I recognize that the preacher was equating the head with the brain, but what did he mean by the heart? Certainly, not that physical pump within our chests that circulates the blood?
I came to realize that the head or brain represented the mind while the heart seemed to represent the emotions. I still occasionally hear or read this sort of thing in sermons and devotional literature.
But this sort of dichotomy just isn’t true! And I believe it’s a major factor in the “dumbing down” of much of Christianity.
Now I realize that when I get on this soapbox I am sounding like a curmudgeon, but wiser and godlier men than I have said things like this in the past.
“There is, unfortunately, a feeling in some quarters today that there is something innately wrong about learning, and that to be spiritual one must also be stupid. This tacit philosophy has given us in the last half century a new cult within the confines of orthodoxy; I call it the Cult of Ignorance. It equates learning with unbelief and spirituality with ignorance, and, according to it, never the twain shall meet. This is reflected in a wretchedly inferior religious literature, a slap-happy type of religious meeting, and a grade of Christian song so low as to be positively embarrassing.”
-- Dr. A. W. Tozer, May, 1952
“An outstanding fact of recent Church history is the appalling growth of ignorance in the Church … the logical and inevitable result of the false notion that Christianity is a life and not also a doctrine; if Christianity is not a doctrine then of course teaching is not necessary to Christianity.”
-- J. Gresham Machen, 1923
Where does this sort of (non) thinking come from? I believe it is partially due to a misunderstanding of the Old Testament in our English Bibles. The Hebrew of the Old Testament had no word that was the equivalent of our word “mind.” Rather, it used the word LEB or LEBEB, “heart” to refer to the whole inner man, including the intellect, emotions and will. Many modern translations translate this word as “mind,” but I believe the KJV translation “heart” has been affecting our thinking to this day.
Fortunately our New Testament was written in Greek which has at least a half dozen words for the mind and/or thought processes, as well as the word heart (kardia).
Look at the Shema, the great commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5 (Hebrew) demanding complete love from the total person: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
One text of the Septuagint (the Greek translation – ca. 200+ BC) substitutes the word “mind” (dianoia) for the word “heart.”
When we get to the New Testament we find Jesus quoting the text thus: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). He has added a word for mind to the description of the requirement for total love.
So when we come to faith in Christ, we don’t kiss our brains goodbye! Rather, living the Christian life requires mental effort!
Paul seemed to feel that it was important for his readers to think! Among his favorite words was the word phroneo (or some form of the word) which could be simply translated “think,” as I have translated below:
“For I say … to everyone … not to overthink beyond what he ought to think, but to think soberthinking” (Romans 12:3).
“When I was a child … I used to think like a child” (1 Corinthians 13:11).
“ … think the same thing … having the same thinking” (Philippians 2:2).
“Think this among yourselves” (Philippians 2:5).
“Let us, as many as are mature think this, and if anyone thinks differently … “ (Philippians 4:15).
“Think on the things above … (Colossians 3:2).
I do not believe that it is possible to live the Christian life without seriously engaging our minds. I know that there is a strong trend toward “doing” today, and that’s good. James tells us we are to “become doers of the word and not hearers only” (2:22), but this is not an either/or proposition. I believe that we need to engage our minds while -- even before -- we get involved in Christian ministries.