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Crossway Books Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook

In Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God John piper shows us the intricate continuity between the Christian faith and intellectual development. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world around us in thoughtful ways.

While we must value the experiential an emotional elements of our faith, the intellectual aspects are far too often neglected and as Piper says in this book, 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.

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Customer Reviews for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
Review 1 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:December 12, 2012
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Barb
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The. book was well used and discussed in a book club setting.
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Review 2 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Date:October 31, 2011
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Greg Verrall
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Think: The Life of Mind and the Love of God, by Pastor John Piper. In this book Piper encourages Christians to think!
“thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God”. Piper backs this claim up with scripture, and brings to light the dangers of the anti-intellectualism movement in the church. If you think it is a waste of time to read a book or to learn anything about theology or doctrine – you may be part of this movement without knowing it.
At the same time, he makes it clear that using human intellect alone is also not scriptural. He also addresses relativism, showing the immorality, dangers and illogical constructs of this line of thinking and how to safeguard against it.
Like all of Piper’s works, it is incredibly deep and will require repeated reading to allow what is said to sink in. It is a good thing that it is a small book with very short chapters, to allow this to take place without using up too much of our time. Piper’s expounds the scriptures to carefully to explain that either extreme in this Intellectualism/Anti-Intellectualism debate is dangerous.
I urge you to read this book if you want to learn how to grow closer to God.
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Review 3 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Another good book from John Piper

Date:July 12, 2011
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Brad
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Really enjoyed the book. I like his approach regarding thinking and Bible study and how he supports this approach with Scripture.
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Review 4 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Dr. Piper at his best

Date:June 1, 2011
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Dave Jenkins
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Dr. John Piper is Pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. His book Think The Life of the Mind and the Love of God is broken into eight sections which helps the reader to follow the line of thought and argument he is making. In the first section of his work, Dr. Piper seeks to clarify why he is writing this book. Some notable quotes we will help us to understand why he wrote this book. On page 15 he says, "Thinking is one of the most important ways that we put the fuel of knowledge on the fires of worship and service to the world." On page 15 he writes, "The ultimate goal of life is that God be displayed as glorious because of all that he is and all that he has made and done- especially the grace he has show in the work of Christ. The way we glorify him is by knowing him truly, by treasuring him above all things, and by living in a way that shows he is our supreme treasure." Dr. Piper states on page 30 that the point of this book is that "thinking is essential on the path to understanding, but understanding is a gift of God. That's the point of this book." He continues on page on page 30-31 with a story of Benjamin Warfield. Warfield taught at Princeton Seminary for 34 years until his death in 1921. He reacted with dismay toward those who saw opposition between prayer for divine illumination and rigorous thinking about God's written Word. In 1911 he gave an address to students with this exhortation: "Sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books. `What!' is the appropriate response, `than ten hours over your books, on your knees?'"
In chapter one Dr. Piper tells his own story to give his background, influences and struggles, so the reader will understand why he writes this work. Chapter two tells the story of Jonathan Edwards and how he made a huge impact on Dr. Piper. In chapter 3 Dr. Piper clarifies what he means by thinking and explains the amazing act of reading as a means of thinking. Chapter four and five attempt to show that the thinking functions and how thinking functions in the process of coming to faith in Jesus Christ. In chapter seven he argues that relativism is neither intellectually compelling nor morally upright. In chapter 8 he seeks to help guard our minds against the intellectual virus of relativism by laying out seven harmful and immoral aspects of relativism. Chapter nine through eleven teach that the supposed biblical pillars of anti-intellectualism are very shaky. He continues by laying forth the biblical foundations for a robust use of the mind for the sake of loving God and man are deep and strong. In chapter twelve explains 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 and Romans 10:1-4. In chapter twelve Dr. Piper argues that without a profound work of grace in the heart thinking puffs itself up. With that grace, thinking opens the door to knowledge. Chapter 13 expands on the implications of chapter twelve that all learning, all education, all schooling, formal or informal, simple or sophisticated exists for the love of God and man.
Dr. Piper in this book argues for praying on our knees and studying the Word of God. His argument centers on an often misunderstood concept in the Church today- the engagement between the head and heart. He argues on page 19 that, "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 comphrending (imperfectly and partially but truly) the truth and beauty and worth of the Treasure."
One of the biggest issues in the Body of Christ today stems from this disengagement of mind and heart. Greek philosophy extolled the human body and knowledge to them was an intellectual pursuit. For the Christian the pursuit of knowledge has a goal that is knowing God and then serving Him. Dr. Piper rightly places the emphasis in this book on knowing God- thinking through what we know but not just knowing right facts or right information but in applying the truth. He rightly argues that many academic people do not think with great clarity.
In chapter 13, he wants the reader to understand that all scholarship is for the love of God and man. Often times scholarship becomes a way for scholars to share "what they know" and what people "don't understand" but that is not the kind of scholarship Dr. Piper is calling for. Dr. Piper argues on page 168 that "Christian scholarship is not threatened but served when it is permeated by spiritual affections for the glory of God in all things." He rightly stresses that scholars must be born again so they will have eyes to see the work of God in the Bible and the world. He stresses the pervasive influence of pride for the scholar and the non-scholar that life is fraught with the praise of man. Instead of ending on a negative note Dr. Piper leads us upward towards God and towards the person and work of Christ. Thinking has been good for the life of Christianity for as the Gospel has spread, Christians have started schools, hospitals and more. The longer Christianity has stayed the more serious and through the educational process has come.
Dr. Piper is not arguing against serious thinking about God and His Word but against the pride that often comes when one has been formally educated. Dr. Piper is not arguing against the school of hard-knocks. He is simply highlighting that our knowing should lead to humility instead of arrogance. He states on page 174, "God has revealed himself in his Word and his world. He means to be known through revelation of both because he means to be loved fully." On page 175 he states that, "All branches of learning exist ultimately for the purposes of knowing God, loving God and loving man through Jesus. And since loving man means ultimately helping him see and savor God in Christ forever, it is profoundly right to say that all thinking, all learning, all education, and all research is for the sake of knowing God, loving God and showing God."
Dr. Piper concludes his book Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God with a final plea. His plea for those who don't love to think is first to be thankful and respect those who think. Here he encourages those who don't love to think seriously to respect those who serve you with thinking, and to pray for vulnerable, wrongheaded thinking and to read the Bible with joy. He gives a please to those who love to think. Here he challenges thinkers to think consciously for the glory of Christ, to become little children, enjoy the Word of God like gold and honey and to think for the sake of love.
Dr. Piper concludes his work by proclaiming that, "Thinking that does not aim to display Christ and build people up is not worthy of God's approval. We think and the Lord gives understanding. We seek it like silver, the Lord gives Not either- or. Both-and. Our thinking does not replace God's grace. It is the gift of grace and the pathway to more and more."
On many levels Dr. Piper's book personally challenged me. As a seminary student it is very easy to fall in love with reading and thinking. Yet as one engaged in ministry I also know that reading the right books and thinking with clarity has a goal- helping people grow in Christ. I appreciate the work Dr. Piper has put into this book.
As usual with all of Dr. Piper's work- it reflects a clear love for the God of the Bible and the people of God. I heartily recommend everyone read this book. Whether you're not a thinker or you are a thinker- you will be challenged by this book. This book will challenge thinkers and non-thinkers to see that thinking has a goal- loving God and loving people. The goal of thinking well ought to be to love God, and love people. Sadly we live in a day when thinking is motivated by selfish desires, and Dr. Piper rightly calls Christians back to thinking rightly so they can live rightly before God. May the Lord use this book in a mighty way for the sake of His glory.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Crossway book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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Review 5 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Loving God with Our Mind

Date:February 22, 2011
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Unashamed Gospel
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I recently finished the book Think by John Piper and found every chapter to be encouraging and motivating to my pursuit of knowledge through reading. The book emphasis is something all Christians should treasure: Loving God with their mind. John Piper states it this way on page 19, “Our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things.” He goes on to say that by using our minds in this way, believers fuel the fire of their heart to greater glorify and worship God. The book helps mature the growth of the people to better engage their minds with the world and the scriptures.
The book Think begins with a clear aim, which is revisited all throughout the book, that truly loving God involves having knowledge of Him which can be understood through the process of reading. Reading is a learned process and can be developed in ways where you can engage in the text where you can expand your mind and think differently. The book Think encourages you that this is a process and implores the reader to pursue the understanding of the meaning of the text they are reading. John Piper states that reading takes work and says that “if you cannot embrace the pain of learning but must have instant gratification, you forfeit the greatest rewards of life… The greater riches are for those who will work hard to understand all that is really there.” (page 47) The process of reading will engage the mind in thought and this has to be done intentionally. The fruits of this labor will be a deeper love of God.
Think also goes on to describe how relativism has wrongly shaped the way we think and how people need to intelligently think through the scripture to combat it. Piper encourages the church to embrace truth for themselves by humbly seeking God through the scriptures and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach them. He goes on to say that through reading it not only increases your love for God but describes how your love for God will overflow and because you love God you will love people around you. Thinking is also not limited to the Bible. One of the most encouraging quotes from the book states that “the task of all Christian scholarship- not just biblical studies-is to study reality as a manifestation of God’s glory, to speak and write about it with accuracy, to savor the beauty of God in it, and to make it serve the good of man.” (page 168) Believers can use all reading, thus thinking to connect to truth and bringing glory to God.
Think by John Piper is a great book because it motivated me to further my pursuit of knowledge through reading. I would encourage anyone who has struggles with the task of reading or anyone who wants to go deeper with their knowledge of Jesus. I can say that the book Think helped me engage my mind with loving Jesus and because of that I now connect to God in worship on a completely new level. It helped me understand the Bible better by connecting thinking with reading. I recommend this book to others and would strongly urge people to read Think by John Piper.
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Review 6 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Great Book

Date:January 24, 2011
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lipto
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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.
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Review 7 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:January 20, 2011
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shar
Location:Burnsville, NC
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A great book to help us love Jesus with all our heart, soul, and mind.
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Review 8 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
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5 out of 5

Well timed and deeply helpful

Date:January 11, 2011
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Jacob Young
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As I’m sitting down to write this review, my friend has been snagged into a conversation with the local Existentialist about the meaning of life (we were supposed to be having coffee). It’s the sort of conversation where you go from “Hello” to “Now follow this syllogism” in about thirty minutes. He’s a well meaning guy, though he’s one of those guys who’s zero’d in on one or two philosophers because they scratched an itch that he had, while not really being tested to see if his own thinking is sound. But the irony strikes me as tangible: Here I am, writing a review about a book on thinking for the glory of God, and my friend (just 10 feet away!) is being challenged to understand an oddity in our day – a man who’s passionately confused yet devoted to trying to think.
This is, of course, a poignant example of why John Piper’s recent book, Think, is so 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. I think this may be one of Piper’s easiest primary books to read. Throughout the book he’s constantly explaining Scripture and helping us to see where his own thinking is going. 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 fullness of treasuring God above all things,” and I think you will too.
I did receive this book free from Crossway Books for review, but the thoughts are unsolicited and completely my own. This review originally appeared on my blog: The Strasbourg Inn.
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Review 9 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book -- Highly recommended

Date:December 11, 2010
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JeremyT
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For the last couple of months I have been (very) slowly reading Think by John Piper, which I received for free from Crossway in exchange for an honest review. This book has truly been an amazing book. It really delves deep into a lot of the problems of professing Christianity today. It seems like more and more people are losing the purpose of and importance of thinking when it comes to Christianity.
This book details why every Christian should be deeply involved in thinking and the importance of that thinking. And without thinking... Well, then there is no way of knowing God.
I have really enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it to everyone. I look forward to reading more of John Piper's work. Here's a couple of quotes from the book to whet your appetite for more from this book.
The ultimate goal of life is that God be displayed as glorious because of all that He is and all that He has made and done–especially the grace He has shown in the work of Christ. The way we glorify Him is by knowing Him truly, by treasuring Him above all things, and by living in a way that shows He is our supreme treasure (see Phil. 1:20-21, 23; 3:8).
Therefore, the main reason God has given us minds is that we might seek out and find all the reasons that exist for treasuring Him in all things and above all things. He created the world so that through it and above it we might treasure Him. The more we see of His surpassing greatness and knowledge and wisdom and power and justice and wrath and mercy and patience and goodness and grace and love, the more we will treasure Him. And the more we treasure Him, the more he is consciously and joyfully glorified. The point of this book is that thinking is a God-given means to that end. (pp. 15-16; Think by John Piper)
Two passages of Scripture provide the main point of this book. The first is 2 Timothy 2:7, where Paul says to Timothy, "Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything." The command is that he think, consider, use his mind to try to understand what he means. And the reason Paul gives for this thinking is this: "For the Lord will give you understanding." Paul does not put these in tension: thinking on one side and receiving the gift of understanding from God on the other side. They go together. Thinking is essential on the path to understanding. But understanding is a gift of God. That's the point of this book. (pg. 30; Think by John Piper)
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Review 10 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Academic and enlightening

Date:November 23, 2010
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I was pretty excited to dig into this one, since Piper's books Let the Nations Be Glad, Desiring God, and Future Grace have been pretty formative for me. While Think proved to be fundamentally different from those, it didn't disappoint.
It's different in that it has a decidedly more academic bent than most of Piper's other book. It's footnote-dense and heavy on quotes from other theologians. And it's different in that the book builds up to the `meat' - as opposed to, say, Let the Nations Be Glad where Piper blows you away from the very first chapter.
But there's no doubt this is Piper. As you might imagine in a book titled Think, he tackles the centrality of the mind in the Christian life. Going back to trinitarian doctrine he roots the life of the mind and the life of the heart in the reality of the triune God.
I found a historical basis in Jonathan Edwards for those reformed ideas I picked up from Piper's earlier books, that man's chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, and that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. It requires understanding, questioning, wrestling with truth. According to Piper, "The Lord never says, `Stop thinking about my Word. I'll tell you what it means.'" We're meant to wrestle with it.
Perhaps my favorite chapter was The Immorality of Relativism. Here, Piper attacks one of the thickest fibers of the "post-Christian" world, or Post Postmodern world. He identifies relativism as treason against the objective reality of God, as enslaving people, and as disguising pride and greed as humility and flattery.
1 Cor. 8 ties knowledge to love, and this is where Piper heads next. That often found anti-intellectual idea that "All I need to know is that Jesus loves me" is challenged is Piper tells us that the neglect of knowledge is not the path to love. To fully love, we have to know the object of our love.
The nuggets and overall concepts here are just as awesome as what we all expect from Piper. The primary difference in this book is that the earlier chapters are a little less rewarding than what we usually see in Piper. To get to the heavy-hearted truth we know John Piper for, we have to get a little further into the book.
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Review 11 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5

The power and need to Think

Date:November 15, 2010
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Pastor Dan
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John Piper uses two main texts to discuss the topic of thinking. They are from Proverbs 2 and 2 Timothy 2. According to these two texts, insight and understanding are what we should be seeking and what God desires to make known to us.
Piper puts forth the premise that many people feel that the Holy Spirit being the source of all life and truth means that we do not have to do the important work of thinking, just rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal knowledge to us.
But through Pipers good exegesis we will find that the power of thinking is actually an act of bringing honor and glory to God by using His word and His creation to come to understand who He is and to learn how to love Him and His people.
Piper acknowledges that there are many other books on the market by good theologians that do a good job of discussing “Thinking.” So, why does he write his book? He wanted to put together a shorter treatise on thinking that would examine it from a very Biblical orientation by looking at several main texts.
In Piper’s own words, “The aim of this book is to encourage serious, faithful, humble thinking that leads to the true knowledge of God, which leads to loving him, which overflows in loving others.”
As you will read you will be challenged to realize that “thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God.” But also reminded that “thinking, without prayer, without the Holy Spirit, without obedience, without love will puff up and destroy (I Cor. 8:1).”
In Chapter three Piper will expound that “Reading is Thinking”. We don’t just read a text and move on, but we need to read a text and then ponder it, delve into it, ask ourselves what the writer really wanted us to hear and understand and then seek the Holy Spirit on how to apply what we learn to our lives. Reading is active not passive. Reading is work. Thinking is work.
Throughout the rest of the book Piper will examine and expound on the topics of Relativism, the difference between subjective and pragmatic thinking, arguments for and against intellectualism and anti-intellectualism.
For me Chapter nine was one of the most enlightening chapters. The challenged Piper set forth was that often intellect is pitted against feelings and emotions. For me a very feeling / emotion oriented person that caused me to pause and think through, do I frown on intellectuals because they go against my emotions, or should I be encouraged by them because they do the hard work of actually “Thinking”?
Piper will leave you encouraged that it is hard work to “Think”, but it is essential work if we are to understand and know God and love Him completely and then in turn love people as well.
This is a short quick read, but one that you will ponder for long periods as it challenges you to confront whether or not you are sloppy in your thinking and thus sloppy in your walk with Christ, or are you careful and reflective in your reading / thinking and thus coming to Know God in a way that brings Him Honor and Glory.
Enjoy!
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Review 12 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
This review is fromThink: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5

And With All Thy Mind

Date:November 9, 2010
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Annette of A Well-Watered Garden
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We hear the word think in academic settings; but how often in the Church? How often are we told to think, to use our mind?
I don't know if it is over looked, or maybe it is not fully understood what the Christian's response should be.
Their are some Christians that hear what information they've been given and take it as the absolute proclaimed Word of God--they don't think, they grab hold of it; but don't think and ponder and pray about what information they've been given.
Then, their are some Christians that ridicule, criticize, and judge Christian Bible study leaders and writers, they look for any speck of what they believe is evil----false doctrine. They are so focused on looking at others, that they are negligent in their own Bible reading and thoughtful study.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
Matthew 22:37 KJV
Loving the Lord requires all of us; our heart, soul, and mind. In loving the Lord with our mind we must think!
"...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." page 80
In reading and studying Scripture, I read and then ponder and pray over a passage, because I want to know what it is telling me and how do I apply it to my life. This requires thinking and praying. I am reminded of----
1 Corinthians 2:16 NASB
"For who has known the mind of the LORD, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."
It is the Lord's Spirit that opens our mind to understanding Scripture. Thinking is apart of this, we are thinking on Him and on His Word and what it means to us.
In Think John Piper explores what it means to think and what it means to have a right attitude in our thinking.
He discusses pride that can become involved in the wrong kind of thinking; because we are depending on our own sufficiency (knowledge and ability), instead of on Jesus.
More than once he uses the word treasure, in referring to God's grace.
He gives a complete explanation of why he wrote this book and what it means to think.
He addresses those that are for intellectualism and those that are against it.
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Review 13 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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Love God... and Think!

Date:November 8, 2010
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PastorJBstone
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The latest offering from John Piper, "Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God" serves to be a timely volume, indeed. In a day where many do not truly engage their minds to examine their faith, rather relying simply on "good feelings", we need reminding that Jesus called us to love God with not only all our heart and soul, but with our minds as well. This isn't an "either-or" type of outworking, but rather a "both-and" realization. Piper works well to bring this home to us, so that we might understand that our minds and the capability to think are an important and necessary part of who we are as Christians. I enjoyed, "Think" very much and found it challenging and encouraging. In all, Piper shows us another wonderful facet in jewel of experiencing the joy of God's glory... by knowing God and being known by Him.
Piper states from the beginning his purpose to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people:
"Thinking is indispensable on the path to passion for God. Thinking is not an end in itself. Nothing but God Himself is finally an end itself.... But thinking under the mighty hand of God, thinking soaked in prayer, thinking carried by the Holy Spirit, thinking tethered to the Bible, thinking in pursuit of more reasons to praise and proclaim the glories of God, thinking in the service of love-such thinking is indispensable in a life of fullest praise to God." (27)
Above all Piper is a pastor and the book is deeply pastoral in approach... exhorting and passionate. He cares for his readers and desires for them to embrace the minds God has given to them, not simply to "absorb" under the guise of thinking, but to really wrestle with scripture, to engage their minds in thinking about the crucial acts of life, to develop the balance between thinking and action (head and heart)... and to do it usefully for the joy of knowing and loving God.
Seasoned readers of Piper may find the first couple of chapters a review of sorts, as he speaks to topics shared or hinted at in his catalogue of works, much of what is seen in "Desiring God" and "God's Passion for His Glory" but overall it is important to see and be reminded that a passion for the gospel is what drives Piper's own thinking and writing. The later chapters really are a wealth of great insight and encouragement in dealing with thinking in our own contexts, secular and Christian (i.e. postmodern/relativism/anti-intellectualism/pride/etc.). He argues for all of us, educated or not (as education and thinking are NOT equal terms), to be thinkers. True thinking is a proper use of our minds as instruments ably used to know and draw close to God and His glories, a "hearty engagement of the mind in the pursuit of God." (128)
Woven throughout the text Piper draws us many times to this question: What is the biggest detriment to proper thinking? It is our own pride. This observation is one of the most helpful insights this book offers us (and is challenging in the very thing he asks us to do!) Pride is the anti-thesis of true thinking. The pervasive effects of pride concerning our thinking (whether we value it too highly or too little at all) hinder and prevent us from knowing God and loving Him fully... or even not at all.
John Piper has battled for us to thoughtfully, carefully and humbly think, for without it we can't truly love and serve God, we can't truly love and serve others... because in the end it's ultimately all about us.
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Review 14 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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Whole-person theology, compelling reading

Date:October 26, 2010
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Jonathan Griffiths
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For so long it felt like there were two camps at war. The MindPeople and the HeartPeople both considered their way superior, and would critique each other at any given opportunity. I always had the inkling that something was not quite right with this division, and over the last few years have found allies in the works of Francis Schaeffer, Nancy Pearcey, D.A. Carson, John Calvin, Martin Luther and other great minds whose intellect is not divided from the work of their hands, their compassion towards people and, most importantly, the work of the gospel. Rather than divided, it is the operation of a redeemed intellect that will not stop at words and thoughts but is driven thereby to action.
Now, with more clarity of thought and ease of access than ever before, John Piper has delivered Think! by Crossway Books and it is the literary equivalent of love at first sight. Here is a theology of the mind and thought that drives hard, fast and passionately towards the glory of God. The basic premise is that thinking is the wood that fuels the fire of worship of God. By thinking well, we engage more deeply with the person of God as we consider His word, and the work and person of Jesus; thus we know and love God with more passion, and likewise love our fellow man more completely than before.
Piper does a wonderful job of showing the correlation between real thinking and Holy Spirit dependence. We cannot truly know and understand the Scriptures unless He first illuminates them to us, but we are also called to think - it is not a mystical experience in the sense of overwhelming revelation that is imparted to the mind without the mind being involved. We think because God has made us to think, and in our thinking we ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand and so our thinking becomes a work of devotion and adoration - theology turns to doxology, as Piper puts it several times.
Equally compelling to the whole-person theology that Piper proposes is his great handling of texts that have been abused by anti-intellectuals across the ages. Most notably, there is correction to a misunderstanding of what is meant by being as a "little child" in order to know God. I don't want to give it all way, because I really must compel you to read this book! For me, it is a tall, cool glass of water in the midst of a desert of oft well-meaning but ill-consequenced ideas that abandon either the mind or the heart in the pursuit of God. Let us have both, for He has made us such creatures that enjoy the benefit of both intellect and emotion!
A review copy was provided to me at no charge by the publisher. No attempt was made to gain a favorable review, and all opinions and recommendations expressed are the author's own.
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Review 15 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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A plea to think

Date:October 25, 2010
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Pastor Jon
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John Piper (pictured) recently released Think, his published plea for Christians to engage in serious mental effort as fuel for the fire of their relationship with God. Why would anyone write a book about thinking, particularly from a Christian perspective?
The Need
There is certainly a need in our lives, in our families, in our churches for serious-minded consideration of God and his Word. It’s fairly easy to assume that Bible-oriented churches cherish a theological appetite that is strong and deep. I have found this simply to not be so. Many Christians in conservative evangelical churches put far more stock in their own intuition (labelled as “the leading of the Holy Spirit”) and positive emotions (certifiable proof of “the center of God’s will”).
Piper’s Plea
This is not the first book of its kind. But Piper’s plea is typically passionate and well-designed to respond to objections. He explains that deep thinking about God is only possible in Jesus Christ. He also spends quite a bit of time developing the proposition that thinking actually fuels the fire of loving and obeying God. Piper has written this whole book as an explanation for why thinking matters in a relativistic culture and anti-intellectual church. We don’t have to choose between knowing God deeply and being passionate about him, in truth they go hand in hand.
Book Ideas
The best authors point their readers on to other worthy reading. Piper is no exception. Here are some highlights:
Mortimer Adler, How to Read a Book
Edward John Carnell, Christian Commitment: An Apologetic
J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith?
David Wells, No Place for Truth
Get Piper’s book, read it, and whatever you do THINK.
Pastor Jon Wymer
[Crossway Books provided a free review copy of this book. This review has been posted at Amazon.com and Christianbook.Com.]
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Review 16 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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This is an excellent book!

Date:October 24, 2010
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Lee Buford
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If you are picking up John Piper’s new book, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God, I can sum up what you can be prepared for in four words: It makes you think!
That’s not intended as a play on words; however, for those of you who’ve read anything by Piper before, you will certainly be familiar with the depth of teaching and knowledge found herein. In fact I admit with much sincerity and humility that I found myself, on more than one occasion, feeling grossly inadequate to comprehend some of his points. You will likely go back and re-read several parts along the way for clarification and understanding. And, if you’re like me, I “think” you will see that’s the point of the book…that we would think about the importance of thinking and how it impacts our view and worship of God. In that regard you will not be disappointed.
I highly recommend you read it, and here’s why…
Piper’s main point is that all learning and thinking “exist ultimately for the purposes of knowing God, loving God, and loving man through Jesus Christ.” And while there are two major camps of thinkers (those who love to and those who don’t), he masterfully presents a case targeted at all of us. As a Christian, wherever you find yourself on the spectrum of the importance of thinking, Piper presents a case that appeals to you.
As you would expect from anything authored by John Piper, the book is packed full of Scripture, teaching, and exhortation of biblical truths. In fact, if you are a pastor I would suggest to you that there is a wonderful sermon series in this book…one that your congregation needs to hear.
His teaching and unpacking of Scripture centers on two key passages:
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
– 2 Timothy 2:7 – ESV
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
- Proverbs 2:1-6 – ESV
The layout of the book is also critical to the ultimate success I believe Piper achieves in reaching a wide variety of readers, not just the “highly-intellectual” folks in the crowd. The chapters are broken up as follows:
*Clarifying the Aim of the Book
*Clarifying the Meaning of Thinking
*Coming to Faith through Thinking
*Clarifying the Meaning of Loving God
*Facing the Challenge of Relativism
*Facing the Challenge of Anit-intellectualism
*Finding a Humble Way of Knowing
*Encouraging Thinkers and Non-thinkers
Piper also includes an excellent look at the “Biblical Foundations for Bethlehem College and Seminary” in the first of two appendices at the end. These sections are well-worth the read and should not be overlooked.
Finally, I would submit to you that the worst thing any writer can do is leave his or her reader without a clear conclusion and/or an understandable action plan for what to do with the information he or she has just consumed. This is one major area in which Piper excels with this book. In the Conclusion he presents what he so aptly refers to as a “plea” to reject the either-or thinking of the two groups, one of which we all fall into: those who love to think and those who don’t. Here is the outline of his pleas for each:
Those Who Don’t Love to Think:
Be Thankful for Thinkers
Respect Those Who Serve You with Thinking
Pray for the Vulnerable Thinkers
Avoid Wrongheaded Thinking
Read Your Bible with Joy
Those Who Love to Think:
Think Consciously for the Glory of Christ
Become Like Children
Enjoy the Word of God Like Gold and Honey
Think for the Sake of Love
In closing I want to share with you the final paragraph of this chapter, which sums up Piper’s position and, I believe, serves as great encouragement and motivation for each of us:
“We think, and the Lord gives understanding. We seek it like silver; the Lord gives it. Not either-or. Both-and. Our thinking does not replace God’s grace. It is a gift of grace and the pathway to more and more.”
Read it. Digest it. And let me know what you think.
*I received this book as part of Crossway's Reviewer Program, and no way was influenced to write a favorable review.
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Review 17 for Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God - eBook
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Thinking and Feeling Aren't Competitors

Date:October 18, 2010
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Kevin M. Fiske
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John Piper, in his latest book entitled, "Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God," has provided the Christian community with an informative, insightful, and impassioned plea toward growth in the use of the mind, that Christians may effectively love God and others well. Intelligently combating relativism in the world at large, and anti-intellectualism within the church, Piper displays, convincingly, that God has given us minds in order to comprehend the Scriptures to the end of a burning worship within the heart.
Piper begins his book with a brief autobiographical sketch that recalls his personal growth in the understanding of thinking as a discipline that fuels the worship of God. He notes particularly the influence that the 18th century theologian, Jonathan Edwards, has had on his desire and ability to love God well in heart and mind. Influenced heavily by the Trinitarian theology of Edwards, Piper notes, "the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart. The apex of glorifying God is enjoying him with the heart. But this is an empty emotionalism where that joy is not awakened and sustained by true views of God for who he really is. That is mainly what the mind is for."
As the book progresses, Piper demonstrates the primary importance of reading in the task of thinking well. Basing this on the fact that God's clearest and most-authoritative self revelation has come through the pages of his written Word, the Bible, he implores the believer to pursue an understanding of the meaning of the text of Scripture, through the discipline of asking questions, to foster affections toward God based on truth. He graciously admits that this discipline may not come naturally for those raised in a culture of immediate gratification, but offers pastoral encouragement toward the maturity of one's ability to benefit from intentional, focused, deeper thinking for the sake of understanding and enjoying God for who he is.
In the next two sections of the book, Piper demonstrates the God-ordained role of thinking in coming to the place of saving faith, and its role in loving God "with all your mind." Piper's defines loving God "with all your mind" as, "thinking [that's] wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things."
Piper's section on relativism is perhaps the most helpful section in the book. Tackling relativism from the angles of implausibility and immorality, Piper demonstrates that relativism is essentially self-defeating and self-aggrandizing at its foundation.
Moving forward, Piper takes up the issue of anti-intellectualism in the church. Considering some of the critiques often cited against intellectual endeavors, he notes that the answer is not the abandonment of rigorous thinking. Piper's remedy for anti-intellectualism is "humble, faithful, prayerful, Spirit-dependent, rigorous thinking. Some may initially be intimidated or discouraged by the exhortation to mature intellectually, erroneously assuming that more formal education is required. However, Piper notes, "There is no extensive correlation between extensive learning and the right use of the mind...the right use of the mind is always good no matter how much or how little education one has." Thus, people from all walks of life, regardless of their level of formal education, have the ability to mature in the pursuit thinking well and worshipfully loving God "with all [one's] mind."
Piper then concludes the book with practical steps toward humble thinking. He notes ways that thinking has been good for the church, and ultimately does serve our love for others as we come to know the person of Christ and the reality of the cross more clearly and accurately through reading (thinking) and embracing the Scriptures.
I heartily encourage the reading of "Think" as it is wonderfully biblical, accessible, encouraging, convicting, and passionate about the importance of thinking clearly and accurately about God for his glory, our joy, and the good of our neighbor. "Think" offers the much-needed perspective that thinking and feeling are not in opposition to one another, but essentially complimentary.
I commend Piper's "Think" to those naturally inclined toward intellectual pursuits as it offers guidance toward humility in that pursuit. I commend it to those dismissive of, or discouraged by intellectual endeavors, as it proves to be a helpful guide to the use of the mind for feeling deeply about the gospel and loving others well. I commend it to pastors as it provides a plea for thinking well in order to proclaim the gospel well. I commend it to lay-people as it serves to encourage the discipline and reward of thinking for every follower of Christ, no matter their vocation. I enthusiastically recommend "Think!"
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