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

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  • Posted January 24, 2011

    Great Book

    Recently I read a book entitled "Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God" by John Piper. Piper argues that the use of the mind needs to be clarified. He states that there have been two extremes when it comes to the use of the mind but the truth about how we use our mind is found in the middle. Piper uses his own story to help demonstrate his argument. I appreciate Piper's argument and I think that it would do us well to be reminded what place our mind plays in our life of faith. I highly recommend this book.

    I received a review copy of this book from Crossway. This did not influence my review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    Well timed and deeply helpful

    Think by John Piper is desperately needed today. I'm afraid that many Christians do not know how to think like Jesus. We are called to "just follow Jesus", "be like Jesus", and ask "What would Jesus do?", but hardly does anybody give thought to thinking like Jesus. John Piper fills the gap.

    The basic message of the book is this: Piper contends that loving God with our minds means that "our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fulness of treasuring God above all things" (19). Piper's means of making this point is by expositing Scripture. His main texts, as I read the book are Luke 10:21 (God has hidden these things from the wise and understanding), 1 Corinthians 1:20 (God has made foolish the wisdom of the world), 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 (God has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ) and Matthew 22:35-40 (You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind).

    This may be easily passed by (who actually looks up all the Scripture references in books?), but to me it is one of the enduring qualities of this book. What is so refreshing about this means of building his book is that when we close the book, we're built up in Scripture, understanding it better, and left leaning on God and his Book, not Piper and Think. This, my friends, is a sign of a faithful ministry.

    This book will, I think, strike a cord with many people on many different levels. Piper works through the place of the mind and thinking in the Christian life, and then contrasts biblical thinking to intellectualism, anti-intellectualism, and relativism. Following the teaching of Jesus, he appeals to the Christian to be firmly fixed in the Bible, thinking good hard thoughts for the sake of stoking one's affections with the glory of God and loving their fellow man.

    Personally, this book was well timed and deeply helpful. It gives me hope to see that logic "is a furnace driving the engine of love" (54), not merely a cold, sterile tool for entertainment between the ears. That is, the mind isn't merely the information hard-drive of the body that just stores information until you want to pull it up. No, thinking is about loving. However, for "thinking to be loving, it must be more than thinking" (84). That is, the mind was made for working and serving something other than itself. "[W]hile it is true that the mind and heart are mutually enlivening, it is also clear that the mind is mainly the servant of the heart. That is, the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires fo the heart" (36).

    You mean to tell me that I don't leave my brain at the door when I come to treasure Christ, but actually take it up as my chief tool in knowing and enjoying the glory of God? This. is. staggering. It is not my mind that needs to be repented of, but my shallow, selfish, and sinful thoughts that haven't served my heart rightly as God intended.

    There are great things in store for those who read this book. Piper's pastoral wisdom and care make this book not only accessible in content, but enlivening in application. I left the book wanting my thinking to be "wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fulness of treasuring God above all things," and I think you will too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    No snobs here: A great book on thinking rightly

    Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper is a book intended to help one think about the act of thinking, and about how the heart and mind work together to glorify God when done according to biblical precedents. In Think, Piper lays out a case in roughly 200 pages using scripture, primarily from 2 Timothy 2:7 and Proverbs 2:1-6, to show that thinking is the means to know God, love Him, and serve people. It is not about getting degrees, or having prestige. A good portion of the book discusses the role of humility and childlike faith as the only way to attain knowledge as God intended. After a chapter explaining the role of reading in thinking for all people, with an admittedly heavy echo of Mortimer Adler's How to Read a Book, Piper then moves forward into explaining the role of coming to faith through thinking, and tackling what seems to be an apparent paradox within that idea. "If thinking about Jesus is the pathway to faith, how does the work of the Holy Spirit fit in?" Piper clarifies the interconnectedness of this process between the mind and the work of the Holy Spirit through describing saving faith and how it rises from the use of human thinking, albeit naturally depraved, and divine illumination, or the awakening of spiritual sight. Piper's book works on the assumption that "God and his ways are knowable, not perfectly or comprehensively in this life, but truly." This leads into an examination of Relativism. Piper lays out the framework of Relativism and how Jesus dealt with (i.e. demolished) it, and also effectively inoculates the reader from the acceptance of relativistic thinking by describing seven harmful and immoral things about it. His argument is solid, and I consider it a favorite part of the book. From there Piper respectfully covers the topic of anti-intellectualism in some Christian circles explaining that the solution to "arrogant thinking" is not "no thinking but the right kind of thinking"; the "knowledge that loves" both God and man. In fact, he says, "all thinking, learning, education, whether formal or informal, simple or sophisticated, exists so that we may know God more so that we may grow in our treasuring of him and to bring as much good to other people as we can."
    Think brought to mind a sense that our lives in the here and now are like a wheel with spokes. Jesus is the center and around it is another wheel including our minds and hearts. Spokes coming off of our mind and hearts grounded in Jesus represent our values, ideas, talents, professions, worth, meaning, discoveries, & revelations about God. Without this structure, none of these spokes have the proper and strong grounding necessary in Jesus to hold up in truth through the pressures, trial, and tribulation of a life lived in a fallen world. Piper says that "loving God with the mind means that our thinking is engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things." This little book is full of information from an author who is himself a thinker in service to God. He acknowledges that intellectual pride is a dangerous area and lays out a biblical framework for grounding the heart & mind. Otherwise, attempts at knowledge miss the entire point in the end. God is not a respecter of persons, men are! God honors all the minds and hearts that yearn and seek to know Him in Truth regardless of whether or not a person achieves intellectual accolades in the world's eyes. What a reli

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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