The Pleasures of God: Preface and Introduction

7 Jun

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that a group from our church was reading through John Piper’s book, The Pleasures of God. We are done with the Preface and Introduction and are just about to start chapter one. The new edition of the book includes a Study Guide and our group answered those questions together. As a help to anyone who may be reading along or who may want to begin to read with us, here is an answer key to the questions in the Study Guide.

Answer Key to Introduction: How This Book Was Born

1. What was the key sentence in Henry Scougal’s book, The Life of God in the Soul of Man, that triggered the origin of this book (p.4)?
The worth and excellency of a soul is measured by the object of its love.

2. What is the meaning of the word love in that key sentence? Is it commitment to someone who is unlovely, or is it delight in what is lovely (p.5)?
To love in this sentence is to delight in what is lovely.

3. The conclusion Piper draws from this sentence is that one way to meditate on the excellency of God is to meditate on what (p.6)?
We can meditate on the excellency of God by meditating on what brings him joy.

4. What psychological principle concerning the experience of admiration shows the connection between meditating on God’s excellency and our growth in Christlikeness (p.6)?
The psychological principle is that we tend to conform to what we admire, therefore, admiring, or delighting in, God would tend to move us forward in Christlikeness.  

5. What Bible verse shows the gradual, life-changing power of meditating on God’s excellency (p.6)?
2Corinthians 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

6. In the second full paragraph of page 7, Piper sums up his goal in writing this book. What are the five steps that build on each other in reaching his final goal?
The five steps are as follows:
    1. The world’s greatest need is to know the great and glorious God   of the Bible.
    2. Piper’s goal is get more people to meditate on the pleasures of             God.
    3. In so doing, more souls would be increasingly satisfied with God.
    4. More souls would be gradually changed into his likeness.
    5. God’s glory would be made more widely known through the                 church.

7. The order of the book’s chapters is significant. The first six focus on God’s pleasures in God and his work. The next three focus on God’s pleasures in the responses of his people. Why does Piper think it so important to put things in this order (pp. 7-9)?
Piper orders things as he does because we need to see first that God is perfect and complete in himself. This keeps us from the temptation to put ourselves at the center when we see that God was infinitely great, good and happy in himself before he created anything.

8. What are the three basic responses in us that God delights in, and how are they related to each other (p.9)?
The three basic responses God delights in are hope, prayer and obedience. Hope is foundational, for as we hope in God, what will spring from our lives is prayer (a desire to depend on God) and obedience (a desire to follow God).

9. What does Piper mean when he says that obedience to God is the irrepressible public relations project of Christianity (p.9)?
As Jesus says in Matthew 5, when people see our good works they glorify our Father in heaven. In this way, the holiness of God’s people is the public relations project of Christianity.

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