Piper – Seeing Beauty & Saying Beautifully


A friend recommended this book to me over summer, and I’ve really enjoyed reading it. The book is about the relationship between seeing the beauty of Christ and the gospel, and expressing it in poetically powerful ways.

In the first chapter of the book Piper examines Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 1:17 that he did not use lofty speech or wisdom. Piper first examines the context and meaning of Paul’s statement, in particular the sort of eloquence Paul is rejecting. He then notes the many positive examples in Scripture of the poetic and rhetorically effective.

Having made a compelling case for the value of ‘poetic effort’ Piper examines three historical figures who have been particularly influential – George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis. Each man, though very different, captured human imagination with their rhetorical and poetic effort.

In Piper’s conclusion he says,

“Poetic effort is not the effort to write poems. Poetic effort is the effort to see and savor and speak the wonder – the divine glory – that is present everywhere in the world God made . . . I don’t mean flowery or ostentatious . . . I mean penetrating, creative, fresh, striking, awakening, provocative – while not being trite, cute, faddish, corny and boring . . . as you try to find words that seem worthy of the worth of what you have seen, the worth of what you have seen becomes clearer and deeper.”

It is in itself a beautiful book, and one I heartily recommend, especially to those who labour to communicate the glorious truths of God and the gospel.

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