Did Jesus Want Us to Think?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

According to Martin Lloyd-Jones, the answer is “yes.”  Below is a quote from Lloyd-Jones where he is commenting on Matt. 6:30, from the Sermon on the Mount.  He argues that Jesus’ words indicate that he expected his listeners to be actively using their minds to make logical deductions from the evidence around them.  The source of this quote is Tim Challies’ blog.

Faith according to our Lord’s teaching in this paragraph, is primarily thinking; and the whole trouble with a man of little faith is that he does not think. He allows circumstances to bludgeon him. …

We must spend more time in studying our Lord’s lessons in observation and deduction. The Bible is full of logic, and we must never think of faith as something purely mystical. We do not just sit down in an armchair and expect marvelous things to happen to us. That is not Christian faith. Christian faith is essentially thinking. Look at the birds, think about them, draw your deductions. Look at the grass, look at the lilies of the field, consider them. …

Faith, if you like, can be defined like this: It is a man insisting upon thinking when everything seems determined to bludgeon and knock him down in an intellectual sense. The trouble with the person of little faith is that, instead of controlling his own thought, his thought is being controlled by something else, and, as we put it, he goes round and round in circles. That is the essence of worry. … That is not thought; that is the absence of thought, a failure to think.

  • Boz

    Are you concerned that your encouragement will cause some christians to realise that things such as the jonah/fish story, walking on water, and bodily ressurection didn’t literally occur as written?

  • Bill Pratt

    Actually just the opposite. The more I have learned and thought about the nature of God, the more those things seem quite reasonable to me. I would expect the same from other Christians.

  • faithoffathers

    I largely agree with the things you are saying. But I have a major difference in that I would suggest that action is inherent in faith. To me, the word “trust” is interchangeable with “faith.”

    In this sense, it is easy to say “I trust you.” But that statement is meaningless unless that trust is exercized. I would argue that acting upon a persons knowledge is what exercizes and strengthens faith. “The devils believe also and tremble.” The difference between those devils and the faithful is that the faithful follow- they act on what they know. The devils do not.


  • Boz

    In an earlier post, you explained the age of the universe ~14b years, and noted that the literal 6-day creation of the universe is shown to be false by this scientific understanding. Why do you not do the same thing for, eg, the jonah story, or water-to-wine, given that it is impossible to live inside a whale/fish?

  • FOF,

    I think what you are addressing is the difference between knowledge and faith. Knowledge by itself does not save… faith does. Knowledge is not a sufficient condition for faith, but it is a necessary condition; for without it, one would not know what to place their faith in.

    The demons have knowledge, but have not chosen to use that knowledge and place their trust/faith in Christ. This a matter of will.



  • Bill Pratt

    I am not saying that the Bible claims that the universe was created in 6 days, but science proves it was created in 14 billion years. I am saying that there are several possible literal interpretations of Genesis, some of which allow for a longer period of time than 6 days. Whether it is 6 days or 14 billion years, the creation of the universe out of nothing is one of the greatest miracles that ever occurred. If God can create the vast universe we see, then allowing Jonah to live in a whale a few days or Jesus to change water to wine is trivial. The texts seem to indicate that these things did indeed happen, that they are historical occurrences, and clearly God can make them happen. Therefore, I have no trouble believing they happened.

  • Boz

    “The texts seem to indicate that these things did indeed happen, that they are historical occurrences, and clearly God can make them happen. Therefore, I have no trouble believing they happened.”

    The bible says it therefore it is true? You are also encouraging people to think logically about the evidence around us. This is contradictory.

    One of the most striking examples of this contradiction is the noah’s flood story. For example, where did noah find penguins and polar bears while loading his ark in palestine?

  • Bill Pratt

    The Bible never says that Noah put penguins and polar bears on the ark. Not sure why you think that.

    My argument is not that the Bible says it, so it must be true. My argument is that once you come to accept who God is and that he can supernaturally intervene into the physical world, these miracles you cite are easy to believe. If you do not believe that a God exists who can supernaturally intervene into the physical world, then these miracles seem impossible. I assume that’s why you keep saying they are impossible, because you don’t believe such a God exists.

  • Boz

    “The Bible never says that Noah put penguins and polar bears on the ark. Not sure why you think that.”

    because the bible says that there were 2(7?) of every kind of animal on the ark.

    I agree that once a person accepts the Christian God and its properties, small things like miracles are very easy to accept; one can just say that the Christian God did it.

    I dislike that position, as it can be used to support any supernatural position of every religion.
    Why does it rain? Xamaba makes it rain.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Boz,
    There are different views on which animals Noah took on the ark. Some believe that Noah only took animals that were local because the flood was regional. Others believe that Noah did take animals from all over the earth, but that there were far fewer kinds of animals than what we see today and that God would have supernaturally transported them to the ark to be loaded. Whatever the case, there is no problem once you understand that God is all-powerful.

    You say that you dislike the position, but what you should be asking yourself is not whether you dislike it, but whether it is true. There is plenty of evidence for the existence of a supernatural creator-God for those who care to look into it.