Book Review: Think

 Too often, we tend to pit thinking and feeling against each other – particularly when it comes to the Christian experience. But glorifying God with our hearts and minds is not either-or, but both-and.  In his latest book Think, John Piper challenges the reader to “think about thinking” and consider how the heart and mind “glorify God together”.

In his introduction, Piper 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 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 (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.

… I hope that this book will rescue the victims of evangelical pragmatism, Pentecostal short-cuts, pietistic anti-intellectualism, pluralistic conviction aversion, academic gamesmanship, therapeutic Bible evasion, journalistic bite-sizing, musical mesmerizing, YouTube craving, and postmodern Jell-O juggling.  In other words, I believe thinking is good for the church in every way.

Think is a fairly short read – 200 pages or so – but the length does nothing to weaken the impact or importance of Piper’s message. Words are not wasted: each one feels carefully chosen, like it’s there for a reason, instead of merely taking up space on a page. This, coupled with Piper’s frank, humble, and conversational writing style, makes the book an eminently readable one.

This is not to say Think is easy fare: it does, after all, deal with “the life of the mind and the love of God” – a rather complex subject. It goes without saying that in order to really understand this book, you need to apply yourself and think about what is being said. Piper, however, tackles this complicated subject matter in a surprisingly understandable way. He takes what might have been an insufferably dry and academic read and turns it into something we mere mortals can grasp. *wink wink*

Think gets my unqualified recommendation – no two ways about it. Without elevating one over the other, Piper shows us how the mind and the heart must both be used in glorifying and loving God. It’s a fine balance, but he strikes it perfectly.

17 thoughts on “Book Review: Think”

  1. Hey Scribe! I just wanted to say “excellent review”! You have an excellent command of the English language, and I enjoy reading what you have to say. May not agree with you all the time, and that’s okay, but I still enjoy seeing your thoughts displayed as you write. Keep up the good work, stay humble in Christ, and you will succeed in life son!

  2. Cool, I’ll have to keep a lookout for this one. I just finished a Piper book yesterday, I’ve read about five of his now and he is a very easy to read author. Thanks for the stellar review!

  3. I totally agree with what your dad said. Your command of the English language is impressive. As far as the book is concerned, I had a hard time reading past chapter six. It seemed to me like…like…’filler material’. I dunno, maybe I’ll try again in hopes of making more sense. But I ain’t gonna promise. ;-)

    1. You’re referring to the chapters on relativism and anti-intellectualism? Those were some of my favorite parts! But then, I enjoy that kind of stuff anyway. :)

      As for my command of the English language… Soli Deo Gloria. :)

  4. I love reading your reviews. Now when I get to the hard parts of the book you can explain them to me.:) And I ain’t got no ideas where youz got yer good bility to talk from. Maybe yo Daddy?

  5. Sounds like a terrific book–the kind of nonfiction book I SHOULD be reading! Ironically, my Semicolon review this week is pretty much fluff–don’t even bother to read it! :)

    However, I needed a fluffy, unsubstantial book to read after watching episodes of “Fringe,” which can be pretty heavy at times. I still think you’d love it, by the way.

    Last night, my husband and I (we’re watching it on DVD) were particularly moved by an episode in which a hard-core scientist who used to be an atheist actually asks God for forgiveness for something he’s done. We were amazed that a secular show would even include such a theme. It actually looked at faith in a positive light!


    Cindy @ Cindy’s Book Club
    and Notes in the Key of Life

    1. Think is superb – and I “think” you’d really like it as a non-fiction read. :)

      Yeah, Mom and I watched the first two episodes of “Fringe” and enjoyed them (excepting some of the sexual content, which we edited). It’s an intelligent, if often unsettling, show. When we were done, I felt like I needed to read P.G. Wodehouse or something. :)

      1. That initial episode was one of only a couple that I found had objectionable sexual-related material.

        You’re right, it can be unsettling and disturbing at times. What alleviates that are the flashes of humor and the fact that you quickly fall in love with and care about the main characters.

  6. By the way…totally off-topic…I love how your parents encourage you. They are allowing you to develop your own reasoning and discerning skills, while encouraging (and I’m sure wisely monitoring) your love of books and movies. They model Christian parenthood beautifully!
    (And I’m not just saying that because I love your mom’s blogs.:))

    Cindy @ Cindy’s Book Club
    and Notes in the Key of Life

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