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Think [Paperback]

John Piper
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Sep 2010

This is a book to help Christians to think about thinking. Focusing on the life of the mind helps us to know God better, love him more, and care for the world. Along with an emphasis on emotions and the experience of God, we also need to practise 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.

Readers will be reminded that 'the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart'.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: ivp (17 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844744884
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844744886
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,685 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'I warmly commend John Piper's appeal to all believers to be diligent in engaging our minds and to do so with God-honouring humility and Christ-loving passion.' --Vaughan Roberts

'If you want to feel profoundly, learn to think carefully. And start by reading this book!' --C. J. Mahaney

About the Author

John Piper is senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis and head of Desiring God Ministries. He has written numerous best-selling books which all call readers to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things, for the joy of all peoples. His titles include the 'Let the nations be glad', 'Desiring God', 'Tested by fire', 'Seeing and savouring Jesus Christ' and 'Future Grace' and co-author of Crossway's 'Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood'.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be Widely Read 9 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback
Piper has done it again - a remarkably thorough yet also concise treatment of a very important subject. He shows that in order to be faithful to the call of God on our lives, we must seek to honour and love Him with all of our minds, as well as our hearts, souls and strength.

Although I found the book a little wordy at times, one cannot fail to understand and see Piper's heart that we, as the Church, recover rigorous intellectual life that honours Christ in every way.

Buy it, read it and give it away to friends for the glory of Christ.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reason on fire! 5 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I expected no less from John Piper! A well reasoned and impassioned plea for us to recognise that love and reason can not only co-exsist but, in the words of Thomas Goodwin, "are the mutual cause of each other". This really is a must read!
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read 11 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback
In Think John Piper sets out to "help Christians think about thinking". Piper successfully ties together thinking earnestly about God and treasuring and loving him, arguing that the mind and the heart are inextricably linked when it comes to worship, studying the Bible and how we treat others.

However, Piper has a tendency throughout the book to get caught up in stale agendas and arguments to combat what he sees as the rise of relativism both within Christianity and society in general. He thus devotes two entire chapters to the subject of relativism, which could have been better used to write positively about the rise of scholarship within the Christian community in the past few decades.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A much needed called to Think! 1 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As Piper states in the opening chapter many books have now been written on the Evangelical mind, so why read this one? If you are looking for a book that is not based on the social and cultural summons to think (and don't get me wrong these books are very important) but upon biblical commands to use our minds to the glory of God then read this book.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  92 reviews
82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loving God with our mind 2 Oct 2010
By Joel Holtz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The latest from John Piper challenges readers to engage their minds in pursuing, knowing and loving God. He says loving God with all our mind means.."our thinking is wholly engaged to do it all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things." (pg.85)

Readers will, in fact, have to fully engage their minds while reading THINK. Some chapters are easier than others to understand, but a few will take a 2nd or 3rd reading to fully grasp their meaning. Chapter 10 is easily the most cerebral, and readers will literally have to think hard about its meaning and application..but it's well worth the effort.

Chapters 6 and 7 are both brilliant. But for me, the best chapter in the entire book is Chapter 4, where Piper explains Jesus' encounter with the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16.. the study is nothing short of brilliant.

After finishing the book, I realized one of the reasons why I appreciate the author's latest..THINK is essentially one big Bible study. There are scripture verses on almost every page. And that of course is Piper's passion, to explain Scripture and help Christ followers to know God and treasure Him more passionately through His Word.

And I always appreciate Piper's bold and challenging statements.. "Desiring to be rich is suicidal." (pg.202) He knows it's not a sin to be rich, but he also knows the Bible's warnings against wanting to be wealthy. Great balance.

One small section I found unecessarily confusing. In Chapter 12, commenting on Romans 10:1, Piper writes that the apostle Paul's Jewish countrymen weren't saved because "they have a zeal for God.." (pg.162) To his credit, Piper clarifies just two short paragraphs later when he writes that their zeal wasn't based on knowledge. But I think the way it's worded first brings unecessary confusion to the reader.

Anyone at all familiar with Piper's writings knows how he's been tremendously influenced by Jonathan Edwards, who many call one of the greatest evangelical thinkers of all time. Chapter 2 talks about that influence.

After reading a good majority of Piper's books, and now his latest, I'm convinced he's one of the greatest thinkers of our time.

And for that, we should all be thankful.
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionately Teaches the Mind to Love God and Man 6 Oct 2010
By Fr. Charles Erlandson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Those of you who have read anything by John Piper before know that you're in for a spiritual delight. Those of you who haven't are about to discover a delight in God greater than you had previously imagined! "Think" is a very readable and yet profound book that should be read by every thinking (or unthinking!) Christian. I plan on using portions of it with my high school Apologetics class. It's amazing how many books are written on how to use the soul and even the body - and how few are written on how to use the mind to love God and man. This is one of those rare and invaluable books.

The thesis and plea of Piper's "Think" is that Christians should "embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people." It's not exactly the thesis or plea you'd expect to hear from a Christian book on the mind, which would usually be something more like, "Oh no, the really brilliant atheists have captured the universities and the minds of our generation so we'd better find some even more brilliant Christians to outsmart and outthink them."

But Piper refuses to play this kind of mind game, in which the mind is seen as a largely academic and theoretical kind of faculty. Instead, Piper returns to his first love, which is the glory of God, especially as communicated through the theology of Jonathan Edwards. For Piper, thinking is not an end to itself and not primarily to do battle with atheistic thinking. Thinking is properly a whole person activity that leads us to fulfill the greatest commandment by loving God and loving neighbor. It is not a choice between head and heart for Piper, but a choice to employ both head and heart to know and love God and man.

Piper masterfully unfolds his plea for Christians to think in 13 chapters plus an Introduction. Along the way, Piper gives a lot of food for thought and has crystallized some of his best and most beneficial thoughts into insightful sentences:

Introduction - In the Introduction, Piper makes his plea to embrace thinking as a means of loving God and man and states that "the main reason God gives 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."

Chapter 1 - My Introduction - is an autobiographical account of how Piper's passion to preach and be a pastor was ignited while thinking about Romans 9 for a book he was writing.

Chapter 2 - Deep Help from a Dead Friend - explores the idea that it is God's nature as the Trinity that is the foundation for human nature as head and heart, thinking and feeling, knowing and loving. He quotes Jonathan Edwards, who said, "God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory; and that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart."

Chapter 3 - Reading as Thinking - passionately presents reading as a most precious and amazing activity.

Chapter 4 - Mental Adultery is No Escape - provocatively argues that to not use the mind to know and glorify God is not only "mental adultery" but also "adulterous irrationality."

Chapter 5 - Rational Gospel/ Spiritual Light - finds Piper persuading the reader that the reason faith is what saves us is that (following the thought of J. Gresham Machen) faith means receiving something, not doing something or even being something. But in order to receive God by faith the mind must come to know God through the gospel and value Him (a kind of thinking) as the soul's and mind's greatest treasure.

Chapter 6 - Treasuring God with All Your Mind - does just what you think it will do.

Chapters 7 and 8 - both deal with Facing the Challenge of Relativism.

Chapter 9-11 - all deal with Facing the Challenge of Anti-intellectualism. Sadly, many American Christians don't see the need to think or use their minds because their religion is an emotional one. They might agree with Billy Sunday who said, "If I had a million dollars I'd give $999,999 to the church and $1 to education" or with D.L. Moody who said, "My theology! I didn't know I had any. I wish you would tell me what my theology is." Sadly (though Piper doesn't deal with this), most Christian Americans today have a very shallow theology but think they know they've worshiped God because they can feel it.

Chapter 12 - The Knowledge that Loves - finds Piper returning to his theme that "true knowing loves people" and "true knowing loves God."

Chapter 13 - All Scholarship is for the Love of God and Man - is yet another corrective Piper presents to the idea that scholarship is dry, esoteric, and removed from life.

Chapter 14 - Conclusion: A Final Plea. This may be the most important chapter of all because in it Piper challenges 2 groups of thinkers to think more lovingly. His plea to those who don't like to think is to: be thankful for thinkers, respect those who serve you by thinking, pray for vulnerable thinkers, avoid wrongheaded thinking, and read your Bible with joy. His plea to those who like to think is to: think consciously for the glory of Christ; become like children; enjoy the Word of God like gold and honey; and think for the sake of love.

"Think" is a thoughtful and soulful book that should be widely read. Pastors, professors, teachers, students, parents, and homeschoolers would benefit immensely from this brief but brilliant book. In fact, I can't think of a single category of Christian reader who wouldn't benefit from it. Highly recommended!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to love God with your whole mind 30 Sep 2010
By John Gibbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When the Apostle Paul talked about God making foolish the wisdom of the world, he was not trying to discourage Christians from thinking too hard, according to John Piper in this book. Instead, "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." Loving God with all our minds means fully employing our thinking in the pursuit of God.

The book starts with two chapters describing the author's personal journey and the inspiration that he has derived from Jonathan Edwards. After that come chapters on the relationship between reading and thinking, and coming to faith through thinking. There are two interesting chapters on relativism, in which the author points out that relativism is a moral choice as well as an intellectual choice. A follower of Christ submits to God's definition of truth, rather than choosing to define his or her own personal truth. Other chapters deal with anti-intellectualism, the wisdom of God and the relationship between knowledge and love.

Many readers will find some of the content challenging, but they should not let this put them off reading through the whole book as it is relatively brief (around 170 pages plus foreword and appendices). The book certainly succeeded in making me think, and the author's encouragement for Christians to engage in loving God with all of their minds is very helpful.
27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Think? 18 Jan 2011
By Alex Tang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book by pastor-theologian John Piper reminds me of books on similar theme such as Mark Noll's Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Os Guinness' Fit Bodies, Fat Minds, J.P. Moreland's Love Your God with All Your Mind and Gene Veith's Loving God with All Your Mind. These scholars and thinkers have written these excellent books (all of which are worth reading) based on their exposure to different worldviews and their effort to create or instill biblical worldviews.

Piper's approach is different in that he draws solely from the Bible and in that he limits himself mainly to Proverbs 2:3-5 and 1 Timothy 2:7. He writes that his approach is that of a Bible expositor and in that he has succeeded because the book read like a series of sermons. Thinking is a serious aspect of discipleship, Piper suggests and that such thinking "is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all thing."

This book seems to be seeking a balance between the "anti-intellectualism" of some churches and "over-intellectualism" of the academia, However unlike his other books, I find it difficult to decipher what Piper is really trying to say in this book. While I agree with his emphasis on reading and understanding the Bible (which he equate to thinking) and his asserting that thinking is loving God, I find it difficult to apply his conclusion to the rest of the world who are mostly illiterate, do not have access to the Bible, and to the category of people who are intellectually impaired. And also in most of Africa, Asia and South America, most pastors and Bible teachers are not theologically trained. I refuse to accept that because of these handicaps, the Christians in these regions are defective in their thinking and hence not able to love God with their minds. I believe the power of the Holy Spirit transcend the inability of believers to read and write and that these inabilities do not handicap their relationship with the Triune God.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate 23 Jan 2013
By Reid Mccormick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Back in the college I was a big John Piper fan. He works a very methodical, moving through each point carefully and thoroughly. In fact, my only complaint then was that his works were a bit too long. But as time moved on and I began reading more, I started finding Piper's works to be repetitive and superfluous. It sort of pains me to write a bad review for John Piper, but this is my honest response.

When I saw that Piper had written a book on the subject of the mind in our Christian faith, I was thrilled. It appeared like he was finally diverging from his usual style of Christian hedonism. Sadly, I was mistaken.

Now, I do not disagree with anything Piper has written here, however his arguments were either stale or unnecessary. For the entire book he is strongly defending his position however he does mention any detractors until after page one hundred. In my opinion, if you cannot adequately describe your opponent's position you can never adequately defend your own position. Piper should have laid out anti-intellectual arguments first and work from there. Furthermore, when Piper finally approached the anti-intellectual claims, they all came from a different era; most of them over a hundred years ago. I really did not feel any dissension that would require Piper to write an entire book to counter.

And to top it all off, I felt like his attack on relativism was quite poor. He just marked relativist as dumb evildoers who are paralyzed from any action because any action requires a statement of truth. It is not impossible for a relativist to stick some truths - they can't just go around believing in round squares. I honestly felt like I heard better arguments in my Philosophy 101 class.

Clearly, relativism and Christianity cannot co-exist. This is why Christians should use their mind. We should use our minds fully. Our minds are a gift of God and an instrument we can use to love God and love others. It is only one piece in the numerous ways we can connect with God, but it is a very valuable piece.

Once you have read Desiring God who have read every single thing written by John Piper, though Thinking. Loving. Doing. is a great work written by Piper and friends that is simple, short, and to the point. It is a much more useful read than Think.
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