John Piper (theologian) - Biography

Biography

Piper was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Bill and Ruth Piper. His father was a traveling evangelist and church planter, and consequently his mother largely raised him. When he and his older sister were still young, the Pipers moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where he spent the remainder of his youth and graduated from Wade Hampton High School.

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He married Noël Henry in 1968, and together they have four sons, a daughter, and several grandchildren.

Piper attended Wheaton College (1964–68) majoring in literature and minoring in philosophy. Studying Romantic Literature with Clyde Kilby stimulated his poetic side, and today he regularly composes poetry to celebrate special family occasions as well as annually composing story-poems (based on the life of biblical characters) for his congregation during the four weeks of Advent.

In college he originally subscribed in the Pre-med program, only to decide to go into ministry during a bout of sickness. He also completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. While at Fuller, he took several courses from Daniel Fuller and through him discovered the writings of Jonathan Edwards.

Piper did his doctoral work in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich, Germany (1971–74) under Leonhard Goppelt. His dissertation, Love Your Enemies, was published by Cambridge University Press and Baker Book House. Upon completion of his doctorate, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel University and Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota, for six years (1974–80).

His mother died in December 1974 in a bus wreck in Israel. Piper's 1990 booklet What's the Difference? included a tribute to her. His father died on March 6, 2007.

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