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


We often pit thinking and feeling against each other, especially when it comes to the Christian experience. Glorifying God with our minds and hearts, however, is not either-or, but both-and. Focusing on the life of the mind will enable you to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. This book will help you think about thinking, and about how the heart and mind glorify God together.

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Think (Foreword by Mark Noll): The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

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We often pit thinking and feeling against each other, especially when it comes to the Christian experience. Glorifying God with our minds and hearts, however, is not either-or, but both-and. Focusing on the life of the mind will enable you to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. This book will help you think about thinking, and about how the heart and mind glorify God together.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"An essential dimension of Christian discipleship is the life of the mind, and this may well be the most neglected Christian responsibility of our times. God has made us intelligible creatures, and he has given us the stewardship of intellectual faculties that should drive us to think in ways that bring him greatest glory. In this new book, John Piper provides brilliant analysis, warm encouragement, and a faithful model of Christian thinking. This book is a primer for Christian thinking that is urgently needed in our time."
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Do you ever wish you could feel more deeply about things you know are true? Has it been a while since you were moved to tears at the thought of Christ’s death for your sins? It’s not mysterious: those who feel deeply about the gospel are those who think deeply about the gospel. In these pages John Piper will convince you that thinking is the sturdy foundation for our easily misguided affections. If you want to feel profoundly, learn to think carefully. And start by reading this book!"
C. J. Mahaney, Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky

"Thinking—the alert, meticulous, probing, logical, critical use of the mind—will be a highway either to godliness or to its opposite, depending on how it is done. Taking leads from Jonathan Edwards, John Piper surefootedly plots the true path here. His book should be, and I hope will be, widely read."
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

"Piper has done it again. His outstanding book Think promises to shepherd a generation about the Christian commitment to the life of the mind. Deeply biblical and uniquely balanced, Think practices what it preaches: it is an accessible, intellectually rich study that calls the reader to renewed love for God and others."
J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Biola University; author, Love Your God with All Your Mind

"John Piper offers much wise advice on the importance of Christian thinking as a way of loving God with our minds and as part of delighting in God above all things."
George M. Marsden, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History Emeritus, University of Notre Dame; author, The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship

"The book provides an excellent, robust biblical foundation for thinking in service of the glory of Christ. It challenges human attitudes and provides sound responses to the temptations either to reject vigorous thinking as unspiritual, to pursue "neutral" scholarship, or to take pride in thinking and fall into autonomy."
Vern S. Poythress, Professor, New Testament Interpretation, Westminster Theological Seminary; author, Redeeming Science

"We cannot feel like Christians or act like Christians if we don’t think like Christians. As his writing and preaching attest, John Piper is convinced that the heart cannot embrace that which the mind does not recognize as good, true, and beautiful. This wise book not only makes that point well, but does so by exhibiting in its style and grace the beauty of holy thoughts. This is a timely missive from a seasoned pastor."
Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California; author, Calvin on the Christian Life

"Those who are skittish when it comes to rigorous study, deep thinking, and theological precision have wanted us to believe that our problem is the mind, when in fact it’s the flesh. The problem isn’t knowledge, it’s pride. John Piper reminds us in this excellent book that what we need isn’t less thinking, but clearer, biblical, and more God-centered thinking. Reading and thinking about Think will set you on your way to the renewal of the mind that the Scriptures insist is the catalyst for heartfelt joy and growth in godliness. I highly recommend it!"
Sam Storms, Lead Pastor for Preaching and Vision, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

"John Piper has written a wise and passionate book about the importance of loving God with our minds. After all, we are commanded to do so! But as Piper explains, Christians have not always been very attentive to that commandment. With clarity and directness, he reveals the obstacles that prevent us from using our minds as God intended—but also shows the delights and benefits of doing so. Especially for those who fear intellectualism, this book will be a bracing tonic, and an encouragement besides."
Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, Honors College, Baylor University

"Some Christians don’t think nearly enough; others are prone to think in the wrong way. I warmly commend John Piper's appeal to all believers to be diligent in engaging our minds and to do so with God-honoring humility and Christ-loving passion."
Vaughan Roberts, Rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, England; Director, The Proclamation Trust; author, God's Big Picture

"No one—in speaking, writing, or living—combines mind, heart, and faith more passionately than John Piper. It is our great good fortune that these are the direct topics of exploration in this book. As always with John, the result is insight, encouragement, and a call to action."
Daniel Taylor, Professor of English, Bethel University

"Think is a bracing gust of fresh air in a stale and musty room that hasn’t been aired out in a generation or more. In this book, the love of God and the life of the mind are passionately connected in the way the Scriptures require, and the result is a direct challenge to the intellectual sloppiness and disobedience that is so characteristic of our time."
Douglas Wilson, Senior Fellow of Theology, New St. Andrews College; Pastor, Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433523182
  • Publisher: Crossway Books
  • Publication date: 3/31/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 692,561
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?

Mark A. Noll is Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of several books, including The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Mark A. Noll 11

Introduction 15

Clarifying the Aim of the Book

1 My Pilgrimage 25

2 Deep Help from a Dead Friend 33

Clarifying the Meaning of Thinking

3 Reading as Thinking 41

Coming to Faith through Thinking

4 Mental Adultery Is No Escape 59

5 Rational Gospel, Spiritual Light 69

Clarifying the Meaning of Loving God

6 Love for God: Treasuring God with All Your Mind 83

Facing the Challenge of Relativism

7 Jesus Meets the Relativists 95

8 The Immorality of Relativism 105

Facing the Challenge of Anti-intellectualism

9 Unhelpful Anti-intellectual Impulses in Our History 119

10 You Have Hidden These Things from the Wise and Understanding 131

11 In the Wisdom of God, the World Did Not Know God through Wisdom 143

Finding a Humble Way of Knowing

12 The Knowledge That Loves 157

13 All Scholarship Is for the Love of God and Man 167

Encouraging Thinkers and Non-thinkers

Conclusion: A Final Plea 179

Appendix 1 "The Earth Is the Lord's": The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Learning (Biblical Foundations for Bethlehem College and Seminary) 185

Appendix 2 The Student, the Fish, and Agassiz 205

Acknowledgments 211

General Index 212

Scripture Index 219

Desiring God: Note on Resources 223

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • 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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