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Desiring God

The book. He cites as instrumental for him an early professor ___ Fuller, who showed him the value of digging for gold as opposed to merely raking up leaves.

Renewing of your Mind and How to Have it

  • Piper doesn't pre-meditate whether he should do what he does. Everything happens as spillover from how the heart really is. You don't have time to consult lists of DO's and DON'T's! Focus on deep heart transformation.
  • Transformed does not mean switching from the DO/DON'T list of the flesh to the DO/DON'T list of God, it's the deep transformation of the Spirit.


The Life of the Mind and the Love of God

  • Piper is very Bible focused. Even saying that it's disappointing that we think hearing from God randomly is better than hearing His words from the Bible every day!
    • The great need of our time is for people to experience the living reality of God by hearing his word personally and transformingly in Scripture. Something is incredibly wrong when the words we hear outside Scripture are more powerful and more affecting to us than the inspired word of God.
  • Different readers will doubtless find different aspects of Piper's exposition most arresting, but I came away especially provoked to meditate by his efforts to fathom two passages, which I have also pondered. One is Luke 10:21, where Jesus says that God has “hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.” Piper's careful exegesis shows convincingly that Jesus' words are meant to promote humility in the use of all gifts, including intelligence, rather than to deny the intellect. The other passage is 1 Corinthians 1:20, where the apostle Paul says that God has “made foolish the wisdom of the world.” Again, careful exegesis shows that the intent of the passage is to differentiate between wisdom used to exalt the creature and wisdom employed to honor the Creator. This conclusion is later summarized in one of Piper's many striking phrases: “The cross is the continental divide between human wisdom and divine wisdom.”
    • We shall see if Piper is not telling the whole story.


  • Proverbs 2 and 2 Timothy 2, what were they again?
  • The point of Christian learning is to understand God’s two books— Scripture and the world—and, with that understanding, to glorify God. The pages before you communicate that point very well. Pick them up, read them, test them by the Scriptures, reflect on their portrait of a loving God. In a word, think about it.


  • “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 this book will help 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 <tablet/computer app craving>, and postmod- ern Jell-O juggling.”
  • “The upshot is that 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.”
    • What serves the good of man?
  • “And since loving man means ultimately helping him see and savor God in Christ forever, it is profoundly right to say all thinking, all learning, all education, and all research is for the sake of knowing God, loving God, and showing God. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).
    • Whew…looking forward to reading this

Clarifying the Aim of this book

  • <Going into pastoral ministry is not meant to be for everyone, but is best for him> It seemed to me then that these things—thinking and feeling and doing—would perhaps find a better balance in the church than in school. By “better” I mean a balance that would fit my gifts, and God’s call, and people’s needs, and the purposes of God for this world. I think I did the right thing. But I don’t mean it would be right for everybody.
  • Thinking, without prayer, without the Holy Spirit, without obedience, without love, will puff up and destroy (1 Cor. 8:1). But thinking under the mighty hand of God, thinking soaked in prayer, thinking carried by the Holy Spirit, thinking tethered to the Bible, thinking in pursuit of more reasons to praise and proclaim the glories of God, thinking in the service of love—such thinking is indispensable in a life of fullest praise to God.
  • This book promises a lot! So what I want to do in this book is take you with me into the Bible itself to see how God has ordered this act of thinking in relation to other crucial acts in life. How does it relate to our believing, and worshiping, and living in this world? Why are there so many warn- ings about “knowledge” (1 Tim. 6:20), and “the wisdom of this world” (1 Cor. 3:19), and “philosophy” (Col. 2:8), and the “debased mind” (Rom. 1:28), and “the wise and understanding” who can’t see (Luke 10:21), and those whose understanding is darkened (Eph. 4:18)?

Deep Help from a Dead Friend

  • The both-and plea of this book <knowing God truly and loving God duly> is not a mere personal prefer- ence of mine. It is rooted in the nature of God’s Trinitarian existence and in how he has created us to glorify him with mind and heart.
  • Only because Jonathan Edwards said it?!
  • And, 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 sus- tained by true views of God for who he really is. That is mainly what the mind is for.

Clarifying the meaning of Thinking

Reading as Thinking

  • While all of God’s creation serves to reveal him in some way, he has willed that the clearest and most authoritative knowledge of him this side of heaven come through his written Word, the Bible. Citation Needed
    • The Bible is the main place that we come to know God, and the Bible is a book, and a book requires thinking. * So it is with piano playing, and fly casting, and throwing a ball, and knitting, and learning a foreign language, and reading great books. At one point these tasks were all difficult and awkward. 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. There are hundreds of connections and meanings and implications in the Bible that do not leap off the page at first reading—at least not for me. I have to slow down and start asking questions about the words and the connections. That is, thinking has to become intentional.

Chapter 4: Mental Adultery is no Escape

  • Pharisees had hard hearts, not the inability to think. They were adulterous
    • And their evil hearts disorder their rational powers and make them morally incapable of reasoning rightly about Jesus.
    • Yikes, don't understand / agree with yet.
  • in 2 Timothy 2:7 Paul says, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything“. Not either-or, but both-and

Chapter 5: Coming to Faith Through Thinking

  • NEED TO RE-READ. (and re-listen to Pastor Darryl's statement at the end of Veritas)
    • His statement was: we use logic to help convince people, but the Spirit actually convicts people.
  • So I conclude that we must use our minds and we must know

that the use of our minds is not enough….

  • But as we use all our renewed mental powers for Christ, we must pray with Paul that the Holy Spirit would attend the preaching and hearing of the gospel. We must pray that the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” would shine in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Only when that happens will true faith be awakened and true Christians be created who say, “I count everything as loss because of the sur- passing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8).

Chapter 6: Love For God: Treasuring God with All Your Mind

Chapter 7: Jesus Meets The Relativists

  • This is what we saw in chapter 4. People could draw true infer- ences from morning and evening skies but would not use that same reasoning process to discern who Jesus was (Matt. 16:1–4). They wanted safety on the seas. But they did not want to know Jesus for who he was. So their minds drew true conclusions from the weather because their skin was at stake. They loved their physical safety. But they claimed to have too little evidence to know the Son of God. He was too threatening to their desires.

So what has become of the mind and its handmaid, language, here in Matthew 21:23–27? The mind has become the nimble, dodg- ing slave of the priests’ and elders’ passions. And language does the tricky work of covering up the corruption. Truth is irrelevant here in guiding what they say. It doesn’t matter whether John’s baptism is from heaven or from man. Truth does not matter. What matters is that we not be shamed and that we not be harmed. So we will use language to cover our indifference to truth and our allegiance to the gods of pride and comfort; and we will say, “We do not know.”

Chapter 8: The Immorality of Relativism

  • Relativism enables pride to put on humble clothes and parade through the street. But don’t be mistaken. Relativism chooses every turn, every pace, every street, according to its own autonomous pref- erences, and submits to no truth. We will serve our generation well by exposing the prideful flesh under these humble clothes.

Chapter 9: Facing the Challenge of Anti-Intellectualism

  • Wow, lots of big name pastors in here not upholding rigorous thinking.
  • Piper's main point is that: a logical presentation of the gospel of Christ is like wire along which the electricity of spiritual power runs. Wires do not make lights go on; electricity does. But in the providence of God, electricity runs through wires. And in the design of God, the use of our minds in knowing, ordering, and presenting the truth of Christ is the normal way that the eyes of the blind are opened and belief in Jesus is awakened.
    • Very much in line with Pastor Darryl. We help convince and the Spirit convicts.

Chapter 10: You Have Hidden These Things

  • Conclusion: Wisdom is important, despite what this verse seems to say. The same word for wise was used in other parts of the NT to refer to disciples, so Jesus must be referring to something else, the character of these so-called “wise” people. Piper say Jesus is talking about the proud, those who are utterly helpless like children.

Chapter 11: In The Wisdom Of God, the World did not know God through Wisdom

  • Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:20–24

  • Conclusion: The point here is that 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.
    • Perrty deep if you ask me…
  • God’s wisdom in designing things this way not only brings him joy but also leads to the greatest joy of his people. Their greatest joy is joy in God.
  • Therefore, the warnings that Jesus and Paul have sounded in Luke 10:21 and 1 Corinthians 1:21 are not warnings against care- ful, faithful, rigorous, coherent thinking in the pursuit of God. In fact, the way Jesus and Paul spoke these very warnings compels us to engage in serious thinking even to understand them. And what we find is that pride is no respecter of persons—the serious thinkers may be humble. And the careless mystics may be arrogant.

Chapter 12: The Knowledge That Loves

  • Conclusion: The lesson from 1 Corinthians 8:1–3 and Romans 10:1–4 is that thinking is dangerous and indispensable. Without a profound work of grace in the heart, knowledge—the fruit of thinking—puffs up. But with that grace, thinking opens the door of humble knowledge. And that knowledge is the fuel of the fire of love for God and man. If we turn away from serious thinking in our pursuit of God, that fire will eventually go out.

Chapter 13: All Scholarship is for the Love of God and Man

  • Conclusion: When all the cautions have been heard—especially those concerning pride—the fact remains: God has revealed himself in his Word and in his world. He means to be known through the revelation of both, because he means to be loved fully. Moreover, when the psalmist ponders the place God has given to man in the created world, he marvels, “You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Ps. 8:6). Why has God done this? He did not do it to tempt us to idolatry by the beauty of what he has made. That came in with sin (Rom. 1:23). He did it because more of his glory would be known and treasured when seen through the prism of his creation.

Appendix on Founding Bethlehem Institute

  • Really inspiring
  • What was part on why we are doing it as opposed to feeding children in Africa?

Otha stuff

  • What is the “wisdom of man” vs. the “wisdom of God”?
  • Why did God make the Earth knowable / understandable then?
  • Are we to make airplanes and iPhones? I don't
  • Re-read the Conclusion chapter and the Appendix (sermon on the founding of Bethlehem Seminary)
john_piper.txt · Last modified: 2017/09/15 17:58 (external edit)