John Piper’s Desiring God is one of those books that I had heard people talking about for a long time. Well, I finally picked it up and gave it a read and I quickly began to see why this book has been so enduring since it was initially released back in 1986. The content of this book remains just as powerful and relevant as the day it was released since Piper grounds everything so firmly in Scripture. The revisions are welcome because it has allowed Piper to update popular and technological references so that the book remains just as accessible today as it did twenty-five years ago.
The book begins with Piper essentially establishing what a “Christian hedonist” is and why Scripture supports a lifestyle of Christian hedonism. He builds his thesis off a slight revision to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever” by changing it to “by enjoying Him forever.” The remainder of the book consists of each chapter being devoted to a different aspect of the Christian life and how Christian hedonism is Scriptural and enhances those aspects. These are the sections of the book that bring Piper’s arguments into the practical realm. He deals with such topics as worship, money, marriage, missions, and suffering. I think one of the reasons why this book has continued to be widely read and recommended is because Piper does a good job of covering a wide range of theological and life issues. The chances are good that whatever situation you are dealing with in life, Piper addresses it in some manner and explains it in the context of Christian hedonism.
I found the chapters on money, missions, and suffering to be especially powerful. The missions chapter in particular is loaded with examples and quotations from historical missionaries (William Carey, Adoniram Judson, etc.) who offered much for the cause of Christ and maintained a level of humility, contentment, and joy that should make all of us reexamine our priorities.The grounding of each chapter in real life examples is what makes this book stand out. Piper could have written an effective book just with straight theological and intellectual arguments. However, his use of examples from history and life help bring the concepts down to earth and aid in applying them.
It is also worth noting that this book has a very useful study guide and Scripture index in the back. The study guide would be very useful for using this book in a small group Bible study. The Scripture index makes it simple to find places in the book where Piper cited a specific passage.
This is a book that you should have in your library. It’s one that I plan to revisit frequently. It’s grounded in Scripture, accessible, and exceedingly practical. My only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner.
I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.