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Excerpts from John Piper’s “Think”

Think_by_John_PiperAll quotes by John Piper from
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.

[Paragraph breaks and emphases are mine.]

Clear Truth for the Sake of Strong Affections

While it is true that mind and heart are mutually enlivening, it is also clear that the mind is mainly the servant of the heart. That is, the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart.

The apex of glorifying God is enjoying him with the heart. But this is an empty emotionalism where that joy is not awakened and sustained by true views of God for who he really is.

That is mainly what the mind is for.
~ page 36

The Benefits of Deferred Gratification

Learning the skill and practicing it was not fun. The joy is on the other side of the hard work. This is basic to all growing up.

Part of maturity is the principle of deferred gratification. If you cannot embrace the pain of learning but must have instant gratification, you forfeit the greatest rewards of life.

So it is with reading the Bible. The greater riches are for those who will work hard to understand all that is really there.
~ page 47

What does faith receive?

You don’t have to be born again to love being guilt-free and pain-free and disease-free and safe and wealthy. All natural men without any spiritual life love these things.

But to embrace Jesus as your supreme treasure requires a new nature. No one does this naturally. You must be born again.

...We have seen that saving faith is not the mere receiving of facts. It is the receiving of Christ as the one who died for us and rose again, and is infinitely glorious, and wondrously beautiful, and supremely valuable.
~ pages 72-73

Turning to the First Commandment

Jesus said that we should love God with all our mind (Matt. 22:37). Some have treated this as if it means “think hard and think accurately, and that act of thinking is loving God.”

But I doubt that.

I will suggest that loving God with the mind means that our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things.   

We can’t love God without knowing God.

And Jesus is the fullest revelation of God. If we know him truly, we know God. And the Bible is our only reliable access to knowing Jesus truly.

Therefore, we see again the vital place of reading—that is thinking—in knowing and loving God.
~ page 80

Solid Reasons

Loving God is not a mere decision.

You cannot merely decide to love classical music—or country western music—much less God. The music must become compelling. Something must change inside of you. That change makes possible the awakening of a compelling sense of its attractiveness.

So it is with God. You do not merely decide to love him. Something changes inside of you, and as a result he becomes compellingly attractive.

His glory—his beauty—compels your admiration and delight. He becomes your supreme treasure. You love him.
~ page 87

God’s Wisdom versus Man’s Wisdom

…what offends human wisdom about the cross is that it humbles man and exalts the unearnable grace of God. It makes humans look dependent and helpless—like little children---and makes God look all-sufficient and all-providing and absolutely free in giving salvation to sinners.

there is no true knowledge of God and no salvation apart from childlike dependence on the grace of God in Christ crucified.

If we are not willing to see ourselves as helpless, ungodly sinners and cast ourselves for mercy on the grace of God in Christ, we will not know God or be saved by him.
~ pages 147-148

What’s Wrong with Trying to Be Righteous?

But Paul says when you live this way—when you labor to show yourself righteous so that God will accept you—you are not submitting to God’s righteousness; you are in rebellion against God.

Why? Because God’s righteousness is a gift of free and sovereign grace, not a merited attainment by human effort—or even a Spirit-wrought performance of relative success in godliness (sanctification).

And since it is always and entirely a free gift, submission to it means receiving righteousness as a gift.
~ page 163

What Do We Study?

...God has two books: the Word and the world.

...The Bible is inspired and authoritative. The world is not.

But this doesn’t mean that all we focus on is the Bible. The Bible gives the decisive meaning of all things. But the Bible itself sends us over and over again to the world for learning. Consider the lilies; consider the birds (Matt. 6:26, 28).

...In fact, think about the way the prophets and apostles and Jesus himself used language. They used analogies and figures and metaphors and similes and illustrations and parables.

...In other words, the Bible both commands and assures that we will know the world and not just the Word.

We will study the general book of God called nature and history and culture. And we will study the special book of God called the Bible.

And the reason is that God has revealed his glory in both—and means for us to see him in both.
~ page 190, Appendix 1

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Have you read Think? If not, I encourage you to!


sel said...

I am reading Think right now! It is good and as with all his books (at least ones i've read), he really makes you think! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on his book.

Lisa notes... said...

So glad you’re reading Think! We’ll have to talk about it over lunch soon, especially the head/heart thing.

Barbara H. said...

I commented about this book in your nightstand post before scrolling down to see you had posted about it! (You probably had a link to it there that I overlooked).

This sounds like it would be a really good book.


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