Monday, March 21, 2011

Book Review: Think

Title:  Think
Author:  John Piper, pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church
Publisher:  Crossway (2010)

C. J. Mahanney, Sovereign Grace Ministries is quoted on the inside dust jacket as saying, "Thinking is the sturdy foundation for our easily misguided affections. If you want to feel profoundly, learn to think carefully. And start by reading this book!"

I have been saying and teaching from the pulpit for years that as Christians we must be "thinking" people. We must think deeply and carefully through our various positions in order to first, understand them, second, be sure that our positions line up with the Scripture and, third, to be able to articulate our positions or doctrines to a world that has almost become anti-intellectualism.

Piper addresses this same issue in his book Think.  Piper sets his own purpose in almost the first sentence in the introduction - "...a plea to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people." Piper desires to build a case that would challenge each reader to carefully consider what he says and to become people who use their thinking process as a means by which to treasure God.

The book begins well. Piper introduces his topic well and begins to build steam toward his goal. I found the introduction very helpful in seeing how the stage was set and by what means Piper would tackle this great disparity between thinking and feeling. The first two or three chapters were easy reading and delightful not to mention quite informative.

Somewhere in the middle of chapter 6 it began to feel as if the book drifted and was going on to long. I found it a chore to continue to read and had to force myself to stay with the book until the end. The book lost my attention and focus and wound around differing ideas.

There is no doubt that Piper tackled a complex subject and dealt with material most people sadly do not consider. Nothing great ever comes without much effort. I am glad I persevered to the end and continued reading. The conclusion brought it all together and was very enlightening.

I believe this book is a very valuable tool and is a must read for every believer. Even though some will find it dull at points, if they keep trudging through they will find real gems and nuggets. One of the strong points of this book is when Piper writes about loving God with all of our mind. The reader will be rewarded with a strong exhortation to read critically and to think critically in order to properly love and treasure God by our reading and thinking. The benefit and value of this book is the heart-beat of John Piper (of course countless others through history) is how one can bring the heart and the mind together in the worship of our much worthy God.

I received a complementary copy of this book for this review. I was not required nor influenced to have a favorable opinion. All thoughts unless noted are mine.



Good day Gregg another wonderful post to think over, hope all is well your end.


Trevor Peck said...

I have my copy but have not started as of yet. Thanks for the heads-up to persevere!

Scott said...

I've only read the first three chapters, so I guess I haven't reached the breaking point yet. It is very good, but it definitely not just your average read. Some folks will struggle, even though the content is solid and helpful. Thanks for the review.

Trisha said...

So glad you reviewed this, Gregg. This is on my reading list, and my son already has a copy. (I was very tempted to keep it for myself.) :)

Obviously, it's not light reading, and if you were challenged, I'm sure I'll be re-reading passages over and over.

I listened to a sermon of his this morning related to our inability to rightly worship God with our hearts when we don't rightly KNOW him in what we think about Him. The danger of feelings without sound doctrine....

Thanks again for the review!

Spherical said...

My wife just picked up for me Piper's book "Spectacular Sins" A short, good read (okay, at least so far, as I am about 1/2 through). His thinking always challenges me, now I know what book to head for next. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Great review! I received a copy of this book for Christmas, but I haven't started it yet; I'm trying to tie up some loose ends with my reading list. :)

Sylvia Ney said...

What powerful "thoughts" - thank you for sharing.

Mike said...

I love John Piper's preaching, but for some reason (similar to reasons you stated about them going on too long...which is probably true of most authors), I just can't seem to pick up any more of his books. I read one and was bored pretty much to tears with it. I listened to one audio book and couldn't even finish that! So I just turned on one of his podcasts and my soul was refreshed! ahhhhhhh Like cold Coca Cola on a hot summer day!

Petra said...

I found the first three or four chapters most interesting, but somewhere in the middle of chapter 5 or 6 it became more of a chore than a joy to continue in it. I haven't picked it up since. Thanks for the encouragement to read it to the end. I will look for those gems and nuggets. Blessings!

kc bob said...

"bring the heart and the mind together in the worship"

Great way to put it Gregg!