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A John Piper Interview
March 22, 2009, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Some food for today | Tags: ,

By C.J. Mahaney10/02/2009 7:45:00 PM

Meet John Piper.

Dr. Piper is a graduate of Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.).

Dr. Piper is the Pastor for Preaching & Vision atBethlehem Baptist Churchin Minneapolis, the founder of Desiring God, and the author of more than 30 books including:

But you probably know all this already.

So who is John Piper? What does he read for fun? What discourages him? How does he structure his devotional time? What correction from others has most benefited him? What career path would he have chosen if not ministry?

Thanks for your time, John! Please describe your morning devotions. What time do you wake up in the morning? How much time do you spend reading, meditating, praying, etc.? What are you presently reading?

I get up two mornings at 5:15, four mornings at 6:15 and one morning at 6:00.

I set aside one hour for prayer and Bible reading using theDiscipleship Journal read through the Bible reading plan. That puts me now (February 2009) in Exodus, Psalms, Matthew, and Acts. On the five free days when there are no assignments I focus on memorization.

What book(s) are you currently reading in these three categories: (a) for your soul, (b) for pastoral ministry, or (c) for personal enjoyment?

I am reading Team of Rivals about Abraham Lincoln, Gilead by Marilyn Robinson, Pilgrim’s ProgressCulture Making by Andy Crouch, and Reformed Is Not Enough by Doug Wilson.

Apart from Scripture, what book do you most frequently re-read and why?

I don’t re-read books, except to read them to my family (likePilgrim’s Progress).

When you finish a book, what system have you developed in order to remember and reference that book in the future?

I index books as I read them, by writing short notes in the front of the book with page numbers beside them. In a good book there may be over a hundred such notes.

If you could study under any theologian in church history (excluding those men in Scripture), who would it be and why?

Jonathan Edwards because he saw the grandeur of God and experienced a great awakening and ran a happy family.

What single piece of counsel (or constructive criticism) has most improved your preaching?

Don’t preach in a way that a Muslim would approve. Preach a divine crucified Christ.

What books on preaching, or examples of it, have you found most influential in your own preaching?

Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students; Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers; John Stott, Between Two Worlds; Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture.

What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your effective use of time?

A great tree will fall with many small chops. Pray for daily grace to keep chopping.

What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your leadership?

Lead by helping people see the same truth in the Bible you do so that commonly perceived truth is the fabric that binds together. When truth is not the bond, power moves are inevitable.

Where in ministry are you most regularly tempted to discouragement?

My own recurrent sins are the most discouraging thing in ministry. Next are the sins and sorrows of my family.

Do you exercise? If so, what do you do? If not, why not? (Please be specific.)

I run on the treadmill 30 minutes Monday, Wednesday and Saturday morning followed by a set of back lifts with a Swiss ball, stomach crunches with the ball, and pushups on the floor. I almost always walk to church instead of driving, 600 paces from door to door.

Currently, what sport do you like to play and/or watch?

I enjoy watching gymnastics, soccer, basketball, and football, in that order. If my back weren’t so stiff I would love to play racquetball. When our staff goes away we play volleyball and floor hockey.

What do you do for leisure?

Fill out forms from fellow pastors. Play scrabble with Noël. Read.

If you were not in ministry, what occupational path would you have chosen?

Teaching literature. Or, if my hands stopped shaking, medicine.


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