the life of the mind and the love of God

After more than 4 months I finally finished reading (and digesting) “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God,” by John Piper.

It’s not a light read, but perhaps an essential one, especially for those who aspire to gain intimacy with the Lord both at the levels of experience and knowledge.

Here are my favorite excerpts from the book:

1) About the purpose of the mind and the prime motivation for thinking

“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.”

(Piper then goes on to quote Philippians 1:20-21, 23; 3:8 — “It is my eager expectation and hope that…Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…To depart and be with Christ…is far better…I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”)

“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…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.”

“Therefore, the task of all Christian scholarship–not just biblical studies–is to study reality as a manifestation of God’s glory, to speak and write about it with accuracy, and to savor the beauty of God in it, and to make it serve the good of man.”

2) About faith

Quoting Gresham Machen:

“Faith means receiving something, not doing something or even being something.”

And Andrew Fuller:

“Faith is peculiarly a receiving grace which none other is. Were we said to be justified by repentance, by love, or by any other grace, it would convey to us the idea of something good in us being the consideration on which the blessing was bestowed; but justification by faith conveys no such idea.”

Piper concludes:

“Grace is God’s free giving, and faith is our helpless receiving.”

3)About man’s pride, which hinders many from receiving Christ

“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.”

“God’s wisdom makes the glory of God’s grace our supreme treasure. But man’s wisdom delights in seeing himself as resourceful, self-sufficient, self-determining, and not utterly dependent on God’s free grace.”

4) About knowledge and love –Explaining 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, “…’All of us possess knowledge.’ This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”

“True knowing loves God…Thinking and knowing are given to us by God for the purpose of loving God and loving people…True knowing and true thinking produce not pride but love.”

Piper delves into other very substantial discussions — on relativism (taking off from an exchange Jesus had with Pharisees in Matthew 21:23-27), mere emotionalism versus a zeal for God that accords with knowledge (looking into Romans 10:1, among others), and other issues that he tackles to facilitate introspection and allow the reader to question his mindset as regards the pursuit of knowledge — in the light of God’s word. So if you’re serious about deepening your faith and stoking the flame of your continuing pursuit of knowledge of the Lord, you would find this book a most useful tool.

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