THINK, A Guest Review
A Word on Guest Bloggers
The last few weeks have been full of animation work for me as I am trying my best to get “The Word Of The Cross” completed before the Christmas holiday begins. My desire is to have this animation finished before December 20th so that it will be available to share during the Christmas season. However, that means less time is available for writing the bi-weekly blog posts. So, over the next two weeks or so, I will be having some guest bloggers supplement my own work. This will inject some fresh voices into the FOE blog and will also free up my time to really pour into finishing the new animation.
With that said, today’s blog post is by a good friend and fellow seminary student, Jonathon Woodyard. Jonathon is finishing up his MDiv. at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, MN, and has a helpful blog over at Mind & Mission. In today’s post, Jonathon is reviewing the book Think by John Piper (which you can download as a free PDF here). Think encapsulates the heartbeat of why Mind & Mission exists, meaning that today’s post will not only introduce you to Piper’s book, but also to Woodyard’s blog – I hope both will serve you in your pursuit of Christ!
Practical Theology: Think
John Piper wrote Think in order to help Christians think about thinking. Piper is interested in calling believers to cultivate the life of the mind. The use of the intellect is required if we are to faithfully live for the glory of God (Is. 43:7). Think, Piper writes, “is a plea to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people” (15). However, this act of thinking is not an end in itself. Piper calls Christians to a kind of thinking that serves to “awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things” (19).
In the first three chapters Piper introduces the thesis, traces his own journey, and offers a word of gratitude to Jonathan Edwards. For the remainder of the book he unpacks his thoughts about thinking. It becomes clear that Piper is mainly concerned with thinking in connection with reading. Again, not reading for its own sake, but “how [reading] relates to our pursuit of knowing and loving God” (41).
Specifically, Piper hopes that believers will pick up and read their Bible. The Bible is the written Word of God. In this written Word, God reveals himself in special ways to his created people. In short, we read the Bible to see and savor our Lord. Furthermore, reading is thinking. When we read the Bible we are forced to think about words, grammar, sentences, paragraphs, and all the connections intertwined. We must read canonically and theologically. And we must read theo-centrically. That is, we must consider how God reveals himself through what we read. In this intellectual pursuit, faith is awakened (Think, chapter 4), is received as a grace (Think, chapter 5), which has Jesus Christ as its object.
Reading and thinking is a means to treasuring God through Christ above all things. When Christians read the Bible it strengthens faith. The Bible leads us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind! Engaging in intentional, systematic, prayerful, and consistent reading of the Bible, giving concentrated thought to what you read, will not be easy. Anti-intellectualism has crept into the church and our world. In too many corners thinking is not valued and truth is not true. The life of the mind must be cultivated in hostile territory. But thinking over what the Bible says is a battle worth fighting.
Piper’s book encourages us to set an example in loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Specifically, we must engage the Bible in a thoughtful way. We must desire to see our families doing the same. Men, model for your wife and kids a healthy life of the mind as you pursue Jesus. Wives, adorn yourselves with godly and biblical thinking. And let us all lead others to cultivate a healthy life of the mind for the glory of King Jesus.
This, in part, is why Mind & Mission exists. Again, our call to think deeply in order to reach widely is tethered to and guided by the Bible. When we post theological pieces, we hope you will be like the Bereans and test what you read by the standards of Scripture (Acts 17:11). Everything we write or publish about missions should be thoroughly biblical. Articles and posts about exegesis, pastoral ministry, and cultural engagement should be well within the limits of God’s Word. So read what we write, but test everything by what you read in the Bible.
John Piper has articulated many of our thoughts about thinking in his book, Think. We enthusiastically endorse his book and hope you’ll give it some time. In an attempt to put into practice his call to healthy Christian intellectual engagement, we have joined together in this endeavor called Mind & Mission.