How To Preach ‘First Hand Truths’

May 27, 2008

If patiently applied, the following quote from John Piper could probably revitalise many a pastor’s preaching.

We make a great mistake when we think that study consists mainly in reading (as commonly understood)—even reading the Bible. Many think they have studied well when they have spent the morning reading through some worthy book of divinity. And thus the measure of our study becomes the number of books that we have read.

But my own conviction is that fruitful study is primarily thinking not reading. My guess is that reading, which was meant to become a stimulus and guide to independent thinking, usually becomes a substitute for it. The evidence for this is how many books we read and how little we write down. Fresh thinking must always be put down on paper to get it clear and preserve it for use. Much reading and little thinking makes for a second-hand pastor. And it is not easy to preach and teach second-hand truths with power.

(extract taken from The Ministry of the Word, Ordination of Steve Roy, Acts 6:1-6,
November 25, 1984)



  1. So that’s the secret of preaching like Piper!

    So true. When I spread sermon prep out over a few days it’ll be in my mind and I can mull over it. Yet if I have one day to sit down and write a sermon I definitely won’t do it.

    I’m always amazed when Piper says he’s been thinking about a verse for years. How can you do that?! I need some super-specification application on how to think! It’s a sad thing you can go to uni and not know how to think through a book.

    Thanks for the post

  2. These are the best thoughts on preaching I’ve read all week.

  3. Great point by Piper! Timely reminder for me.


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