The Supremacy of God in Preaching

by John Piper

Paperback, 2004



Call number



Baker Books (2004), Edition: Revised, 128 pages


According to Warren Wiersbe, The Supremacy of God in Preaching 'calls us back to a biblical standard for preaching, a standard exemplified by many of the pulpit giants of the past, especially Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon.' This newly revised edition is an essential guide for preachers who want to stir the embers of revival. Piper focuses his study on the example of Jonathan Edwards as an illustration of a leader who submitted to God.

User reviews

LibraryThing member billmeister16
Pastors and Preachers have missed out if they neglect this gem from Piper. Here, he only focuses on what should be the object and content of our sermons. After reading this book, the fire will be burning white-hot in your bones to preach God's Word for His glory!
LibraryThing member trevor_f
It is a joy to hear Piper, unfolding insights from Jonathan Edwards. How the centuries continue to have the gospel proclaimed with clarity!
LibraryThing member matthauck
This is an absolutely fantastic book. It is written by John Piper. I started reading it a while back, and I picked it up today at chapter 2 and I couldn't put it down until I finished it. I think that everyone who is or aspires to be a preacher of the Word of God needs to read this book. I couldn't
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help but share a little of how I was blessed in reading it.

One of the most riveting chapters speaks of the gravity and gladness of preaching. I thought it very relevant and challenging to myself, given the general shallowness of our generation. In providing example of such preaching, Jonathan Edwards' preaching was discussed at some length. I quote from Sereno Dwight, who assembled Edwards' memoirs, in reference to Edwards' eloquence of speech:

He had no studied varieties of the voice, and no strong emphasis. He scarcely gestured, or even moved; and he made no attempt by the elegance of his style, or the beauty of his pictures, to gratify the tastes, and fascinate the imagination. But, if you mean by eloquence, the power of presenting an important truth before an audience, with overwhelming weight of argument, and with such intenseness of feeling, that the whole soul of the speaker is thrown into every part of the conception and delivery; so that the solemn attention of the whole audience is riveted, from the beginning to the close, and impressions are left that cannot be effaced; Mr. Edwards was the most eloquent man I ever heard speak.
(Piper, 53-54)

O, to have such gravity, such weightiness, such understanding of the eternal realities that are at stake. Would I be captivated with such a realism about the depth of depravity and the eternality of hell and the pure joy of heaven. Would God humble me before His awesome Word and rid me of all foolish jest that does not give grace to those who hear.

Would God grant our generation seriousness, weightiness, gravity. Would we tremble before the word of the Almighty. (Isaiah 66:2)
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LibraryThing member BradKautz
“People are starving for the grandeur of God. And the vast majority do not know it.” (107) These words begin the conclusion to John Piper’s short and excellent book, The Supremacy of God in Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004), a book where he lays out a vision of God that he believes
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should drive the words that pastors bring to their pulpit, not just occasionally but every time that they rise to speak from the Bible the words that God has laid on their hearts.

Piper wrote the first edition of this book in 1990, drawing from two lecture series, given in 1984 and 1988, and the book is divided accordingly. In Part 1 he discusses the topic “Why God Should Be Supreme in Preaching,” beginning with preaching’s goal, the glory of God, which he believes is rightly paired with the Christian’s delight in God. He summarizes the connection between God’s glory and the believer’s joy with these words: “God’s deepest commitment to be glorified and my deepest longing to be satisfied are not in conflict, but in fact find simultaneous consummation in his display of and my delight in the glory of God.” (29) The task of the preacher is to make God’s glory so central, and essential, to faith that the Christian is fully satisfied in God and finds every other desire wanting in comparison.

Piper uses a Trinitarian framework in Part 1. God’s glory is in relation to the Father, the Ground of Preaching is connected to the Son, and Gift of Preaching is derived from the Spirit. A deep understanding of this theology of preaching will guide the preacher to approach his or her task with both gravity and gladness. He writes, “Gladness and gravity should be woven together in the life and preaching of a pastor in such a way as to sober the careless soul and sweeten the burden of the saints.” (55)

The topic of Part 2 is “How to Make God Supreme in Preaching.” In this section Piper does not offer his own wisdom but turns to a preacher he has had a life-long admiration for, Jonathan Edwards. As Piper discusses Edwards and Edwards’ ministry the twin keys are Edwards’ grasp of, and submission to, God’s sovereignty and a consequent, and constant, desire to proclaim God as supreme.

Everything that Edwards understood of God flowed from his sovereign nature. Piper writes, “For Edwards the infinite power; or absolute sovereignty, of God is the foundation of God’s all-sufficiency. And his all-sufficiency is the fountain of his perfect holiness, and his holiness comprehends all his moral excellency. So the sovereignty of God for Edwards was utterly crucial to everything else he believed about God.” (78)

Understanding the otherness of God’s nature in relation to humanity then is the basis for preaching and delighting in his sovereignty. “In summary, then, when Jonathan Edwards becomes still and knows that God is God, the vision before his eyes is of an absolutely sovereign God, self-sufficient and all-sufficient, infinite and holiness, and therefore perfectly glorious.” (82) That is an amazing vision of God!

Are people, people who believe in God as made known through Jesus Christ, starving for God’s grandeur? Generally speaking I would have to agree with Piper. Living after the Fall we are so broken, and our gaze is so inward, that we rarely look beyond ourselves to glimpse the glory and majesty of God as made known in the Bible. And when we glimpse it, even rarer are the moments when we savor it.

Last week I read the Christian atheist, by Craig Groeschel, (my review is here). His central assertion is that there are many common ways in which people professing Christian faith live in ways that suggest their faith is often in something else. Groeschel offers valuable and practical wisdom to strengthen the faith of faltering believers and their witness in the world.

In The Supremacy of God in Preaching John Piper offers something equally practical and necessary to today’s preacher, which is encouragement and wisdom so that every sermon is one that is saturated with a vision of the glory of God, a vision so majestic that God’s people may find the satisfaction of every need in God alone.
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LibraryThing member broreb
This book should be required reading before anyone is allowed to enter a pulpit. It is not a technical book on how to write or deliver a sermon. Instead, as the title proclaims, it stresses the most important aspect of preaching...focusing on the glory of God and proclaiming the Gospel message.
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Piper demonstrates how to do this by examining the teaching and preaching of Jonathan Edwards. The most practical and helpful chapter is the last chapter (other than the conclusion), in which Piper discusses the 10 characteristics of Edwards' preaching. This book is the most important book on preaching I've ever read, and I wish I had read it before I entered the ministry.
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8.5 inches


0801065046 / 9780801065040
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