Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Book Review -- Craig Keener's The Mind of the Spirit: Paul's Approach to Transformed Thinking

The Mind of the Spirit: Paul’s Approach to Transformed Thinking

by Craig S. Keener: Baker Academic 2016. 402 pages.

Paperback: $29.99 

Professor Craig Keener’s stated purpose in writing this book is to show how, for the Apostle Paul, Word and Spirit “are inextricably bound together,” and that the life of the mind is not innately opposed to the moving of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Spirit often works through the mind of the believer, not solely apart from rational cognitive processes (contra some in the Pentecostal/Charismatic camp, who emphasize the Spirit’s bypassing of human thought processes).

As with all of Dr. Keener’s works, this book is well-researched. The list of abbreviations alone occupies 22 pages, covering ancient Greek and Latin works, Jewish sources (Josephus, Philo, Dead Sea Scrolls, Mishnaic and Talmudic texts, and other rabbinical works), Christian texts (New Testament and Apostolic fathers), and other ancient, medieval, and modern sources. The bibliography runs for 46 pages, while the indices of subjects, authors and names, Scripture citations, and other ancient sources occupies another 76 pages. It is important when reading this book to read not only the main text, but also the footnotes, which provide (in addition to source references) key explanations and insights as well. Keener has done a thorough job of examining the relationship between right thinking and right living.