God has provided a way for all people, not just scholars, to know that the Bible is the Word of God. John Piper has devoted his life to showing us that the glory of God is the object of the soul’s happiness. Now, his burden in this book is to demonstrate that this same glory is the ground of the mind’s certainty.
God’s peculiar glory shines through his Word. The Spirit of God enlightens the eyes of our hearts. And in one self-authenticating sight, our minds are sure and our hearts are satisfied. Justified certainty and solid joy meet in the peculiar glory of God.
“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., Emeritus Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, 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, Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary
“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, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“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 and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Justification (New Studies in Dogmatics)
“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 Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte
“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; coauthor, Reformed Catholicity
“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, Vice President of Education, and Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; author, He Who Gives Life and The God Who Became Human
“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
Table of Contents:
Part 1: A Place to Stand
". . . the LORD revealed himself by the word of the LORD"
- My Story: Held by the Bible
Part 2: What Books and Words Make Up the Christian Scriptures?
". . . from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah"
- Which Books Make Up the Old Testament?
- Which Books Make Up the New Testament?
- Do We Have the Very Words of the Biblical Authors?
Part 3: What Do the Christian Scriptures Claim for Themselves?
". . . words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit"
- The Old Testament
- Jesus's Estimate of the Old Testament
- The Authority of the Apostles
Part 4: How Can We Know the Christian Scriptures Are True?
". . . by a sight of its glory"
- A Shared Concern with Jonathan Edwards
- What It Is Like to See the Glory of God
- Pondering Pascal's Wager
- John Calvin and the Internal Testimony of the Holy Spirit
Part 5: How Are the Christian Scriptures Confirmed by the Peculiar Glory of God?
". . . the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ"
- The Glory of God as the Scope of the World and the Word
- Majesty in Meekness: The Peculiar Glory in Jesus Christ
- In the Fulfillment of Prophecy
- In the Miracles of Jesus
- In the People the Word Creates
- The Place of Historical Reasoning
Desiring God Note on Resources