Home > Book Review, Christian, Leadership > Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper

Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper

07/03/2011

I want to thank the christianaudio Reviewers Program for the opportunity to listen and review this excellent work.

Author:  John Piper; Narrator:  Wayne Shepherd; Runtime:  4.73 Hrs. – Unabridged; Publisher:  Crossway

Reviewed by Derek R. Iannelli-Smith

 
John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, where he first sensed God’s call to enter the ministry. He went on to earn degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.) and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and an increasing number of grandchildren.

If I could summarize the topic of Think I would define thinking; as a balance between stewardship, critical analysis, meditation, and God’s holiness in light of our sinfulness and Cross getting bigger.  

This book is a plea to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people. It is a plea to reject either-or thinking when it comes to head and heart, thinking and feeling, reason and faith, theology and doxology, mental labor and the ministry of love. It is a plea to see thinking as a necessary, God-ordained means of knowing God. Thinking is one of the important ways that we put the fuel of knowledge on the fires of worship and service to the world.

What if relativism, Mortimer Adler and anti-intellectualism were addressed with scripture and we heard what God really wanted to communicate?

think

Piper outlines succinctly in the introduction how he is going to map out the book, giving the same introduction discussion that was done 70 years ago with Mortimer Adler’s classic, “How to Read a Book.”  I thought this was quite helpful but also affirmative in that he reflected a compliment to Adler’s challenge to us from the past.

This book addresses the anti-intellectualism of the evangelical mind quite well by addressing the many facets of thinking.  I was struck by the “both/and” tone throughout the book in which Piper addresses our hearts when we feel the need to swing the pendulum one or the other ways (all we need is the holy spirit or holding to a critical thinking level as a sign of maturity).  Regularly throughout the book Piper brings us to BOTH, and many times shows through the scriptures that it is BOTH.  His work on expositionally addressing the longstanding anti-intellectual arguments of Luke 10:21 and 1 Corinthians 1:20 is fantastic!

I thought the book was exceptionally done!  Many years ago, someone recommended J.P. Moreland’s book to me because of my love for wrestling with the text of the Bible and what it means for the modern day disciple.  Piper’s book, Think is another I will have as a reminder of the importance biblical balance when it comes to challenging myself and others with doing the hard work of meditation and studying as well as reminding me that it is not easy work and that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  Piper states,

In summary then, all branches of learning—and this book about thinking—exist ultimately for the purposes of knowing God, loving God, and loving man through Jesus Christ. And since loving man means ultimately helping him see and savor God in Christ forever, it is profoundly right to say all thinking, all learning, all education, and all research is for the sake of knowing God, loving God, and showing God. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

I highly recommend this book for all believers who desire to know God more fully and enjoy Him forever.  This book will challenge our apathy to study, to swallow relativism, and to jump on the anti-intellectualism in our age.  I like the fact that Piper takes our souls to task and reminds us that it is NOT about us, our victory, but a result of the victory of Christ at the Cross.  I like that THINK embraces critical thinking versus ABC (already been chewed) Christianity.  I also appreciate Piper’s reminder that this is not a new occurrence in the body of Christ but through the historical references (Jonathan Edwards and others) that they too attempted to address this deterioration that is so prevalent in the Christian worldview.  I highly recommend it and would see this being a great small group study or even a sermon series to bring about revival in the evangelical mind.  It was amazing to me that not much was said about this book like many others out there and it slowly vanished the ‘popular’ Christian book lists.  However, I think this book is right up there with Mortimer Adler’s classic – How to Read a Book and should be a part of any Christian’s reading as they journey on the road of discipleship.

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