Blog Posts on Life of the Mind

How Should We Think About Self-Worth?

Jonathan Parnell

What is self-worth? And whatever it is, do you have the right kind?

Back in 1976, during his college teaching ministry, John Piper was interviewed about the then burgeoning talk of self-esteem. Responding to nine questions, he gives a biblical assessment of what it means to be human and have value.

Read the entire interview.

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For a preview, here are the questions with short excerpts of Pastor John's…

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Seminary: Life or Death?

David Mathis

Seminary is dangerous. Yes, the fragrance is to life for many. But for others — far too many others — the aroma is to death.

Names changed to protect the guilty, Don Carson tells the story of an “Ernest Christian” in the introduction to his infamous Exegetical Fallacies. Ernest was converted as a senior in high school, grew in leaps and bounds through a campus ministry while in college,…

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"Bring the Books With" — A New Recommended List

David Mathis

As you head back to school, or out to visit a friend or family member—or perhaps as you leave the National Conference in Minneapolis—take a cue from the apostle Paul and bring some good books with (which is a quintessentially Minnesotan way of saying it).

The Time Is Short

In 2 Timothy, the grizzled gospel-carrier knows he’s nearing the end of his days on earth. “The time of my departure…

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We Don't Want to Live at Second Hand

Jonathan Parnell

Helmut Thielicke's A Little Exercise for Young Theologians was written for nascent theology students in the mid-twentieth century, but it really applies to us all now. In 1959 the academic institutions of these "young theologians" introduced them to theological truths that are only clicks away from us today. The accessibility we have in the West to theological resources is astounding. And it's also dangerous.

The mind moves a little faster…

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Correct Thinking About Jesus' Commands Is Not Obedience to Them

Jonathan Parnell

In the Introduction to Pastor John's 1979 monograph, Love Your Enemies, he confesses his concern about the hard work of academic reading. He writes:

Every scholarly work on the New Testament is preponderantly an intellectual exercise. The work of thinking which the production of a book like this demands from the author is demanded also from its reader. But because of the nature of the reality with which this…

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Jesus, Help Us Think

Jonathan Parnell

Throughout the history of ideas there have been sprouts of thought that claim the mind to have a naturally transcendent capacity, dwarfing the commonality of our other faculties, never leading us astray.

This is not so, though its persuasion is terribly subtle. Thinking can be easy and regular such that we often drift from one project to the next, presuming we'll gather all the data and start down the right…

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Three Cheers for Not Hiding God in Scholarship

John Piper

David Lyle Jeffrey and Gregory Maillet just published Christianity and Literature: Philosophical Foundations and Critical Practice (IVP, 2011). The series preface (by Francis Beckwith and J. P. Moreland) contains this heartening exhortation to Christian scholars to stop hiding their belief in God.

They quote atheist philosopher Quentin Smith who says that one reason the university academic community has become increasingly secular is because “theists tend to compartmentalize their theistic beliefs…

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Thanking God for Bethlehem Seminary

John Piper

In September, 2009, we admitted the first class in the four-year program of Bethlehem Seminary. Here at the end of the year I want to give public thanks to God and take some of you with me into this vision. Not everybody. But some of you carry a special, God-given burden for the preparation of future generations of God-centered leaders.

Bethlehem has been training future pastors, teachers and missionaries…

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One Advantage of Reading Slowly

John Piper

The fact that hundreds of the pages of God’s inspired word are devoted to poetry moves me. One of the effects is to make me aware that God thinks the sound of language matters. 

God has blessed and humbled me with the inability to speed read. I read about the same speed that I talk. I hear what I read as I read it. For years I tried not to.…

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