Stir You Up
2 Peter 1:13 (ESV) — I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder
John Owen was an English pastor and theologian in the 1600s. Many consider him the greatest English-speaking theologian to ever live. His writings pierce deeply into different theological subjects raised from the Scriptures. One of the things he wrote about was the nature of the soul. Owen describes the soul as consisting of three faculties: the mind, the will, and the affections. Each faculty contributes to what we call “the soul.” Of these three, Owen says the mind is the seat and anchor. Why? Because what the mind thinks and believes should be the source that animates both the will and the affections.
Our passage today hints at this reality. Peter wrote to believers scattered throughout the ancient world by persecution. He spends time describing the gospel to them and their hope in Christ. He then says, “I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder.”
Notice that Peter’s conviction is that as long as he’s alive, he saw it as his role to minister to the church. He wants to encourage them. But in particular, look at what he said. He wants to “stir up.” What is he speaking of? These are the affections. He wants to stir up their joy, love, hope, and zeal for Christ. To stir them up means to fan them into flames. He sought to increase their affections. But how? By way of reminder. He appeals to their minds with truth. By calling out the truth and reminding them of the things Christ has done, as revealed in the Scriptures, he stirs up their love and affections for Christ.
Just as Owen indicated, the mind becomes a gateway to the affections. The way we think directly shapes how we feel. This is why it is vital for us to read and know the Scriptures. We should study theology and seek to know the truth. Why? Not just so we can check a box or impress our friends in Bible trivia. No, we want to know the truth because the truth stirs our affections for Christ.
We are helped in loving God more
when we love Him in truth.
Study the Word, friends.
Strive to grow in your
theological knowledge and you
will find your affections
stirred to love Him more.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does John Owen believe the mind and thoughts shape the affections and emotions?
- What does the passage teach us about how our affections are stirred?
- How can you purposefully pursue greater theological knowledge and growth?
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