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“Now may the God who gives endurance and comfort grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus.”—ROMANS 15:5.
The God who is “himself” long-suffering, who bears patiently with the errors and faults of his children, and who can “give” patience, may he give you of his Spirit, that you may bear patiently the infirmities and errors of each other. The example of God here, who bears long with his children, and is not angry soon at their offenses, is a strong argument for why Christians should bear with each other. If God bears long and patiently with “our” weaknesses, “we” ought to bear with each other. God gives or imparts consolation. To be of the same mine (like-minded) means simply to think the same thing; that is, to be united, to keep from divisions and strifes. According to Christ Jesus means according to the example and spirit of Christ; his was a spirit of peace. Or, according to what his religion (Christianity) requires. The name of Christ is sometimes thus put for his religion; 2 Cor. 11:4; Eph. 4:20. If all Christians would imitate the example of Christ, and follow his instructions, there would be no contentions among them. He earnestly sought in his parting prayer their unity and peace; John 17:21-23.
1 Corinthians 2:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because they are examined spiritually.
But the natural man – ψυχικὸς, δὲ ἄνθρωπος psuchikos de anthrōpos. The word “natural” here stands opposed evidently to “spiritual.” It denotes those who are governed and influenced by the natural instincts; the animal passions and desires, in opposition to those who are influenced by the Spirit of God. It refers to unregenerate people; but it has also not merely the idea of their being unregenerate, but that of their being influenced by the animal passions or desires. See the note on 1Co_15:44. The word “sensual” would correctly express the idea. The word is used by the Greek writers to denote that which man has in common with the brutes – to denote that they are under the influence of the senses, or the mere animal nature, in opposition to reason and conscience. See 1 Thess. 5:23. Here it denotes that they are under the influence of the senses, or the animal nature, in opposition to being influenced by the Spirit of God.
Whitby understands by it the man who rejects revelation, the man who is under the influence of carnal wisdom. The word occurs but six times in the New Testament; 1 Cor. 15:44; 46; James 3:15; Jude 1:19. In 1 Cor. 15:44; 46, it is rendered “natural,” and is applied to the body as it exists before death, in contradistinction from what shall exist after the resurrection – called a spiritual body. In James 3:15, it is applied to wisdom: “This wisdom – is earthly, sensual, devilish.” In Jude 1:19, it is applied to sensual persons, or those who are governed by the senses in opposition to those who are influenced by the Spirit: “These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” The word here evidently denotes those who are under the influence of the senses; who are governed by the passions and the animal appetites, and natural desires; and who are uninfluenced by the Spirit of God. And it may be observed that this was the case with the great mass of the pagan world, even including the philosophers.
Does not accept – οὐ δέχεται ou dechetai, does not “embrace” or “comprehend” them. That is, he rejects them as folly; he does not perceive their beauty or their wisdom; he despises them. He loves other things better. A man of intemperance does not receive or love the arguments for temperance; a man of licentiousness, the arguments for chastity; a liar, the arguments for truth. So a sensual or worldly man does not receive or love the arguments for religion.
The things of the Spirit of God – The doctrines which are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the things which pertain to his influence on the heart and life. The things of the Spirit of God here denote all the things which the Holy Spirit produces.
He is not able to understand them, because they are examined spiritually – Hundreds of millions of Christians use this verse as support that without the “Holy Spirit,” we can fully understand God’s Word. They would argue that without the “Spirit” the Bible is nothing more than foolish nonsense to the reader. What we need to do before, arriving at the correct meaning of what Paul meant, is grasp what he meant by his use of the word “understand,” as to what is ‘foolish.’ In short, “the things of the Spirit of God” are the “Spirit” inspired Word of God. The natural man sees the inspired Word of God as foolish, and “he is not able to understand them.”
Paul wrote, “But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.” What did Paul mean by this statement? Did he mean that if the Bible reader did not have the “Spirit” helping him, he would not be able to grasp the correct meaning of the text? Are we to understand Paul as saying that without the “Spirit,” the Bible and its teachings are beyond our understanding?
We can gain a measure of understanding as to what Paul meant, by observing how he uses the term “foolishness” elsewhere in the very same letter. At 1 Corinthians 3:19, it is used in the following way, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” This verse helps us to arrive at the use in two stages: (1) the verse states that human wisdom is foolishness with God, (2) and we know that the use of foolishness here does not mean that God cannot understand (or grasp) human wisdom. The use is that He sees human wisdom as ‘foolish’ and rejects it as such.
Therefore, the term “foolishness” of 1 Corinthians 3:19 is not in reference to not “understanding,” but as to one’s view of the text, its significance, or better yet, lack of significance, or lack of value. We certainly know that God can understand the wisdom of the world, but condemns it as being ‘foolish.’ The same holds true of 1 Corinthians 1:20, where the verbal form of foolishness is used, “Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” Thus, we have the term “foolishness” being used before and after 1 Corinthians 2:14, (1:20; 3:19). In all three cases, we are dealing with the significance, the value being attributed to something.
Thus, it seems obvious that we should attribute the same meaning to our text in question, 1 Corinthians 2:14. In other words, the Apostle Paul, by his use of the term “foolishness,” is not saying that the unbeliever is unable to understand, to grasp the Word of God. If this were the case, why would we ever share the Word of God, the gospel message with an unbeliever? Unbelievers can understand the Word of God; however, unbelievers see it as foolish, having no value or significance. The resultant meaning of chapters 1-3 of 1 Corinthians is that the unbelieving world of mankind can understand the Word of God. However, they view it as foolish (missing value or significance). God, on the other hand, understands the wisdom of the world of mankind but views it foolish (missing value or significance). Therefore, in both cases, the information is understood or grasped; however, it is rejected because of the party considering it, believes it lacks value or significance.
We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and our spirit, or mental disposition, needs to be attuned to God and His Spirit through study and application. Now, if our mental disposition is not in tune with the Spirit, we will not come away with the right answer. As Ephesians shows, we can grieve the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.
But he who is spiritual – The man who is enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God in contrast from him who is under the influence of the senses only.
Appraises – Greek and mean “Discerns.” The same word as in the previous verse. It means that the spiritual man has a discernment of these truths in regard to which the sensual man was blind and ignorant because he seems them as foolish.
All things – Not absolutely all things; or not that he is omniscient; but that he has a view of those things to which the apostle had reference – that is, to the things which are revealed to man by the Holy Spirit by way of God’s Word.
Yet he himself appraised by no one – That is, his feelings, principles, views, hopes, fears, joys, cannot be fully understood and appreciated by any natural or sensual man. He does not comprehend the principles which actuate him; he does not enter into his joys; he does not sympathize with him in his feelings. This is a matter of simple truth and universal observation. The reason is added in the following verse, that as the Christian is influenced by the Lord and as the natural man does not know him, so he cannot know him who is influenced by him; that is the Christian.
1 Corinthians 2:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct him – This passage is quoted from Isa_40:13. The interrogative form is a strong mode of denying that anyone has ever known the mind of the Lord. The argument of Paul is this, “No one can understand God. No one can fully comprehend his plans, his feelings, his views, his designs. No one by nature, under the influence of sense and passion, is either disposed to investigate his truths, or loves them when they are revealed. But the Christian is influenced by God. He has his Spirit. He has the mind of Christ; who had the mind of God. He sympathizes with Christ; he has his feelings, desires, purposes, and plans. And as no one can fully understand God by nature, so neither can he understand him who is influenced by God, and is like him; and it is not to be wondered at that he regards the Christian religion as folly and the Christian as a fool.
But we have the mind of Christ – The views, feelings, and temper of Christ. We are influenced by his Spirit.
The sinner does not perceive the beauty of the things as does the spiritual person. To all this beauty, he is blind. This is a sober and a most gloomy fact. Whatever may be the cause of it, the fact is undeniable and sad. It is so with the sensualist; with the people of avarice, pride, ambition, and licentiousness. The gospel is regarded as folly and is despised and scorned by the people of this world. This is true in all places, among all people, and at all times. To this, there are no exceptions in human nature, and over this, we should sit down and weep.
The reason for this is, that people love darkness, as they are mentally bent toward evil with a heart (inner person) that is treacherous. It is not that they are destitute of the natural faculties for loving God, for they have as strong native powers as those who become Christians. It is because they love sin – and this simple fact, carried out into all its bearings, will account for all the difficulties in the way of the sinner’s conversion. There is nothing else; and,
We see here the value of the influences of the Spirit. It is by this Spirit in the Word of God alone that the mind of the Christian is enlightened, sanctified, and comforted. It is by Him alone that he sees the beauty of the religion which he loves; it is by His influence alone that he differs from his fellow man. And no less important is it for the sinner. Without the influences of that Spirit, his mind will always be in darkness, and his heart will always hate the gospel. How anxiously, therefore, should he cherish His influences! How careful should he be not to grieve Him away!
There is a difference between Christians and other people. One is enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, the other not; one sees a beauty as a spiritual person, to the other it is folly; the one has the mind of Christ, the other has the spirit of the world; the one discerns the excellency of the plan of salvation, to the other all is darkness and folly. How could beings differ more in their moral feelings and views than do Christians and the people of this world?
The marks of a true Christian would be like the different lines that make up a person’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other person. The true Christians contain their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other person.
Are we sure that we are truly walking in the truth? What kind of self-examination is fitting for servants of God? The Apostle Paul exhorted the Christians at Corinth to “ examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves .” (2 Cor. 13:5) Why should Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians be of interest to us? We can do the same today. It will protect us from being uncertain as to whether we are walking in the truth. What standard do we have for testing whether we are in the faith, and why is that the perfect standard? If we are going to take a test to see whether we are truly in the faith, namely, truly walking with God, we must measure our conduct in light of the Word of God.
William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth .” (John 17:17) By identifying the Scriptures some of which actually say, “ You are my disciples if …,” we can know if we are truly Christian. A test that can actually tell us whether we are walking in the truth should never be based on emotionalism, but rather on Scripture. Do our words, our thoughts, our actions, our minds, our heart attitude harmonize with the Scriptures? Within this publication, we will be able to let the Word of God prove who we really are. Let us follow the Apostle Paul’s counsel, by testing ourselves to determine whether we are adhering to God’s Word.
The book EVIDENCE THAT YOU ARE TRULY CHRISTIAN will use the BIBLE ALONE to identify the marks of those who are TRULY CHRISTIAN. Paul commanded that we do this, so if we refuse to test ourselves against these Biblical markers is to disobey the inspired Word of God. Paul commanded that we EXAMINE OURSELVES.
By Albert Barnes & Edward D. Andrews
 “The Greek word ginosko (“to understand”) does not mean comprehend intellectually; it means to know by experience. The unsaved obviously do not experience God’s Word because they do not welcome it. Only the regenerate have the capacity to welcome and experience the Scriptures, by means of the Holy Spirit.”― (Zuck 1991, 23)
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