the Bible. Then, through four chapters, he examines what books and words make up the Christian Scriptures. Three chapters are dedicated to looking at what the Scriptures claim for themselves through the Old Testament, through Jesus, and through the apostles. And then, at last, he is ready to consider the questions that are at the heart of the book, a task that takes four chapters. The final six chapters look at how the Christian Scriptures are confirmed by the peculiar glory of God.
It is these final ten chapters that comprise the book’s most notable contribution. Piper’s claim is that the Bible is true, inerrant, authoritative, and the only guide to salvation. But how can we know this? “The Bible assumes there is a basis for firm and justified knowledge that what it teaches is true. It assumes that everyone who hears a faithful narration of the gospel is responsible to believe it—not by leaping into the dark, but by seeing real and compelling grounds for faith. According to Scripture, people don’t have to be educated historians to know the historical truth of Scripture. This is utterly crucial, since the vast majority of the people in the world who will hear the gospel are in no position to comprehend the complexity of the (legitimate!) historical reasoning that supports the resurrection of Jesus and the reliability of the Bible.” Historical arguments are good, but insufficient. “The Bible does not teach or assume that we come to faith by leaping into the dark. It assumes that we embrace Christ and his Scripture by seeing real and compelling grounds for faith.” If you are familiar with Piper’s work, it will not surprise you that he finds his answers by searching the work of his favorite author, Jonathan Edwards, and his central text, 2 Corinthians 4:4–6. He argues that the Bible exposes us to the glory of God and in that way gives us complete confidence that it is, indeed, God’s own word.
After recording my own thoughts on the book I turned to the endorsements to see what others have said, and was taken with Fred Sanders’ commendation. “The classic doctrine of Scripture’s self-attestation suffers when it is used as a short-cut method of scoring evidential points or winning an argument without doing any work. But it unfolds its wings and soars to the heavens when handled by somebody who shows that when we read the Bible, we are dealing with God himself in his own holy words. In this book, John Piper throws everything he’s got at the message of how God illuminates the mind and gives firm conviction to the heart through the Bible.” In that way A Peculiar Glory is a logical addition to John Piper’s literary canon and a valuable contribution to Christian publishing. It receives my highest recommendation.
How is the Bible confirmed by the peculiar glory of God? This critical question is addressed in John Piper’s latest book, A Peculiar Glory. The book is written to nourish and edify followers of Christ and help bring clarity on the matter of biblical authority. Yet, initial reviews are troubling. One critic accuses Piper of “circular reasoning and arrogance.” In a Christianity Today review, Jason Byassee laments a “lack of charity” in Piper’s new book. And while he affirms that liberals and mainline denominations need “Christ-centered, biblically attentive doctrines of Scripture,” he doubles down in his critical review of Piper. “This book doesn’t quite fit that need” argues Byassee. I will argue, much to the contrary that not only does Piper succeed, he does it with grace, unmatched skill. Indeed, this work will leave a significant mark that will be difficult to surpass.
Peculiar Glory gives readers an inside look into the words of the Westminster Larger Catechism (Question 4): “The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the word of God, by … the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God.”
Readers will discover the glory that occupies Piper’s attention (and should occupy ours as well) is the glory of Jesus Christ. Piper argues there is “an essence or a center or a dominant peculiarity in the way God glorifies himself in Scripture.” He observes that God glorifies himself in “working for those who wait for him, through fulfilled prophecy, the miracles of Jesus, and through Scripture-shaped lives of radical love. That dominant peculiarity is the revelation of God’s majesty through meekness.” And in the final analysis, we learn that the most intense aspect of God’s glory shines brightest in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has died for sinners and was raised and seated at the right hand of God the Father.
Piper’s conclusion is simple: “The Bible has final authority over every area of our lives and that we should, therefore, try to bring all our thinking and feeling and acting into line with what the Bible teaches.” He admits this is a massive claim of epic proportions:
The Bible is not the private charter of a faith community among other faith communities. It is a total claim on the whole world. God, the creator owner, and governor of the world, has spoken. His words are valid and binding on all people everywhere. That is what it means to be God. And to our astonishment, his way of speaking with unique, infallible authority in the twenty-first century is through a book. One book. Not many. That is the breathtaking declaration of the Christian Scriptures.
Piper’s concluding argument is laced with precision and resolve:
"Only the divine ‘light of the gospel of the glory of Christ’ transforms the soul. Only divine light yields certainty that secures the soul for a life of love through the worst sufferings. Only the sight of God’s glory in his inspired word gives certainty to the simplest and the most educated person."
I commend A Peculiar Glory to followers of Christ who want to gain a deeper understanding of God’s word. This book will no doubt ground many believers in the deep soil of God’s grace and help nourish many souls so that God’s peculiar glory will manifest itself in their lives.
Piper explains that the eyes of faith perceive the "light of ... the glory of Christ" in the gospel (2 Cor 4:4-6). This is the self-authenticating testimony to the gospel's truthfulness - and all of Scripture!
The greatest fight is the fight to see.