By C. J. Mahaney for desiringGod.org
I’m old enough to remember when door-to-door salesmen were not uncommon. While it was never a job that appealed to me, I did admire the perseverance of someone who made it his profession to knock on doors, make a pitch about his product, and endure rejection after rejection.
I was thinking about these guys as I was reading John Piper’s most recent book, Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture. John has written many great books, but this has become my personal favorite. I like it so much that I am ready to join the ranks of foot-weary peddlers and sell this book door-to-door. It’s that good. In fact, this book is so good, I’ve read it five times already.
Five Questions About Bible Reading
My sales pitch would begin with a few questions:
Do you look forward to reading your Bible each day, or does it feel like a duty?
Do you find that your Bible reading leads to a greater knowledge of God and intimacy with God, or do you come away indifferent and unaffected by what you have read?
Do you feel embarrassed and perplexed because other Christians seem to have a rich experience with Scripture — and you, well, not so much?
Do you feel a constant, low-grade guilt over your lack of consistent Bible reading?
Do you find books other than the Bible more interesting and exciting?
If so, I have a book for you!
Helplessness and Hope
This book will teach you how to read your Bible “in reliance on God, and the Spirit, and Christ to do for you what you cannot do for yourself as you seek to see what is really there in Scripture, and as you seek to savor it and be transformed by it. . . . At every turn of the page, rely on God. That is a supernatural transaction. If more people approached the Bible with a deep sense of helplessness, and hope-filled reliance on God’s merciful assistance, there would be far more seeing and savoring and transformation than there is.”
Is this how you approach your Bible each morning — with a deep sense of helplessness and hope? John helps us to recognize both our helplessness and hope so that by God’s merciful assistance, we might see.
This book will create an excitement in your soul for reading the Bible. What will you see and savor in your reading? Well, “the infinite worth and beauty of God himself . . . the greatest love that had ever been shown in all of history — the greatest person made the greatest sacrifice for the greatest gift to the least deserving . . . [so that we might] feel the worth of the love of Christ — a love whose height and depth and length and breadth are immeasurable.”
It simply doesn’t get any better than this; and this experience awaits those who read in reliance upon our gracious God who is eager to reveal himself. Or, as John writes, “We read. God reveals.” And when he reveals, we are transformed, by the grace of God.
If You Only Read One Book
I could go on. Well, John goes on, actually, for 393 inspiring pages. Listen, if you read just one book this year, along with your Bible, make it this book, because this book will make all the difference in creating an appetite for reading the only book that matters.
Summer is an ideal time to create a plan for reading. Rather than being overwhelmed by all your reading options, start by reading this book. And if you only read this book this summer, you won’t regret it. By the grace of God, you will see and savor the infinite worth and beauty of Christ in the pages of Scripture.
Sold yet? If my sales pitch doesn’t move you, let me bring John in to speak to you directly. Here’s why he wrote the book:
When you’re 71, in your eighth decade (that always sounds older) — it’s amazing when I think about it — you don’t think about your future productivity the same way you did when you were 35. You’re more keenly aware that you probably won’t get to do all you would like to do. The time that remains is unknown. As I’ve pondered my life now, and what I have done so far, and what I would like to do, nothing has seemed more important to me than to focus on the authority and the meaning and the heralding of the word of God, the Bible.
So, if “nothing has seemed more important” for John to write about, then I want to devote myself to this topic, with John as my trusted teacher. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same. If I could afford it, I would give you this book — that’s how eager I am for you to read it. It’s that good. I hope you’ll buy it, read it, and be transformed by it. Thanks for opening the door and listening to my pitch.