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John Piper's newest book will help Christians think about thinking. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. Along with an emphasis on emotions and the experience of God, we also need to practice careful thinking about God. Piper contends that "thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God." So how are John Piper's newest book will help Christians think about thinking. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. Along with an emphasis on emotions and the experience of God, we also need to practice careful thinking about God. Piper contends that "thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God." So how are we to maintain a healthy balance of mind and heart, thinking and feeling? Piper urges us to think for the glory of God. He demonstrates from Scripture that glorifying God with our minds and hearts is not either-or, but both-and. Thinking carefully about God fuels passion and affections for God. Likewise, Christ-exalting emotion leads to disciplined thinking. Readers will be reminded that "the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart."


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John Piper's newest book will help Christians think about thinking. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. Along with an emphasis on emotions and the experience of God, we also need to practice careful thinking about God. Piper contends that "thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God." So how are John Piper's newest book will help Christians think about thinking. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. Along with an emphasis on emotions and the experience of God, we also need to practice careful thinking about God. Piper contends that "thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God." So how are we to maintain a healthy balance of mind and heart, thinking and feeling? Piper urges us to think for the glory of God. He demonstrates from Scripture that glorifying God with our minds and hearts is not either-or, but both-and. Thinking carefully about God fuels passion and affections for God. Likewise, Christ-exalting emotion leads to disciplined thinking. Readers will be reminded that "the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart."

30 review for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    There are two basic errors that Christians tend to fall into. One is the elevate thinking and the life of the mind with regards to theology to a point where it fails to connect with real life and results in theoretical Christians who are lacking in love. The other is to essentially demonize thinking and theology because it only divides and focus solely on love, which results in Christians who may love others but who worship a God they dont really know. John Pipers new book, Think: The Life of There are two basic errors that Christians tend to fall into. One is the elevate thinking and the life of the mind with regards to theology to a point where it fails to connect with real life and results in theoretical Christians who are lacking in love. The other is to essentially demonize thinking and theology because “it only divides” and focus solely on love, which results in Christians who may love others but who worship a God they don’t really know. John Piper’s new book, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, seeks to destroy the underlying assumptions and problems behind both of these errors. Piper begins the introduction with these words: “This book is a plea to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people.” Ultimately, as Piper points out numerous times throughout the book, if thinking hard about God and the bible doesn’t translate into love for him and the people around you, it’s pointless. Thinking is a means, not an end. It’s how we come to know God for who he has really revealed himself to be. In response, our love for him grows and spills over into love for people as well. As someone who can get very academic in my theological pursuits sometimes, I was encouraged to step back and examine my motives. This is a good thing for any Christian to do from time to time. The structure of the book is very helpful. Piper begins by clarifying the aims of the book, as well as what he means by thinking (mostly, he means reading, and, more specifically, the bible). He then details the role of thinking in coming to faith. From a view of election, he details the futile nature of our thinking apart from the new birth which God initiates in us. Piper treads carefully as he notes our role in thinking with regards faith and God’s role in granting that faith. This all spills over into the next chapter on what it means to love God with your mind. Piper also takes on two ways of thinking that are dangerous to the pursuit of truth through thinking, relativism and anti-intellectualism. I found Piper’s comments on relativism very powerful and virtually devastating to that way of thinking. He says: Relativism enables pride to put on humble clothes and parade through the street. But don’t be mistaken. Relativism chooses every turn, every pace, every street, according to its own autonomous preferences, and submits to no truth. We will serve our generation well by exposing the prideful flesh under these humble clothes. Ultimately where Piper comes down is that any way of thinking that does not submit to God’s truth and acts as though we can’t know God’s truth in the bible and creation is centered on pride, whether it is conscious or not. God has determined what is true, and any way of thinking that distorts this places us in the place of God. A humble approach to thinking that seeks to understand God’s Word and submit to that truth inevitably leads to a greater love for God and others. I would highly recommend this book for all Christians, both thinkers and those who aren’t naturally built that way, as a means to understanding the role of our minds in our faith.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tom Sussex

    Although making excellent points, this was not quite the book I thought it was going to be, namely one that helped Christians to change the way they think. This was, in fact, a book encouraging Christians to make sure that they were thinking at all! This I do agree with, and so once I realised the actual intent of the book I thought it was a good read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alexis Neal

    A decent enough book. It was, perhaps, less revelatory than Piper may have hoped, at least for me, but I already agreed with him about the importance of thinking (love the Lord your God with all your mind, after all) and the danger of intellectual pride and spiritually dead knowledge. I have seen in my own life the emptiness of head knowledge alone, and have also been guilty of intellectual laziness when I avoided thinking about challenging spiritual truths instead of continuing to grapple with A decent enough book. It was, perhaps, less revelatory than Piper may have hoped, at least for me, but I already agreed with him about the importance of thinking (love the Lord your God with all your mind, after all) and the danger of intellectual pride and spiritually dead knowledge. I have seen in my own life the emptiness of head knowledge alone, and have also been guilty of intellectual laziness when I avoided thinking about challenging spiritual truths instead of continuing to grapple with those truths by the light of Scripture. So I agree with Piper that we love God best with heart and mind and soul and strength. Still, for those who struggle with a natural (or learned) antipathy to intellectualism, or those who place their faith in knowledge and understanding (and there are many Christians in both camps), this could well be a much-needed rebuke. I particularly liked Piper's discussion of reading as thinking, but that's hardly surprising, since that discussion included linguistics, hermeneutics, textualism, and any number of other areas that I find inherently interesting. All in all, a fine book, though not exactly earth shattering (for me, anyway).

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    I own a hardcopy edition. Available for free here. Foreward (Mark Noll) addresses the two pitfalls of anti-intellectualism and pride careful exegesis Noll's sequel to Scandal is coming out soonhas more about science/evolution, creeds, and Catholicism both were literature majors in the same dorm at Wheaton God's two books: nature, Scripture Introduction no either/or (head/heart) comparison to other mind books: Noll's Scandal (historical), Guinness's Fit Bodies Fat Minds (punchy), Moreland's Love Your God I own a hardcopy edition. Available for free here. Foreward (Mark Noll) addresses the two pitfalls of anti-intellectualism and pride careful exegesis Noll's sequel to Scandal is coming out soon—has more about science/evolution, creeds, and Catholicism both were literature majors in the same dorm at Wheaton God's two books: nature, Scripture Introduction no either/or (head/heart) comparison to other mind books: Noll's Scandal (historical), Guinness's Fit Bodies Fat Minds (punchy), Moreland's Love Your God with All Your Mind (philosophical), Sire's Habits of the Mind (vocational), Veith's Loving God with All Your Mind (cultural) —> Piper's book is more exegetical (biblical exposition) thinking is a means to knowing and loving God more map of the book Part 1: Clarifying the Aim of the Book Ch. 1: My Pilgrimage some biography; Piper taught in higher education for six years; became pastor at age 34 influenced by Noll's Scandal Ch. 2: Deep Help from a Dead Friend connection between thinking and feeling Part 2: Clarifying the Meaning of Thinking Ch. 3: Reading as Thinking narrowing the definition of thinking: knowing and understanding God God gave us a book (clearest and most authoritative source) Adler's How to Read a Book (Piper includes some great quotations) thinking: using the mind to determine a text's meaning intent; grammar Part 3: Coming to Faith through Thinking Ch. 4: Mental Adultery Is No Escape Hebraic vs. Hellenistic thinking—not a great distinction (Matt. 16:1–4 shows that using "Aristotelian logic" is just fine, and that Hebrews/Jews did it) Ch. 5: Rational Gospel, Spiritual Light We are saved by faith, not love or any other grace, because faith is a peculiarly receiving grace, not giving/performing (Machen's What Is Faith?). Part 4: Clarifying the Meaning of Loving God Ch. 6: Love for God: Treasuring God with All Your Mind Part 5: Facing the Challenge of Relativism Ch. 7: Jesus Meets the Relativists Matt. 21:23–27: seeds of relativism Ch. 8: The Immorality of Relativism moral imperative to acknowledge reality university professors want to be understood relativism masquerades as humility, but it's just a cloak for pride under-stand = submit to Truth Part 6: Facing the Challenge of Anti-Intellectualism Ch. 9: Unhelpful Anti-Intellectual Impulses in Our History Billy Graham on education (only $1 toward education; the rest goes to the church) D. L. Moody claimed that he didn't have a particular theology. Ch. 10: You Have Hidden These Things from the Wise and Understanding Ch. 11: In the Wisdom of God, the World Did Not Know God through Wisdom human wisdom vs. God's wisdom Part 7: Finding a Humble Way of Knowing Ch. 12: The Knowledge That Loves Ch. 13: All Scholarship Is for the Love of God and Man knowledge of God through nature (God's other book) good basis for Bible integration / Christian scholarship obstacle of pride Christianity has led to schools Part 8: Encouraging Thinkers and Non-thinkers

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    Great book on the importance of the life of the intellect for Christians. A couple of my favorite quotes: "If all the universe and everything in it exist by the design of an infinite, personal God, to make his manifold glory known and loved, then to treat any subject without reference to God's glory is not scholarship but insurrection." "God did not give us minds as ends in themselves. The mind provides the kindling for the fires of the heart. Theology serves doxology. Reflection serves affection. Great book on the importance of the life of the intellect for Christians. A couple of my favorite quotes: "If all the universe and everything in it exist by the design of an infinite, personal God, to make his manifold glory known and loved, then to treat any subject without reference to God's glory is not scholarship but insurrection." "God did not give us minds as ends in themselves. The mind provides the kindling for the fires of the heart. Theology serves doxology. Reflection serves affection. Contemplation serves exultation. Together they glorify Christ to the full."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I think this is the first John Piper book Ive read, and I wasnt sure what to expect, but I was impressed with this short volume. I come from a family of Christian academics, so there was nothing very earth shattering about the notion that loving God requires loving Him with our minds, nor that reason and faith canand shouldbe friends. But Piper does a good and balanced job of encouraging thinkers to follow their intellectual pursuits with humility and charity, while encouraging non-thinkers to I think this is the first John Piper book I’ve read, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed with this short volume. I come from a family of Christian academics, so there was nothing very earth shattering about the notion that loving God requires loving Him with our minds, nor that reason and faith can—and should—be friends. But Piper does a good and balanced job of encouraging “thinkers” to follow their intellectual pursuits with humility and charity, while encouraging “non-thinkers” to engage a life of the mind built on gratitude for the Christian thinkers who have, through the centuries, explained and clarified the faith and the created world for our benefit. On the whole, this is a good and pastoral corrective to the knowledge that, without love, puffs up, as well as to the unthinking, anti-intellectual impulses that leave God’s people as “children in understanding.”

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    Makes his point that Christians are called to engage emotions and logic and that we too often use faith as an excuse not to concentrate. Does seem repetitive in places, like a bulked-up sermon series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ned

    I think I like it Piper gives a good defense of the importance of careful thought for Christians as well as a debunking of Christian anti-intellectualism. He points out that thoughts and affections are not juxtaposed in scripture, but work together in the mature heart. Both are necessary.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    John Piper's books are always a refreshing read when scattered throughout other writers with varying styles. I love that he references almost everything; I love that you can be confident he's done his research, and I love that he has a clear passion for the Bible and what it has to say about anything and everything. That being said, this book was a great Piper read. He tackles alot about the processes of thinking and feeling and their connections to our individual relationships with God. His John Piper's books are always a refreshing read when scattered throughout other writers with varying styles. I love that he references almost everything; I love that you can be confident he's done his research, and I love that he has a clear passion for the Bible and what it has to say about anything and everything. That being said, this book was a great Piper read. He tackles alot about the processes of thinking and feeling and their connections to our individual relationships with God. His focus is on Godly thinking as a means of loving God more. He says, "Loving Him with all of our mind means that our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express this heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things" (Kindle location 1186). Piper emphasizes the gospel and how truly understanding the gospel is the same as accepting it because of Holy Spirits work in illuminating the Truth. His emphasis on humbly dwelling on the "compelling beauty" of God is a great encouragement and challenge for the individual who is mostly wrapped up in thinking about God in a systematic and analytical way. On the other hand, his emphasis on the importance of rational and logical use of the mind is a poignant and directive message to people so caught up in beauty, passion, and feeling that they're missing some huge things in their relationships with God. I thoroughly enjoyed this book about using (in Piper's words) both thinking and feeling, both meditation and experience, both belief and passion in relationship with God as means to know Him and love Him more. p.s. John Piper has some great responses to the Relativistic bent of our society and my generation! Some favorite quotes: "Some joys are only possible on the other side of sorrow" (location 317). "Our self-centered hearts distort our reason to the point where we cannot use it to draw true inferences from what is really there. If our disapproval of God's existence is strong enough, our sensory faculties and our rational faculties will not be able to infer that He is there" (location 822). -A great, great summary of the blindness that we experience before illumination from the Spirit of God allows us to see. "The corruption of our hearts is the deepest root of our irrationality" (location 828). and the answer... "Because our hearts now see Christ as infinitely valuable, our resistance to the truth is overcome. Our thinking is no longer the slave of deceitful desires, because our desires are changed. Christ is the supreme treasure. So our thinking is made docile to the truth of the gospel. We don't use our thinking to distort the gospel anymore. We don't call it foolish. We call it wisdom and power and glory [I Cor. 1:@3-24]" (location 1009). "The phrase 'compellingly beautiful' stresses two things that I am arguing for. One is that loving God is not a mere decision. You cannot merely decide to love classical music-or country western music-much less God. The music must become compelling. Something must change inside of you. That change makes possible the awakening of a compelling sense of its attractiveness. So it is with God. You do not merely decide to love him. Something changes inside of you, and as a result he becomes compellingly attractive. His glory-his beauty-compels your admiration and delight. He becomes your supreme treasure. You love him" -Wow, this is an amazing quote. Such a good way of understanding so much about loving God and why so many people don't love Him. It's both convicting to my own heart and illuminative of others'. Piper quotes J Gresham Machen from "What Is Faith?" about relativism and it's mindset. "This temper of the mind is hostile to precise definitions. Indeed nothing makes a man more unpopular in the controversies of the present day than an insistence upon definition of terms...Men discourse very eloquently today upon such subjects as God, religion, Christianity, atonement, redemption, faith; but are greatly incensed when they are asked to tell in simple language what the mean by these terms" (kindle location 1456).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Pullman

    Great book that helps the reader to understand having a good balance between thinking logically and leaning in to the Holy Spirit. It goes into the issues that come up with leaning too far to one side and describes the necessity for meeting somewhere in the middle.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I go back and forth about Pastor John/Dr. Piper (which of the two I choose will color the way I listen to him so I try to pick both). Especially when it comes to the (in my opinion) needlessly ubiquitous discussion/debate about gender roles and subjugating women with regard to leadership in the church. And something about the rigid Calvinist bent to which he vocally subscribes just flat rubs me the wrong way. HOWEVER. However... I've observed and I believe that the majority of "Christian I go back and forth about Pastor John/Dr. Piper (which of the two I choose will color the way I listen to him so I try to pick both). Especially when it comes to the (in my opinion) needlessly ubiquitous discussion/debate about gender roles and subjugating women with regard to leadership in the church. And something about the rigid Calvinist bent to which he vocally subscribes just flat rubs me the wrong way. HOWEVER. However... I've observed and I believe that the majority of "Christian literature" (such a broad term) on the life of the mind is mostly written in the interest of the quality of life of the reader. Topics such as how to avoid chronically negative thinking, how to identify and fix patterns of thinking that are inconsistent with the truth about who God is, who He says that we are, and our relationship to Him--these are important and good! We need to address these problems in a biblical way! But at the end of the day, it seems like those topics end with US--what will improve our life, feelings, relationships (even our relationship with God), etc. The mind is such a complex enterprise and the brain such a devastatingly beautiful thing in design and power; it seems that there must be more meant for the purpose of such an elegant and sophistocated process than ideas which are well-intentioned but at their core are focused more on us and less on God than they should be. Among many well-exposited points, Pastor/Dr. discusses the process of thinking as a faculty meant to ascribe glory to God (isn't this what everything is for?), and so (as I read it) asserts that we think best when we think about the wonder and majesty of God Himself. This makes so much sense that it's thrilling (I love when things make sense!) and embarrassing all at the same time. Let's see here: I spend a good portion of my headspace thinking about people I care about. Family members, friends, and let's not forget that one gentleman that has had my attention at any given moment since I was 13. But how much of that time is spent in fascination of Jesus Himself? Not enough! For a kid who grew up in church, it seems like the more lofty thing is to think deeply (no pun intended) about profound theology or doctrine instead of the God-man Himself. If I spent half as much time thinking about Him as I do everyone else...(wondrous...I don't even know how best to finish that thought). Barriers to good thinking are also discussed in the book, such as the cultural problem of relativism, and the dangers of anti-intellectualism in some areas of the church. But the primary takeaway for me has been to examine the content of my thoughts, and not just in the way of avoiding sinful thinking. This is less of a "what should I NOT be thinking about?" (for this is the life of the "good Christian") and much more of a "what should I be thinking MORE about?" issue. And for me, it's the person of Jesus Himself. And, when I really think about it, wouldn't that do SO MUCH to solve the issues that the other books on thinking are looking to address? One stone for an infinite number of birds.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Blake

    Although not my favorite book by author, pastor, and theologian, John Piper, I think Piper, in the book, "Think", addressed some critical issues within the culture and especially within the Evangelical world. Often feelings and thinking are pitted against each other as if the Christian life is either all thinking with no feelings, or, given the other extreme, the Christian life is all "feelings" with no thinking. One ends up with either dead orthodoxy or emotional frenzy, depending upon which Although not my favorite book by author, pastor, and theologian, John Piper, I think Piper, in the book, "Think", addressed some critical issues within the culture and especially within the Evangelical world. Often feelings and thinking are pitted against each other as if the Christian life is either all thinking with no feelings, or, given the other extreme, the Christian life is all "feelings" with no thinking. One ends up with either dead orthodoxy or emotional frenzy, depending upon which extreme one takes. Sadly, deep thinking has taken a hit within the church in recent decades. "Knowledge puffs up" became the banner cry of many as they attempted to put down knowledge and promote an agenda that was feeling driven with an "all we need is love" mindset. Sadly, that mentality has more in common with a Beatles' song than it does a sound understanding of God's Word. In the pages of the book, Piper explains the meaning of "Thinking" and how critical thinking is to salvation and to living a life of faith. In fact, Piper spends one chapter explaining how we love God by treasuring God with all of our mind. One of my favorite sections was where Piper addresses the issue of Relativism, given that relativism has saturated the mindset of our culture and sadly, the church in some cases. After this section, Piper gives attention to the Anti-Intellectualism that has seeped into the church and shows how it isn't godly to be opposed to intellectualism. Piper challenges the reader to think and to think deeply about the person and character of God and His wonders. He challenges the reader who is opposed to deep thought to change and to, not only think, but to think deeply about the glories of the Creator and the salvation He has provided. Last, Piper ends his book with a final plea, which I think should be at, both the start and the finish. The plea is in two parts. One is to those who are all about knowledge at the expense of feelings. The other part is a plea to those who have neglected knowledge and have bought into the idea that they are the more spiritual because they simply love and have feelings. I suspect that the book won't be widely read because it tends to be more philosophical in essence, but it should be read since it will stimulate the reader to THINK!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    My full review review is available at Blogging Theologically: R. C. Sproul once lamented that, we live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization. Strong words, to be sure. But theres something to them, isnt there? Consider, for a moment, how we determine our agreement with ideas and experiences. More often than not, its based on what we feel. If it feels good, we do it; and if it feels good, it must obviously be good for us, right? This comes into play My full review review is available at Blogging Theologically: R. C. Sproul once lamented that, “we live in what may be the most anti-intellectual period in the history of Western civilization.” Strong words, to be sure. But there’s something to them, isn’t there? Consider, for a moment, how we determine our agreement with ideas and experiences. More often than not, it’s based on what we feel. If it feels good, we do it; and if it feels good, it must obviously be good for us, right? This comes into play in how we develop (or don’t as the case may be) our doctrine as well; we chafe at the hard truths of the Christian faith—the exclusivity of Christ, the atonement, the authority of Scripture, and countless others—because they don’t feel good. So we don’t wrestle. We don’t engage. We don’t search the Scriptures. We don’t think deeply. And because we don’t think deeply, we rob ourselves of a deeper love for God. In his latest book, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, John Piper seeks to help readers understand how the heart and mind glorify God together and that “thinking is indispensible on the path to passion for God” (p. 27)...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Think is a good book to read in order to gain a biblical perspective on thinking. Piper does a good job of explaining how thinking and feeling are not mutually exclusive but work together to fuel one another. The point of thinking is to cause us to love God and our neighbor not to build up ourselves. I find his arguments against anti-intellectualism helpful. God wants us to be humble in our understanding not to avoid intellectual development altogether. The verse "think over these things and God Think is a good book to read in order to gain a biblical perspective on thinking. Piper does a good job of explaining how thinking and feeling are not mutually exclusive but work together to fuel one another. The point of thinking is to cause us to love God and our neighbor not to build up ourselves. I find his arguments against anti-intellectualism helpful. God wants us to be humble in our understanding not to avoid intellectual development altogether. The verse "think over these things and God will give you understanding" shows our responsibility in seeking to understand but in the end it is God by His grace who gives the understanding. Piper explains his arguments thoroughly and winsomely. I am far from an intellectual yet this book helped me to grow in my desire understanding of thinking biblically.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Treyyyy

    *4.5 stars I really enjoyed this book, it was much different than I thought it was going to be but very thought provoking. It touches on topics like 'How can the act of thinking less to salvation in Christ?' and other... thinky topics... Haha! It was very matter of fact and clear which in one way was refreshing and made it easy to understand, but I can see how some might think it sounds harsh. I did really like this book and if you're looking for a book on deeper thinking and a better understanding *4.5 stars I really enjoyed this book, it was much different than I thought it was going to be but very thought provoking. It touches on topics like 'How can the act of thinking less to salvation in Christ?' and other... thinky topics... Haha! It was very matter of fact and clear which in one way was refreshing and made it easy to understand, but I can see how some might think it sounds harsh. I did really like this book and if you're looking for a book on deeper thinking and a better understanding of the topic, this is a great resource!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Nezat

    This book was a timely, well thought out, reminder that thinking is absolutely part of the Christian experience with God. He makes the case against the "thinking elite" and even speaks to the general "non-thinker". Loved it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eli Moyer

    An invigorating and inspiring counterbalance to the overriding anti-intellectualism that permeates today's Evangelicalism.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Wilson

    This was a very fine book. I enjoyed it immensely.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim Ingrum

    The argument of the book In this book, Piper argues for the essential role of thinking in the Christian life: all thinkingis for the sake of knowing God, loving God, and showing God (175). All throughout, he contends for a both-and approach, both to human effort and Gods gracious illumination (64), and the necessity of thinking and feeling (36). The first six chapters build his argument positively toward the climactic explanation of what it means to love the Lord your Godwith all [our] mind (Matt The argument of the book In this book, Piper argues for the essential role of thinking in the Christian life: “all thinking…is for the sake of knowing God, loving God, and showing God” (175). All throughout, he contends for a “both-and” approach, both to human effort and God’s gracious illumination (64), and the necessity of thinking and feeling (36). The first six chapters build his argument positively toward the climactic explanation of what it means to “love the Lord your God…with all [our] mind” (Matt 22:37): “our thinking should be wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things” (83). That is, faithful thinking should feed affections for God above all things. After this he goes on defense, fending off three challenges to faithful thinking for the sake of knowing and loving God: relativism (chs. 7–8), Christian anti-intellectualism (chs. 9–11), and pride in knowledge (ch. 12). Since most of his argument throughout the book deals with understanding the Bible, he expands his focus in ch. 13 to include all study and scholarship under the same banner—we learn about the world to know and love and glorify God. Evaluation Piper uses 2 Timothy 2:7 to argue for the “both-and” of effort and illumination—a conclusion both clearly substantiated and very helpful. However, his defense of the “both-and” of thinking and feeling on the basis of Jonathan Edwards’ view of the Trinity (34–36) is more problematic. He offers no defense of this Trinitarian model beyond Edwards asserting it to be so, and yet hangs on it the whole argument, including the key statement that “the mind is mainly the servant of the heart.” This may be so, but Piper got there by biting off a complex line of argumentation that he did not seem to have sufficient space to see through. Taking up this issue again in ch. 6 with reference to the Greatest Commandment, he argues the same point more biblically and convincingly. Throughout the book, Piper effectively models the sort of careful thinking he champions. He makes careful distinctions, such as calling the Pharisees’ thinking the “seeds of relativism” rather than full-blown modern relativism (99). Similarly, he critiques anti-intellectualists with remarkable sympathy toward their concerns about the dangers of godless learning (122). Also, his exegesis of Scripture (e.g., chs. 10–11) is very carefully reasoned, driven by the close observation and active questioning he commends in chapter 3. Application Helpful ministerial applications can be drawn from the book. In chapter 5, Piper shows that faith is a supernaturally-given response to seeing the glory of Christ in the facts about Christ. This is a helpful reminder for preaching: the goal is not only to portray what the truth of the text is, but equally importantly, that the truth is beautiful and compelling. Facts and glory go hand-in-hand. Similarly, Piper includes an intriguing discussion on why faith, in particular, is God’s choice means for receiving salvation (69–71): it is best suited to the all-sufficiency of Christ given in the gospel. In evangelism, it is always helpful to strive to give people a cohesive picture. The work of Christ calls for the response of faith, not arbitrarily but precisely because of the nature and end of salvation. The discussion on pride in knowledge sounds a sobering warning to the student: “thinking is both dangerous and indispensable” (164). Piper points out that learning is getting, so it can incline one toward pride, while love is giving, so it inclines one toward humility (158–9). Perhaps this could be refined, because both giving and getting can be distorted into the basis of pride. What really makes the difference is the source of knowledge: believers only know God because of his gracious choice in election (161). Keeping a steady eye on election can inoculate scholars against the loveless knowledge that puffs up, by asking, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4:7).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chris Wray

    Thinking, and thinking carefully and thoroughly, is an activity that is often maligned in both the church and the world. It stands in stark contrast to the oft seen tendency towards emotionalism and simple slogans that imply that working at thinking, reading or learning are not important. Equally, there is an opposite danger that we will so elevate intellectual effort and achievement that these are seen as supremely important in and of themselves. It is these two opposite, but equally dangerous Thinking, and thinking carefully and thoroughly, is an activity that is often maligned in both the church and the world. It stands in stark contrast to the oft seen tendency towards emotionalism and simple slogans that imply that working at thinking, reading or learning are not important. Equally, there is an opposite danger that we will so elevate intellectual effort and achievement that these are seen as supremely important in and of themselves. It is these two opposite, but equally dangerous errors, that John Piper seeks to correct by thinking (!) through some key passages of scripture. Against anti-intellectual tendencies, he argues convincingly that "careful thinking is integral to a full apprehension of the gospel". Against a prideful use of the intellect, he argues that clear thinking following biblical patterns will lead away from self to a full delight in God's grace as the key to every aspect of existence." Overall, his aim is to have us properly value thinking while keeping it aimed at its proper end and avoiding arrogant intellectualism; he would like to encourage us to think, but not to be too impressed with ourselves when we do! As Piper himself puts it: "The aim of this book is to encourage serious, faithful, rigorous, coherent thinking in the pursuit of God." He begins with two largely biographical chapters, one about his own experience generally and a second about the influence of Jonathan Edwards on his thinking about thinking. He then moves on to clarify exactly what he means by thinking, which can be fairly summarized as synonymous with reading. Next, he examines the fact that thinking, but not thinking alone, is central to our coming to faith. He then clarifies the meaning of loving God, and what it means to love and treasure him with all our mind. Following this, Piper faces the challenges of both relativism and anti-intellectualism before ending with am encouragement to humble knowing that serves to lead us to love God and others. In looking at Jonathan Edwards, the most important points are: - The foundation of human thinking and feeling reside in the Trinitarian nature of God, and so are not arbitrary but are part of our image bearing. - We awaken our affections with clear views of truth, in other words, the work of thinking serves the experience of worship and love. Thinking is not at the expense of feeling and loving, nor vice versa. When he moves to define what exactly he means by thinking, what Piper has in mind is mainly (though not exclusively) is reading. This is supremely important as God has revealed himself through a book; reading well is indispensable if we are to know God rightly. We also acknowledge that this is a skill that is difficult to learn and that requires constant practice and honing, but in the end it is both rewarding and delightful. Good encouragement to keep reading! When it comes to the practicalities of reading/thinking well, we must observe carefully, ask questions, work hard with our minds to try and answer those questions, and to "weave the answers into an ever more extensive fabric of understanding that helps us live lives of love to the glory of Jesus Christ." We then move on to look at the fact that thinking functions in the process of coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and how it functions in that process. An obvious question is how a darkened and sinful heart can produce a way of thinking that gives rise to saving faith. The answer is that God's illumination and regeneration produce a profound change in the way the heart perceives reality. In conversion, we come to see Christ as infinitely valuable and our resistance to truth is overcome. Our desires are changed and Christ is now the supreme treasure. Following this, Piper turns to the role of thinking in how we fulfil the Great Commandment - to love God. Loving God with the mind means that "our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things. Treasuring God is the essence of loving him, and the mind serves this love by comprehending (imperfectly and partially, but truly) the truth and beauty and worth of the Treasure. We can't love God without knowing God." When looking at relativism, Piper is quick to point out that it is not a coherent philosophical system, as it is riddled with logical and experiential contradictions. None of us are relativists when we go to the bank! He points out convincingly that relativists embrace relativism because it is physically and emotionally gratifying, not because it is philosophically satisfying. "It provides the cover they need at key moments in their lives to do what they want without intrusion from absolutes." Piper is absolutely that relativism is immoral, and lays out seven specific aspects of this immorality in chapter 8. In relation to anti-intellectualism, Piper concludes that "It is therefore futile counsel to tell the church that thinking is worthless. There is no reading without thinking. And there is no reading carefully and faithfully and coherently without thinking carefully and faithfully and coherently. The remedy for barren intellectualism is not anti-intellectualism, but humble, faithful, prayerful, Spirit-dependent, rigorous thinking." Again, "The ultimate difference between God's wisdom and man's wisdom is how they relate to the glory of God's grace in Christ crucified. God's wisdom makes the glory of God's grace our supreme treasure. But man's wisdom delights in seeing himself as resourceful, self-sufficient, self-determining, and not utterly dependent on God's free grace...Divine wisdom reached its climatic demonstration in the cross of Christ - because the cross was a way of salvation that humbles man and exalts the grace of God." Pride is a real danger when we engage in serious intellectual effort, but that doesn't mean that thinking is the problem: pride is. The first remedy for that is to develop the understanding that true knowing and true thinking produce not pride but love for God and for people. The second is to realise that our loving is due to God's free gift in election - if we love God and so know him rightly, it is because we have been known and chosen by him. The final lesson from this is that "thinking is dangerous and indispensable. Without a profound work of grace in the heart, knowledge - the fruit of thinking - puffs up. But with that grace, thinking opens the door of humble knowledge. And that knowledge is the fuel of the fire of love for God and man. If we turn away from serious thinking in our pursuit of God, that fire will eventually go out." Finally, Piper examines the idea that all thinking, learning, education and scholarship, both formal and informal, both simple and sophisticated, exists for the love of God and the love of man. "It exists to help us know God more so that we may treasure him more. It exists to bring as much good to other people as we can - especially the eternal good of enjoying God through Christ." Therefore, whatever we read, learn or think about should involve studying reality as a manifestation of God's glory, speaking and writing about it with accuracy, savouring the beauty of God in it, and making it serve the good of man. Piper also gives some final words of encouragement to thinkers: - Think consciously for the glory of Christ. - Become like children (i.e. humbly dependent). - Enjoy the Word of God like gold and honey. - Think for the sake of love. What sets this book apart is that it isn't dry theory; Pipers arguments and conclusions are explicitly developed from and based upon the careful exposition of scripture, to the end of faithful and consistent Christian living that glorifies God. I also enjoy his writing style, which is methodical and learned but yet unaffected and modest. He has the teacher's gift for explaining complex concepts in a straightforward and understandable way, and often with some wit. One good example of this is the phrase, which I can only imagine is Piper's own, that he uses to describe the spirit of our age: pluralistic conviction aversion. Brilliant! I highly recommend this book for any Christian. Regardless of our level of education or affinity for intellectual things we all need to think as well as we can if we are to know, love and honour God as we should.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ray Umphrey

    Pipers book, Think, is a great introduction to Christian thinking. In this book, Piper attempts to kindle the desire for Christian thinking among evangelicals. He does this by sharing his personal experience, by defining the practice of Christian thinking, and by answering the criticisms of the relativists and the anti-intellectuals. It is a helpful antidote to the excesses of relativism and anti-intellectualism. The seasoned Christian thinker, however, will find little here which is Piper’s book, Think, is a great introduction to Christian thinking. In this book, Piper attempts to kindle the desire for Christian thinking among evangelicals. He does this by sharing his personal experience, by defining the practice of Christian thinking, and by answering the criticisms of the relativists and the anti-intellectuals. It is a helpful antidote to the excesses of relativism and anti-intellectualism. The seasoned Christian thinker, however, will find little here which is ground-breaking. Relativists may find Piper’s section on relativism lacking in thorough argumentation. Overall, Think is a good read which would be helpful to encourage Christians to think about their faith in a deeper way.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brian Winokan

    Piper makes a strong, compelling plea in his book, citing Scripture and thoughts from various contemporary and past biblical scholars, for the Christian to embrace both the mind and the heart, thinking and feeling, theology and doxology, for the ultimate and express purpose of glorifying the Lord. Its not either-or, but both-and, as he says plainly and often. Our thinking rightly, carefully, and humbly about God through Scripture should complement and deepen our savoring God above all things, Piper makes a strong, compelling plea in his book, citing Scripture and thoughts from various contemporary and past biblical scholars, for the Christian to embrace both the mind and the heart, thinking and feeling, theology and doxology, for the ultimate and express purpose of glorifying the Lord. It’s not “either-or, but both-and”, as he says plainly and often. Our thinking rightly, carefully, and humbly about God through Scripture should complement and deepen our savoring God above all things, and in turn our love for others. His arguments are presented clearly about how the mind, the heart, and divine illumination intertwine.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jenn West

    Great book on the importance of the evangelical mind. Piper, as always, forms his arguments on a foundation of Scripture and directly addresses Scriptural objections with the in-depth contextual examination they require. Certainly a book that should be pondered by all evangelical Christians who live in age where intellectualism is viewed with a weary eye in the church, and taken as a call to begin the strenuous studies necessary to glorify God with our mind through a deeper understanding, and Great book on the importance of the evangelical mind. Piper, as always, forms his arguments on a foundation of Scripture and directly addresses Scriptural objections with the in-depth contextual examination they require. Certainly a book that should be pondered by all evangelical Christians who live in age where intellectualism is viewed with a weary eye in the church, and taken as a call to begin the strenuous studies necessary to glorify God with our mind through a deeper understanding, and therefore deeper longing for Him.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Joaquin Gutierrez

    The book introduces us to a way of living the christian life radically different than what is usual to the average christian north/center/south american stereotype. Appliying the reason and philosophy to how we aproach to the Scriptures is way different than just reading and having opinions that came from my brain or my heart. The entire book yells at the reader "Think! Have you thinked? Well, Think again! and again and again until you understand and can construct something with your thinking, The book introduces us to a way of living the christian life radically different than what is usual to the average christian north/center/south american stereotype. Appliying the reason and philosophy to how we aproach to the Scriptures is way different than just reading and having opinions that came from my brain or my heart. The entire book yells at the reader "Think! Have you thinked? Well, Think again! and again and again until you understand and can construct something with your thinking, your idea and what God has just told you.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Est

    J. Piper, as usual, successfully writes an insightful book regarding contemporary issues. In this case, he explores the battle between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism pervasive in Christian thought. I did enjoy reading this book, but I couldn't help but notice how repetitive it was, particularly towards the end. Piper seemed to lean towards recycling his main ideas. All in all, excellent book I was looking forward to reading it, and it was fascinating as expected... It's any Christian J. Piper, as usual, successfully writes an insightful book regarding contemporary issues. In this case, he explores the battle between intellectualism and anti-intellectualism pervasive in Christian thought. I did enjoy reading this book, but I couldn't help but notice how repetitive it was, particularly towards the end. Piper seemed to lean towards recycling his main ideas. All in all, excellent book— I was looking forward to reading it, and it was fascinating as expected... It's any Christian psychology student's dream come true!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Think: the life of the mind and the love of God hit something in my intellectually-wired brain just right. I came to this book disillusioned with the sentimentalism of women's bible studies and feeling a personal hardness of heart. Piper's insight on some key texts about the knowledge of God as the beginning of loving God set me on a passionate journey to really read the Bible. This book became the first text in a Holy Spirit-inspired reading list. I highly recommend it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matt Crawford

    I do not know if Piper knows how to do bad books. This answer to a debate that has been going on for four hundred years. Does thought have to be separated from Christianity? Piper obviously says no. That is not a spoiler, it is in the title. Yet here he repeats his ongoing theme that all things are for God's glory. Thinking is not contrary to that rule!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Westerfield

    Helpful introductory book from Piper. He warns against the anti-intellectualism that is so rampant in Christian circles these days, and even provides a helpful exegesis of a few passages. Recommend for newer Christians who might be turned-off by negative experiences with the anti-intellectualism movement in Christianity.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Johnson

    Piper shows how thinking about thinking is very helpful. All humans must think at least at some level, and so being a Christian involves thinking. Piper argues that thinking rightly cannot be divorced from love for God.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Kuranaga

    Being a good thinker requires both work and time. But if we want to grow in our understanding of things, we must think about them continually. John Piper does a great job of encouraging us to use our minds to grow in our understanding as well as our love for God.

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