Blog Posts on Life of the Mind

C.S. Lewis on Why to Seek an Author's Intention

John Piper

In answering the question why we should care about an author’s intention, C. S. Lewis gives two answers in his book An Experiment in Criticism.

"Why," they ask, "should I turn from a real present experience—what the poem means to me, what happens to me when I read it—to inquire about the poet’s intentions or reconstructions, always uncertain of what it may have meant to his contemporaries?"

There seem…

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Not Just for Theological Uber Geeks

John Piper

No, no, no. My friend, Mark Driscoll. No, no, no.

Yesterday you tweeted and facebooked to a gazillion people:

Only the hardcore uber geek theological types who love footnotes will care, but John Sailhamer's The Meaning of the Pentateuch & Andreas Kostenberger's A Theology of John's Gospels & Letters were just released. For both of you - enjoy.

Emphatically, no. To all pastors and serious readers of the Old Testament—geek,…

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A Plea for Heart Devotions and Head Study

John Piper

This is a plea that all of you would build into your lives both personal devotions and purposeful study of God’s word.

Both:

Daily prayerful meditation seeking personal application of God’s word to your own heart and life.

And:

Regular study in a class or with a book where the (living or dead) teacher has seen more than you have and can give you insight in 30 minutes that might…

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Kids' Books for Grown-ups

John Piper

Good children’s books are profitable for adults. C. S. Lewis put it like this:

I was therefore writing “for children” only in the sense that I excluded what I thought they would not like or understand; not in the sense of writing what I intended to be below adult attention. I may of course have been deceived, but the principle at least saves one from being patronizing. I never…

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Knowledge Increases Mystery

John Piper

From time to time I meet the objection that efforts to understand complex and mysterious doctrines in the Bible are unhelpful because they reduce mystery and therefore diminish wonder and worship.

There are at least two answers to this objection. The first is mine and the other is from Jonathan Edwards.

1. God is more honored by worship that rises from what we know about him than by worship that

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5 Tips for Clear Writing and Talking

John Piper

C. S. Lewis’ advice to children on writing is good advice to pastors on preaching, or anybody on talking.

  1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else.
  2. Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don't implement promises, but keep them.
  3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If…
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10 Resolutions for Mental Health

John Piper

On October 22, 1976, Clyde Kilby, who is now with Christ in Heaven, gave an unforgettable lecture. I went to hear him that night because I loved him. He had been one of my professors in English Literature at Wheaton College. He opened my eyes to more of life than I knew could be seen. O, what eyes he had! He was like his hero, C. S. Lewis, in this…

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