Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Habits of the Mind.


Today's post will be somewhat different. In staying with our theme of the cultivation of the mind I'll list a few habits of the mind that I found extremely practical and rewarding in the book Think by John Piper.

The habits of the mind that I'll list apply to all objects in the world but most importantly to our study of the Bible.

I'll list several habits of the mind with a brief description of each.

Let my preface this list with these thoughts: All of our learning must be for the glory of God. We are to love God with all our minds. When our learning is not for God's glory it becomes an instrument of pride and human exaltation.

So the habits of the mind are:

  • Observation:
Learn to read slowly and observe rigorously and comprehensively always spending time on the details. Remember quick reading of many books will lead to bad habits of the mind. So read with rigorous observation and reflection.

  • Understanding:
The goal of reading is to understand what has been observed. Understanding is the discipline of thinking. In the understanding process the mind will wrestle with the traits and features of what has been observed. When we read the Bible our goal is to understand the mind of God through what the author's of the Bible intended to say. Our goal is to be able to say, " I understand what the author meant." We want his, not our thoughts and ideas."

  • Evaluating:
The basis for evaluating is certainly our own worldview---we as Christians believe that there is such a thing as truth and that truth can be known. So we evaluate fairly but we are not afraid to make judgements about the truth based on careful observation and understanding.

  • Feeling:
We as Christians need to feel properly about the things we learn from the world and in particular from the pages of the Bible. As Piper notes, " If [we] observed and understood a terrible reality like hell, [our] feelings should be fear and horror and compassion. If [we] observed and understood a wonderful reality like heaven, then [our] feelings should be joy and hope and longing."

  • Applying:
Applying what we have observed and understood and evaluated makes all learning practical. We need wisdom to be able to apply knowledge to our everyday living. As believers we can't grow in our life with God if we don't apply the truths we learned to our lives.

  • Expressing:
As piper notes, " we aim to enable and to motivate the student to express in speech and writing and deeds what he has seen, understood, evaluated, and felt, and applied." It is absolutely essential that we as believers develop the ability to communicate on all levels. Communication is the medium through which we get out the message of the Gospel to the world, it is also how we work to build up the body of Christ.

Christian work to build these habits of the mind into your life for the glory of God.


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