Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling, By James W. Sire
Habits of the Mind
  • Length: 264 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: April 05, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4877
  • ISBN: 9780830848775

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A Christianity Today Book Award Winner

What does it mean to love God with your mind? Can the intellectual life be a legitimate Christian calling?

In this deeply personal book, James Sire brings wit and wisdom to bear on these questions. He draws from his own experience and the life of John Henry Newman to explore how to think well for the glory of God and the sake of his kingdom. Habits of the Mind challenges you to avoid one of the greatest pitfalls of intellectual life: the temptation to separate being from knowing. Sire shows how to cultivate intellectual virtues and disciplines—habits of the mind—that will strengthen you in pursuit of your calling. 

Thinking well is integral to acting righteously. Sire offers assurance that intellectual life can be a true calling for Christians: because Jesus was the smartest man who ever lived, you can and should accept the challenge to think with more accuracy, wisdom, humility, and passion. This classic work is now available as part of the IVP Signature Collection, which features special editions of iconic books in celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of InterVarsity Press.

"Few contemporary evangelical writers have so profitably explored the meaning and implications of the Christian worldview and the Christian mind as has Jim Sire. Now his wise, well-informed, and witty work Habits of the Mind puts us even further in his debt. His profound ruminations on the nature, purpose, responsibilities, and feel of the Christian intellect delve deeply into Scripture and draw richly from history."

Douglas Groothuis, professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary, author of Christian Apologetics

"Over the last twenty-five years, no one has written so widely and helpfully about the challenge facing Christian students as has James Sire. Page upon page, year after year, he has set before a generation the meaning of the Christian faith—intellectually rich and profoundly true. Now in Habits of the Mind, one hears countless conversations and a lifetime of listening in this call to love what we believe, to live the truth even as we learn to probe and ponder it."

Steven Garber, author of Visions of Vocation

"This may be Dr. Sire's best book yet! He has introduced us to many fellow travelers on the road to wisdom who are great discoveries in themselves. He helpfully points us to the all-important links—mind and heart, passion for holiness and passion for truth—links that should be indissoluble, but alas are not, between knowing truth and obeying God."

Terry Morrison, director emeritus of Faculty Ministries, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

Read an Excerpt


1. Confessions of an Intellectual Wannabe
2. John Henry Newman as an Intellectual
3. The Perfection of the Intellect
4. How Thinking Feels: What Is an Intellectual?
5. The Moral Dimension of the Mind: What Is a Christian Intellectual?
6. Perfecting the Intellect: The Intellectual Virtues
7. Perfecting the Intellect: The Intellectual Disciplines
8. Thinking by Reading
9. Jesus the Reasoner
10. The Responsibility of a Christian Intellectual


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James W. Sire

James W. Sire (1933–2018) was a widely-respected apologist, author, and lecturer who served for more than thirty years as senior editor at InterVarsity Press. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the seminal apologetics title The Universe Next Door, which was first published in 1976 and has sold over 350,000 copies in five editions and has been translated into eighteen foreign languages. Sire's teaching and books often covered the concepts of worldview and Christian apologetics. His many books include The Universe Next Door, Apologetics Beyond Reason, Beginning with God, Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail, and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.