You'd think "thinking" would be easy to define. But try to do it, and you'll realize it isn't as obvious as you thought. John Piper understands this, and the social and doctrinal hurdles people must jump to cultivate the life of the mind, and he attempts to reconcile all these things to the Word of God in Think.
The angle is in the subtitle: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. This isn't a book encouraging Christians to become philosophers, go to college, or be high-minded because they think they can think. It's an appeal to think deeply about God by contemplating His self-revelation in the Bible.
Piper spends a lot of time expositing and exegeting biblical passages, especially as they relate to the intellect. His first two chapters are autobiographical (tracing his journey into serious thinking and the influence Jonathan Edwards had on him), but the majority of the book is biblically focused.
It's also practically focused. People don't often associate thinking and action, but Piper shows how thinking deeply about God will lead us to love Him and other people more. Later in the book he does address problems like relativism and anti-intellectualism, but even in these chapters his responses are biblical rather than philosophical.
Piper clarifies two verses that seem to promote anti-intellectualism: Luke 10:21 and 1 Corinthians 1:20. The passage in Luke says true Christian wisdom is childlike, and the verse from Paul describes God's wisdom as foolishness. Without giving anything away, Piper thoroughly examines both verses, and shows that in context they actually promote thought rather than preclude it.
The repeated exhortation to think biblically, contemplate God's Word, and be changed by doctrinal meditation is needed now more than ever. Piper's appeals are patently humble, making this one of the best books of its kind, and one we pray God will use to lead many of His children into deeper faith through the exercise of their God-given minds.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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