Providence by John Piper. Crossway. 752 pages. 2021
I read this excellent book slowly over a period of more than two years. The book, which is what the Bible teaches about the doctrine of providence, is divided into three parts:
- Part 1 defines providence and then illuminates a difficulty, namely, the self-exaltation involved in God’s aim to display his own glory.
- Part 2 focuses on the ultimate goal of providence.
- Part 3 focuses on the nature and extent of providence.
Question 11 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks what are God’s works of providence. The answer is: God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions. A brief definition from Piper is “God seeing to it that things happen in a certain way”.
Piper states that the reason this book is about the providence of God rather than the sovereignty of God is that the term sovereignty does not contain the idea of purposeful action, but the term providence does. He tells us that the focus of the book is on God’s sovereignty considered not simply as powerful but as purposeful. Historically, the term providence has been used as shorthand for this more specific focus.
Over 45 chapters, Piper addresses many topics in relation to the doctrine of providence, including creation, Israel, the exodus, the new covenant, suffering, Satan, pride, Pharaoh, repentance, faith, perseverance, holiness, prayer, evangelism and missions.
This is a thorough, in-depth look at the doctrine of providence by a well-respected pastor and theologian.
Below are 30 my favorite quotes from the book: