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Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

By John Piper
August 2011 | Review by Gareth Williams

Synopsis

This is a book to help Christians to 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 practise 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.

  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press
  • ISBN: 978-1844744886
  • Pages: 192
  • Price: £10.99
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Book Review

In this carefully written book, John Piper pleads for Christians to make best use of their minds, to use them to the full for the glory of Christ and the honour of God; to ‘love God with all your … mind’.

Others have answered more fully various philosophical questions about faith, reason, truth and understanding, but John Piper is concerned that the church thinks biblically and esteems knowledge as defined by Scripture.

His arguments are drawn skilfully from key texts such as Proverbs 2:3-6; Matthew 16:1-4; 22:35-40; Luke 10:21ff; 1 Corinthians 1:20-24; 8:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:6; and 2 Timothy 2:7.

Both the church and the individual are exposed today to dangers inherent in the thinking of secular relativism and evangelical anti-intellectualism. Of the same school as Mark Noll, John Piper believes it a scandal when evangelicals minimise the study of Scripture in their quest for spiritual knowledge.

A person coming to faith in Christ, whilst regenerated by the Holy Spirit, must nevertheless reckon with gospel facts. It is through these that the Spirit illuminates the mind, which is then capable of growing in true biblical knowledge and wisdom, for God’s glory.

Following Jonathan Edwards, John Piper believes that truth, beauty and value are to be known through God’s creation and God’s Word. Crucial to such knowledge is the continuous need for humility.

The book closes with an interesting rationale for a church seminary and an argument for the humble type of thinking to take place within it that will most honour and uplift Christ.

Each chapter informs readers where they will go in the next chapter. The chapters are fairly bite-sized, nicely laid out and reader friendly, although ironically perhaps may require the ‘severe discipline of thinking’!

In my estimation, the message of this book is needed greatly in our churches today.

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