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The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  589 ratings  ·  33 reviews
John Piper presents a careful, reasoned study of the doctrine of election. He dissects Paul's argument to highlight the picture of God and his righteousness painted in Romans 9. Undergirded by his belief that the sovereignty of God is too precious a part of our faith to dismiss or approach weak-kneed, Piper explores the Greek text and Paul's argument with singular deftness ...more
Paperback, Second, 245 pages
Published February 1st 1993 by Baker Academic
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Matt Crawford
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The justification of God. It is an objective grammatical historical study.This is a book on theodicy but not on the theodicy that we often think of. Rather this theodicy, defense of God is about how God works out his purposes as seen in Romans 9. Piper puts in it myself proper context and relies heavily on OT passages including Exodus 33:19. It is set within the greater context of Romans 9, then to Romans and the entire Bible. Piper does not hide or distort the opinions of those who do not agree ...more
Mike Reynolds
Straightforward, thorough, clear, and water-tight. This goes straight for the heart of the issue by arguing for the righteousness of God that is found in his allegiance to his own name and glory. Piper successfully argues for the freedom of God to elect according to his own will and his desire to exalt his name. I will revisit this regularly as I sharpen my greek over time in hopes to get even more out of it.

It answers the objections of national election, historical election (instead of eternal
Jeff Short
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think this is the second or third time reading this book. It is academic and not like Piper's other books. It is a good example of careful reasoning and the work of scriptural exegesis. It is worth reading on this part of Romans 9. ...more
Justin Feland
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Justification of God, in my opinion, is one of Piper's best volumes. In it, he has produced a stellar example of Reformed exegesis which knocks you down, keeps you down, and forces you to the same conclusion by sheer force of the text being explained. In it, Romans 9:1-23 speaks, and it speaks loudly.

Piper's biggest contribution through this book is his demonstration of what he sees as Paul's (and the whole Bible's) definition of the righteousness of God. To use his language, the righteousne
Darren Sapp
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is John Piper's dissertation but still reads as a smooth narrative. However, since it's converted to a work for the general public, it would have been helpful for the Greek and Hebrew to have translations. The lack, thereof, limits the audience. The research and writing is stellar. ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Those who can navigate the technical language and discussion of the finer points of Greek and Hebrew grammar will find a deeply satisfying exegesis of the text here.
David Westerfield
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
In a day when men in the pulpit and in the study would take the verses of Romans nine totally out of context, infer unwarranted and unscriptural presuppositions (foreknown faith as the basis for election), thus pressing ideologies onto the text that are just not there, John Piper's scholarly work on what Romans nine is all about is a great defense of Biblical election (unconditional election) that shines a light in the darkness of so much poor analysis and exegesis of this chapter. Romans nine i ...more
Jacob O'connor
I've made quite a journey.  I started my life in the faith as an Arminianist.  At times I've been


by Calvinism.  These days I attend a Calvinist church.  I respect my pastor and fellow congregants, but I have some lingering reservations with reformed theology.  Enter John Piper.  He's among the most popular, plain, and appealing proponents of this perspective.  In Justification of God, Piper tackles the crucial Calvinist passage, Romans chapter 9.  This can be trou
J. Machen
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What does it mean for God to be righteous? In his profound study of Paul’s justification of God’s election in Romans 9, John Piper examines what exactly Paul is trying to argue in Romans 9 and looks at the resulting conception of God’s righteousness that Paul appears to have held. This book is a profound and penetrating example of exegetical study and a must read for studies on election, God’s righteousness, or chapter 9 of Romans. Piper works through the different exegetical issues provided in ...more
Matt Rigney
I'm refraining from giving this book a rating simply because I miss a lot of the nuanced arguments that Piper makes from the original Hebrew and Greek. I will say that I thought it was a great book, but a difficult read. Very academic in nature, but theologically rich. Piper's main thesis, and one that I find compelling, is that in Romans 9, Paul is saying thatGod seeks above all things to uphold the honor and glory of his name. From passages in Exodus (especially Ex 33:19), he argues that the g ...more
Jacob McGill
I have changed so much, and learned so much since reading this book that it would be unfair to rate this book now. I am able to say that Piper does some funny work with the glory of God and extracts Romans 9-11 out from the rest of Romans (so typical in much work written on Romans in recent history). He reads election as merely individualistic, ripped out of the covenental context that God established with Israel, and is so important for understanding Romans (see Rom. 1:17; 3:21-23). But I would ...more
William Dicks
Aug 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is probably John Piper's most important book he has written. "The Justification of God" is certainly not light-hearted reading, and is not meant for someone who does not want to think about the issue of the predestination of the elect. However, for those who are willing to think deeply while they read, this will be a very rewarding book.

Through solid exegetical skills, Piper shows that predestination and election, as written about by Paul in Romans 9, is of the individual Christian and not
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, soteriology
The best treatment of Romans 9 I've ever read or heard. Absolutely definitive. Throughout the study, Piper thoroughly dismantles the common objections about national destinies rather than personal, whether "fitted" is passive voice, whether the potter analogy comes from Jeremiah, etc.

This is a difficult read due to its technicality, but absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in the Calvinism debate.
L. R. Bouligny Bouligny
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very helpful treatment of this "controversial" chapter. Piper does a thorough job of taking this chapter apart. I do think he spends too much time building arguments from some of the OT passages, and those chapters of his book become tedious, as he overstates his case. However, he does make a conclusive case (not an easy read, and unless you have some experience with the original languages, you will get lost very quickly). . ...more
Jonathan Roberts
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, 2019, romans, john-piper
This book is heavy sledding. In my study of Romans I wanted to dig deep into Romans 9 to make sure I “got it” and Dr Piper was the one to take me there. This book is tough in that Dr Piper digs into all the arguments found in this important passage, weighing them and analyzing them. Some of them were not pertinent to my study but the depth shows me that Dr Piper did his work. I was blessed by this but I know I could have gotten more out of this if I had been doing a deeper study. Recommended
Glyn Williams
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This is certainly not bedtime reading, nor is it for the average Joe. This is a deep exegesis of Romans 9 with references to the original Greek, giving thorough explanation of the words and text.

In typical Piper manner the books is sometimes a little confusing and not so easy to follow, but when you read it slower and more analytically, that tends to disappear and you will gain far more from it.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting to read the study that convinced Piper of Christian hedonism and to become a pastor. An excellent argument for double predestination in Romans 9. However, it's very academic and scholarly, with lots of iteration with other scholars and original languages. I don't recommend it unless you're really into Piper, the question of double predestination, or Bible scholarship. ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
this book would have been so much easier if I could read Greek, but other than that, a through study on why God does what He does in salvation and displaying His mercy and judgement using Romans 9. this is not a book on the doctrine of election, but rather a discussion on the righteousness of God in dealing with His people.
Brian Nicks
Aug 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was probably the most analytical book I have read since graduating from seminary. This is not a book for the faint of heart. You must have a working knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and Greek in order to get the most out of this book and interact with Piper's basic thesis. If you pick this book up, you will be richly rewarded for your effort. ...more
Cray Allred
Jun 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very thankful to have read this. Probably my favorite Piper book. Get this if you want an understanding of all sides of the predestinarian debate, and a convincing affirmation hinged on thorough, OT-NT, exegesis.
Josh Shelton
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was a huge paradigm shift for the way in which I see and understand God's Righteousness. This was totally taken up into the theology of Edwards in "The End For Which God Created The World." ...more
May 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
The book that launched Piper into pastoral ministry, and an exquisite exposition of one of the premier biblical chapter's that clearly affirm the absolute sovereign freedom of God. ...more
Jul 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A hard book if you have not had Greek yet but well worth the effort.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it liked it
UGH! Why is it taking me so long to read this book??! I have read four other books in the same time span.
May 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book ever written on the exegesis of Romans 9. A must read for every serious student of theology.
Eric Molicki
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: commentary
Indispensable when studying Romans 9. Also excellent for wrestling with the reality of God's sovereignty AND human responsibility. Not light reading though... ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This has to be the best study of Romans 9 that i have ever read, if you plan to Preach or Teach on Romans 9 you have to read this book and digest it
Stacy Moss
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
John Piper deals truthfully and honestly with the Bible text of Romans 9.
Rick Hogaboam
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Highly academic volume that's very persuasive. Piper's breadth is amazing. ...more
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
2nd time having read this. Very academic. But still really good.
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John Piper is founder and teacher of and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel Co

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