Love Your Enemies: Jesus' Love Command in the Synoptic Gospels and the Early Christian Paraenesis
From 1971-1974 John Piper attended the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich for doctoral work. In choosing a dissertation topic he decided to explore Jesus's command in the Synoptic Gospels to love one's enemies, and its relationship to similar ethical exhortations in the...
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From 1971-1974 John Piper attended the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich for doctoral work. In choosing a dissertation topic he decided to explore Jesus's command in the Synoptic Gospels to love one's enemies, and its relationship to similar ethical exhortations in the epistles (the Early Christian Paraenesis).
Using a "history of traditions" approach, Piper begins by examining each New Testament reference to Jesus's command in an attempt to place its origin within the broader paraenetic tradition. Piper moves on to survey similar exhortations for enemy love in the environment of the early church, then analyzes this particular command of Jesus within the broader context of his whole message. He investigates the theological significance of Jesus's love command in the paraenesis and finally concludes by focusing on the Gospel tradition's use of the command, particularly in Matthew and Luke.
First published by Cambridge University Press in the Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, this repackaged edition features a new, extensive introduction. A serious work of Christian scholarship by a long-time respected author and pastor, this will be of interest to scholars, students, and lay people who have training in New Testament studies.
“Love Your Enemies…”
This is one of the few statements Jesus made that is readily accepted by believers and skeptics alike. Its authenticity is not seriously questioned and yet it is a revolutionary command.
Giving attention to various critical theories, John Piper presents evidence that the early church earnestly advocated for non-retaliatory love, extending it to those who practiced evil in the world. Such love was key to the church’s own ethical tradition or paraenesis.
Piper illuminates the Synoptics and passages in Romans, as well as 1 Thessalonians and 1 Peter, with non-canonical evidence, investigating the theological significance of Jesus’s love command.
Originally published as #38 in the Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series, this is John Piper’s doctoral dissertation from the University of Munich. It is a serious work of Christian scholarship by a long-time respected author and pastor. This repackaged edition features a new, extensive introduction and will be of interest to scholars, students, and lay people who have training in New Testament studies.
John Stephen Piper was born 11 January 1946 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Bill and Ruth Piper. The Pipers soon moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where John spent his growing-up years. His father was an itinerant evangelist who also ministered through international radio and Bible courses. John has written a tribute to his mother, who died in 1974, in the booklet, What's the Difference (Crossway Books, 1990) which is also chapter one of the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Crossway Books, 1991).
At Wheaton College (1964-68), John majored in Literature and minored in Philosophy. Studying Romantic Literature with Clyde Kilby stimulated the poetic side of his nature and today he regularly writes poems to celebrate special family occasions and rich, biblical truths. At Wheaton John also met Noel Henry whom he married in 1968.
Following college, John completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1968-71). While at Fuller, John discovered the writings of Jonathan Edwards.
John did his doctoral work in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich, Munich, West Germany (1971-74). His dissertation, Love Your Enemies, was published by Cambridge University Press and Baker Book House (and is now available through Crossway). Upon completion of his doctorate, he went on to teach Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota for six years (1974-80).
In 1980, sensing an irresistible call to preach, John became the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he ministered for 33 years, until 2013. Together with his people, John was dedicated to spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ - a mission he continues now for the wider church through the ministry of desiringGod.org. John says of his ministry:
"The ministry of preaching is the central labor of my life. My prayer is that through that ministry and everything else I do the great glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ would be magnified as more and more people come to live out the obedience of faith more and more deeply."
John is the author of over 50 books and now frequently travels to speak, and writes regularly, through Desiring God.
John and Noel have four sons, a daughter, and twelve grandchildren.