1 CORINTHIANS: Commentary  


Chapter two

Verses 6-16 The teaching and assimilation of Truth in the Christian Life

Verse 6

1. Yet we do speak: de is used to continue the subject of communication, but introduces a new sphere.

A. Verses 1-5 primary reference to salvation information

B. Verses 6-16 reference is to truth for living the Christian life, and especially, that MYSTERY truth that is based on Christ's death and resurrection.


2. speak: laleo means to communicate, and as a present active indicative, it refers to the general principle of communication by the apostles to those of the church who hear and read.

3. Wisdom: sophia in the context refers to Mystery doctrine. Truth that relates to the successful 1st advent of Messiah and the results of that success. Ephesians 1:18

A. The confidence of his calling: Information about the New priestly body, the Church.

B. The wealth of the inheritance: about the eternal destiny of the Church.

C. The surpassing greatness of His power: about the intensification of the angelic conflict and the new power source for the believers victory in the conflict. John 12:31; Ephesians 6:12 (Plus the principle of John 18:36); Eph. 6:15-18


4. Among them that are perfect: teleios means perfect, completed, mature, full grown.

A. The verb form, teleioo, is used two times for the perfected state of the person who has trusted in Christ (Hebrews 10:14; 12:23).

B. Here, the adjective is used to indicate the believer in his perfect positional status in Christ.
The same principle is found in Colossians 2:10 using a different word (plaroo), which means to be fulfilled or filled up to completion.
Thus, "and you have been filled up in Christ."

C. Mystery doctrine is only for the believer and only the believer has the ability to understand it through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.



5. But not wisdom: sophia (no definite article) to refer to wisdom in general. The word but is, de, which indicates a mild contrast. The strong contrast comes in verse 7.

6. Of this age: aion, refers to the kosmos system with emphasis on its time duration. That time duration is the sphere of human history from Adam's fall until the end of the Millennium (unknown to us or to Satan but only to God).
Here, there is special focus on the PRESENT age or dispensation, even though the "wisdom" of the world is functional all throughout human history.
I suggest this because at verse 7 we have the phrase, "before the ages," which refers to the sphere of human history divided into the separate dispensations of God's administration of the gospel. CF. the plan of the ages at Ephesians 3:11.
See Topic: Dispensations

A. The word, aion, is used in connection with kosmos in Ephesians 2:2.

B. Satan is the God of this age in 2 Corinthians 4:4, but the ruler of this kosmos at John 12:31.

C. Wisdom refers to the sphere of wisdom that is mentioned in Colossians 2:8 as the elementary principles of the kosmos.

D. It includes the outline of knowledge found in 1 Corinthians 1:20

1. the wise: sophos, philosophical/religious wisdom

2. the scribe : learned in letters refers to academic wisdom.

3. the lawyer : This is the one who is wise in social issues.

E. At 1 Timothy 4:1 there are two categories mentioned.

1. deceitful spirits: this refers to human viewpoint, that which comes from man.

2. doctrines of demons: this refers to demon viewpoint, that which comes from Satan.

7. Nor of the rulers of this age: This is a specific reference to Satan and his angels. And again, with a present focus on THIS dispensation, even though these satanic rulers have been functional ever since the creation of the human race.
Eph. 6:12 lists their organized authority structure.

1 Tim. 4:1 mentions doctrine of demons.
Eph. 6:11 mentions the schemes of the Devil
2 Cor. 11:14 mentions Satan's counterfeit activity.
2 Cor. 10:4 mentions fortresses
1 Peter 5:8 speaks of Satan as a roaring lion.

8. Which are passing away: katargeo as a present passive participle.

A. The verb means to neutralize or render powerless; to abolish, wipe out, or set aside.

B. The present tense and passive voice, indicates a process set in operation against them that will reduce them to total ruin and wipe them out.

C. 1 John 2:17 views this process in comparison with the absolute existence of the believer.

D. The strategic blow that defeated Satan and the entire kosmic system he structured was made by Christ on the cross and was confirmed by the resurrection. Col. 2.15; Rom. 4.4

E. But it is God's will that Satan's authority continue until the 2nd advent, at which time the physical defeat will be carried out. Heb. 10:12-13

1. Defeat at armageddon: Revelation 20:1-3

2. Defeat at the end of the kingdom: 1 Cor. 15:24-25; Rev. 20:7-10.


F. And so, the defeat of Satan is viewed by Christ as a completed fact (John 12:31; 16:11) although carried out in stages.

G. And throughout the church age, God's wisdom in believers renders a temporal victory over the darkness viewpoint of the world system (1 Cor. 1:28; 2 Cor. 10:4-6) and we view him as inferior (1 John 4:4).

H. At Luke 10:18, Jesus proclaimed prophetically the preliminary stage of Satan's physical defeat. The victory over the viewpoint and power of Satan by the disciples demonstrated the future physical defeat which begins when Satan is kicked out of heaven at the midpoint of the 70th week (Rev. 12:9).


Verse 7

1. But: alla indicates a strong contrast to establish the difference between kosmic wisdom and the mystery wisdom based on Christ's victory on the cross.

2. we speak: laleo, as a present active indicative indicates the nature of the apostles' content as they communicate.

3. the wisdom of God: indicates source and therefore character.

4. in a mystery: indicates category, the mystery doctrines of the church age

5. even the hidden wisdom: apokrupto, as a perfect passive participle indicates the fact that these truths have been hidden from previous generations. Ephesians 3:3-5

6. Which God ordained: prooridzo means to mark out before, plan, determine; The aorist active indicative simply indicates a previous design from God. It could be translated as, which God pre-planned.

7. before the ages: pro to aion (plural) before the dispensations of the human race were put into operation, the entire progress of human history was foreknown and the progress of the Divine plan was pre-designed.

8. unto our glory: eis doxza + 2nd person plural pronoun (genitive)

A. This refers to promotion and blessing through union with Christ and possession of the eternal inheritance.

B. It also refers to promotion and blessing in time through perception and application of Divine truth.


Verse 8

1. Which none of the rulers of this age: Again, aion,  refers to the sphere of human history from the fall of Adam until the end of Messiah's earthly kingdom, but with that special focus on the "present" age of the church. The rulers are Satan and his angels as in verse 6.

2. Has understood: The perfect active indicative of ginosko plus the negative with the subject, indicates the fact that they did not know at any time in the past with the result that, right now they still do not understand the true reality of Christ's coup on the cross.

3. For if they had known: In this case the aorist active indicative of ginosko refers to the specific point of time when the Messiah was here on earth at the first advent. The 2nd class condition if, indicates that they did not know.

4. They would not have crucified: The aorist active indicative of stauroo refers to the specific point of time when Jesus was crucified.

A. Mystery doctrine amplifies Genesis 3:15 which is the first salvation promise and announces the future victory of Christ over Satan.

B. This victory was achieved on the cross. Colossians 2:15

C. Of course, if Satan had known the details, he would not have walked into the mouth of the defeat.

D. Mystery doctrine also demands the substitutionary death of the savior in order for salvation to be available to man.

E. So, EARTHLY rulers, who understood this would not have prevented the crucifixion because they would benefit from his death.

5. The Lord of glory:

A. from glory.: John 17:5, origin
B. of glory: John 1:14, manifestation
C. of glory: 1 Peter 1:21, exaltation
D. James 2:1, Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Glory.

Verse 9

1. But: alla explains the mystery nature of this wisdom.

2. just as it is written: grapho, as a perfect passive indicative is a common expression to indicate the FACT of previously written information that is applicable to the subject at hand. It could be rendered, "as it stands written."

A. This is a reference to Isaiah 64:4, which has direct reference to the generation of the 1st advent.

B. Therefore, it also has application to the mystery phase of the kingdom between the two advents.

C. This is not a quote from the passage but refers to the principles of the verse to the church age.

D. Isaiah 63:15-19 -- 64:12
This refers to Israel's wrong response while under national discipline during the time of the great tribulation (the time of Jacob's distress),
and still in rebellion against God, as can be seen by the nature of their expression to God (verse 17). This is the wrong response to the national discipline that they are under. The right response is recorded in Isaiah 64:1-12.

E. Isaiah 64:1-4
The people of the nation, during a time of crisis (either 70 AD or the great tribulation), plead with God to come down and deal with the enemy, just like (WHEN, v. 3) what He did at the Exodus (the deliverance from Egypt) in the past. Verse 4, then, records the idea that these enemies have no concept of such a God as this. It is this IDEA that Paul grabs to indicate that the spiritual enemies of God have no knowledge and no capacity to understand the things of God that relate to those who reverence Him (those who are believers).

The point is that both the people of the nation and Paul have in mind things that are only understandable to those who in God's plan; believers.

3. Things: In the context of Isaiah, it refers to all the benefits of Divine provision as found in the Word of God.

4. Eye and ear: no perception of truth because of negative volition. Matthew 13:14-15; Isaiah 6:8-13

5. not entered the heart: This refers to the result of having no perception. Since there is no perception through the eye and ear gate, there is nothing in the heart.

6. All that God has prepared: In the Corinthian context, this refers to First advent (mystery) truth based on the reality of Messiah's death and resurrection.

7. For those who love Him: This is a present active participle of agapao, which refers to the attitude of dedication to Divine design, which is evidenced by a diligent pursuit of truth.

A. It was available to all the nation of Israel if the would only accept it. Matthew 12:50, whoever; Matthew 23:37

B. But only a few were truly positive. Matthew 13:16


8. The provision: Romans 8:32; Ephesians 1:3; 2 Peter 1:3-4
This is talking about truth that God has provided for the believer.
This information is available to them all if they will only respond in faith-rest toward God's promises and truths for the Christian life.


Verse 10, Mystery doctrine is available to the Church.

1. but: this is the mild conjunction, de (as with the better mss), and indicates an alternate situation. On the one hand, you have the inability of the unbeliever and the people of THIS AGE, to understand God's special truths. On the other hand, you have the fact that these truths have been revealed to the apostles by the Spirit, and that they in turn, teach the church; individuals who are SPIRITUAL. Spiritual is a term that describes two realities. First, it is one who has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, and second, it is the one who is in fellowship with God through the practice of obedience and self-control.

2. To us: Those positive to the plan and character of God in contrast to those who are negative. This has specific reference to the apostles and prophets of the church (Ephesians 3:5).

It does not refer to all believers, for all believers are not the direct recipient of divine revelation from the Spirit. Although, many times, Paul uses the plural pronoun (us) to refer to all the members of the church, I suggest that this context is not such an example. The focus in this context, is that God reveals His NEW (mystery) truth to the apostles through the Spirit, and then the apostles (and prophets) TEACH others who are spiritual (Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 2:13.).

3. God has revealed: The aorist active indicative of apokalupto refers to revelation of mystery truth to the apostles and prophets as described in Ephesians 3:5.

4. Through the Spirit: the Holy Spirit as the guide to all truth that Jesus had yet to teach them (John 16:12-16). It is very probable that this promise from Jesus is given to the disciples ONLY. That is, only to those who would receive direct revelation from the Spirit in order to provide the new revelation to the church. This included those who would be given revelation gifts in the early church (apostle and prophet), of whom Paul is the foremost.

This promise is not for all believers. Nor is the promise of John 14:26.

But this only refers to the REVELATION function of the Spirit, not His presence in the church or in the hearts of every believer.

See Topic: HOLY SPIRIT: Indwelling

At the same time, it needs to be recognized that the Holy Spirit is involved with teaching believers as John explains at 1 John 2:27.

And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him
abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you;
but as His anointing teaches you about all things,
and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you,
you abide in Him.

5. For: This explains why the spirit is necessary for reception of this information. Knowledge of "these things" is totally beyond human abilities.

6. The Spirit searches: The verb, eraunao, means to search or examine. The searching of the Spirit is for the purpose of illuminating the things of God to those who are the recipients of the Spirit's revelation. The present active indicative is used to indicate the constant or universal character and function of the Spirit.

7. all things: This could apply to all aspects of knowledge, but the context seems to be focusing on the things of God in general (verse 10) and specifically, the new revelation pertinent to the church age.

8. even the depths of God: the deep things of God (bathos, plural) refers to the things that go far below the surface of knowledge about God and His system of human morality. It refers to the intricate details of his plan, especially as that plan has advanced through Messiah's victory on the cross.

Compare with Revelation 2:24, the deep things of Satan.


Verse 11

1. For: continues the explanation of the need for the revelation ministry of the Holy Spirit to the apostles.

2. who among men: members of the human race

3. knows: oida, as a perfect active indicative refers to functional knowledge in the area of normal human life ("the things of man").

4. Except the spirit of the man who is in him. This refers to the human spirit.

A. The human spirit is the entity in man which reflects the essence of the soul and is therefore the basis for all human activity
See Topic:

B. This is saying that no one knows what is in an individual person except the human spirit of that person which is in him.

C. Only as the human spirit reflects the essence of the soul do others see that person's character.

D. In the same way, no one knows the things of God except the Holy Spirit of God.

E. And therefore, we cannot know them unless God the Holy Spirit reveals them to us.

F. Now concerning non-mystery truth, the Holy Spirit reveals it to the human race. But then, once revealed, man's normal system of perception is employed for personal intake.

1. For the unbeliever, the convicting ministry of the Spirit is needed in order to discern the value of light viewpoint vs. darkness, and to enter into life through faith in Christ.

2. After salvation, perception and application of truth is based on volitional dedication to light standards as communicated both verbally and in writing.

3. This then is the function of normal human perception.

a. Volitional dedication expressed by the ego (self-consciousness) through the human spirit. This is the preparation stage.

b. The mind receives truth through the senses. This is the intake stage.

c. Volition and ego accept the information and transfer it to the conscience and understanding (frame of reference).
This is the transfer stage.

d. That truth is then reflected through the human spirit in function and momentum (perpetuation of application with increasing consistency). This is the exhale stage.


G. But mystery doctrine requires the personal teaching of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

1. Man's normal system of perception is inadequate for the perception of advanced spiritual truth.

2. The filling of the Spirit is needed at both ends of the perception chain, both intake and exhale.

3. He is not needed for the transfer stage, although ruminating on doctrine out of fellowship makes one vulnerable to subjective thinking because of the influence of the sin nature.


5. Even so the things of God: This refers to Divine viewpoint information of the mystery category, based on the Corinthian context.

6. knows no man: ginosko as a perfect active indicative indicates previous perception and present knowledge content. The focus is on man limited by his human system of perception.

7. Except the Spirit of God:

A. The Holy Spirit must reveal Divine truth to the human race in order for it to be available to them.

B. Beyond God-consciousness information, man does not know anything about God except as the Holy Spirit has first communicated it through God's bona fide messengers. The gospel as an example, Romans 10:14-15.


Verse 12

1. Now we have received: The WE refers to the apostles as God's chosen communicators in the formative stage of the church. The aorist active indicative of lambano refers to the specific point of time that each communicator received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, whether it was at the initial and formal arrival of God the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in 30 AD, or subsequent to that, during the transition period between Israel and the church, or finally, what is the norm throughout the rest of the church age, at the moment of salvation.


2. Not the spirit of the world: The word, pneuma, refers to the influence or power source of the world system organized under Satan's authority. (1 John 5:19)

A. Romans 8:15, a spirit of slavery cf. Hebrews 2:15
B. 2 Timothy 1:7, a spirit of fear (deilia, cf. John 14:27-deilioo)
C. spirit of the world: 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 John 4:1-3


3. But: alla indicates a strong contrast because of the fantastic difference between the two power sources from which to tap the abundant life. There are two types of peace (John 14:27); that which the world attempts to give, and that which comes only through Jesus Christ.

4. The Spirit: This refers to God the Holy Spirit who is mentioned in verse 11.

A. out from God: ek, indicates the source. John 14:16; 14:26
B. From the Father: para, from the side of the Father. John 15:26
C. Sent by Christ: John 16:7 cf Acts 2:33
D. from God: apo - 1 Corinthians 6:19
E. sent from heaven: 1 Peter 1:12 (apo)
F. provided for all believers equally. John 7:39; 1 Corinthians 6:19;
1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13


5. So that: This is hina plus the subjunctive mood to indicate the purpose for the indwelling Holy Spirit.

6. we might know: The perfect active subjunctive of oida refers to a process of learning that results in complete understanding of the truths revealed. Although this has primary reference to the apostles who were the direct recipients of mystery truth from the Holy Spirit, it also refers to the PRINCIPLE of perception ability that is given by the presence of the Spirit in all believers. This is demonstrated as Paul continues and clarifies that the communication ministry of the apostles to others of the church is only successful as those recipients of the teaching are SPIRITUAL (verses 13, 15 and 3:1). The term spiritual, refers to TWO factors; the status and the function of spirituality. (1) the indwelling presence of the Spirit (status), and (2) the filling/control of the Spirit (function). The believer is not spiritual unless both factors are present.

John 14:26; 16:12-15; 1 John 2:27; 2 Corinthians 3:18;
Ephesians 3:16-17; Galatians 5:5, 22-23; Romans 15:13; 14:17

7. The things freely given to us: charidzomai means to give without cost or strings attached. It could be translated as graciously provided. But the GIVING involved is the PROVISION, and not the actual utilization. The USE of these grace provisions from God DOES have strings attached; the believer must WANT them and must CHOOSE to learn them. God does not force these things into the soul of anyone, but operates on the principle of freedom, just as it is with the gospel message for salvation. The aorist passive participle refers to the general point-of-time provision of these things based on Christ's victorious resurrection. Everything we need to relate to God here on earth has been provided and waits, as it were, in a storage room, for each individual believer to CLAIM his personal access and use of them. The key to that room is the indwelling of the Spirit, but the key only works if the believer is in fellowship with God. The believer is surrounded by a periphery of grace provision (Psalm 32:10) that is always within reach by CHOOSING to reach out and grab it. Grabbing it is the trick.

Notice again, the things of verse 9. These are provided freely by God for THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. If the believer is not functioning in the sphere of loving God, then he does not have access to the provisions. This is the same as it was prior to the cross. Believers of the Old Testament period had everything they needed to live the CHRISTIAN life (the life of relationship with the MESSIAH), but it was only truly accessible as they would reverence and TRUST in Him (Psalm 103:17-18).

See Topics: GRACE PROVISION and The Periphery of grace

A. Romans 8:32, He will grace to us the all things. (charidzomai as a future middle indicative)

B. 2 Peter 1:3-4 Therefore, verse 5

C. summed up in two ways:

1. Character qualities of the love structure: 1 Timothy 1:4
2. The abundant life: Romans 15:13

D. The greater grace blessings of James 4:6

E. This is not a reference to the common grace provisions that are extended to all believers regardless of spiritual status. Ie, God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

F. Material gain must be viewed in connection with Matthew 6:33 and 5:45 with Acts 14:17.
See Topic:


Verse 13

1. Which things: the things freely given us by God.

A. Mystery truth pertinent to the church age.
B. secondary application to all advanced truth based on 1 Cor. 3:1-3.
They could not receive the MEAT of the word because they were out
of fellowship with God; they were not spiritual in function.

2. Also we speak (laleo as a present active indicative): This activity is necessary for the transfer of truth from one soul to another. 2 Timothy 2:2

3. Not in words taught by human wisdom:

A. words: instrumental plural of logos
B. taught: instrumental plural of didaktos, an adjective.
C. by human: anthropinos, ablative singular
D. wisdom: ablative singular of sophia
E. Verses 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6 (not human source, not human mechanics)

4. But in those taught by the Spirit:

A. didaktos, ablative singular adjective
B. By the Spirit: pneuma is ablative singular to indicate the ministry of the Spirit in the apostle's function of teaching others.
The Spirit provides the information first to Paul or the other communication gifts. This is described as, words taught by the Spirit.

C. He then takes these things taught by the Spirit to him, and teaches them to those who have the capacity to learn them. (Divine source and mechanics)


5. interpreting: The present active participle of sugkrino describes what is necessary for the successful transfer of spiritual truth from one soul to another. The participle is adverbial to amplify laleo.

A. sugkrino means to judge with or together; combine, bring together, to compare and evaluate for the purpose of interpretation. This is what is done when someone teaches another.

B. spiritual things: pneumatikos is a neuter accusative plural adjective used as a nominative and the the object of the verb. It refers to that which is evaluated and organized in order to teach; The things of verses 9 and 12.

C. TO spiritual ones: pneumatikos is repeated, but this time as a masculine dative plural (or neuter dative plural - the context must determine).

1. it is the same spiritual ones as mentioned in the following verses (15 and 3:1).

2. In verse 3:1, it is the exact same form, with the same meaning; Paul teaching to (dative case) someone.

3. Spiritual ones refers to someone who has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (verses 12, 14, 15 and 3:1).
(spiritual in contrast to natural and sarkinos)

4. But it also refers to one who is filled with the Spirit (spiritual in contrast to fleshly - sarkikos)

D. See Topic: Holy Spirit: Baptism and filling


6. Summary:

A. God has provided doctrinal information. 1 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4

B. It is Paul's responsibility to teach these things, as indeed it is, for all the communication gifts.

1. Paul: Colossians 1:24-29; Ephesians 3:7-10
2. Other gifts: Ephesians 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 1:9

C. His content is not taught to him from the source of human wisdom.
1 Corinthians 2:1-4 with 2 Peter 1:20-21

D. His content is taught to him directly from the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 3:3, 5; 2 Peter 1:20-21

E. The method of communication is to interpret doctrinal principles to believers; those who have God-given ability to understand. Believers who have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (status) and those who are filled with the Spirit (function).

F. Only the believer is able to understand the things of the Spirit of God. Paul is not interpreting doctrine to the unbeliever.

G. Unbelievers are unable to understand the things of doctrine. If they are present during instruction, what is taught is meaningless to them. This does not include teaching about morality and the basics of Christian truth.

H. However, gospel information, which is not the subject of 1 Corinthians 2, is understandable to the unbeliever through the SPECIFIC convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. John 16:8-11

I. Now in the post-canon period of the Church age, God's design is for the communication gifts (teacher and exhortation) to teach in public assembly the truths of God's word.
2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; Hebrews 13:7

J. If the communicators fulfill their ministry then their will be mutual benefit for all who are receptive. And even unbelievers will receive information by which the Holy Spirit can fulfill his convicting ministry. 1 Corinthians 14:24-25

K. The content of the message must include several things.

1 Corinthians 14:3, edification, exhortation, comfort
Colossians 1:28, admonishing (warning) and teaching
1 Timothy 4:13, reading, exhortation, teaching
2 Timothy 3:16, content, motivation, restoration, character
Ephesians 4:12, equipping (preparation) service (priesthood and ambassadorship) body building (evangelism)
1 Thessalonians 2:11, motivation, comfort, example


Verse 14 The unbeliever has two problems with this mystery truth.

1. But the natural man:

A. But (de): This is a continuative particle to indicate mild contrast. He changes from the spiritual to the soulish but is still on the same subject.

B. natural man: psukikos is an adjective which is used 6 times in the New Testament.

1. It means something that is pertaining to the soul or life or the whole person.

2. It is used for a physical body in contrast to a spiritual one at 1 Corinthians 15:44-46 (3 times).

3. It is used for human wisdom and viewpoint in James 3:15.

4. It is used for unbeliever false teachers in Jude 19.

5. And here also for an unbeliever to emphasize one who does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit.

2. PROBLEM #1: Volitional Refusal

receives not: The verb is dechomai plus the negative to indicate failure to volitionally accept something.

3. the things of the Spirit of God:

A. These things are the mystery truths and any non-Gospel related truth, but does not include moral truth.

B. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit and is the ablative singular of source.
It should read, from the Spirit of God.

C. The doctrine does not BELONG to the Spirit in relationship to His function. But He teaches the things of the Father and of Christ. John 16:12-15

D. Spiritual truth belongs to the Father as the author of the plan and is from the source of the Father.

E. But we receive truth from the Spirit as a teacher, not as the author.

4. For they are foolishness to him: moria is a noun that describes something that is illogical, unreasonable, non-beneficial and useless. This is the human viewpoint attitude toward these truths (1 Corinthians 1:23), and is the reason they choose not to accept.

The unbeliever is STUCK with his human viewpoint as the sin nature dominates every area of his life.

5. PROBLEM #2: Inability to Understand

Neither CAN he know them:

A. This is a present middle indicative of dunamai + kai, which means he is unable. The inability is explained by the following infinitive.

B. to know: an aorist active infinitive of ginosko, which means to know from the process of study or to know from the experience of doing something or of being exposed to something. Usually study.

C. It is talking about perception with emphasis on natural ability.

6. Because they are spiritually appraised:

A. because (hoti) gives the reason for his inability.

B. spiritually: adverb, pneumatikOs, means by through, or of the Spirit. Here, the adverbial function answers the question, how?

C. appraised: this is the verb anakrino as a present passive indicative

1. This is a law term used for examining a case in order to clearly understand all the facts involved. It is also used for judicial interrogation.

2. It is used at Acts 17:11 for the Bereans searching for facts in the Old Testament scriptures which had bearing on what they were being taught.

D. The facts of the case (the facts of spiritual truth) are only searched out and understood by the Holy Spirit.

E. This refers to the presence of the Holy Spirit in the soul as the only way man can understand the mystery truths of the Christian life.

F. For Gospel perception, the unbeliever requires the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit which He performs outside of the person's soul. John 16:8-11.


Verse 15 The grace perceptive ability of the believer

1. But he that is spiritual: de, for mild contrast in continuation of his present subject.

A. pneumatikos: the adjective (nominative masculine singular) and means of or pertaining to the Spirit.

B. He who is spiritual is one who has in his heart and body the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 Corinthians 6:19

2. judges all things: anakrino again, and as a present active indicative, means the natural (or in this case acquired) ability to search out and discern.

A. the all things refers to the mystery doctrine and Christian living truth provided by the ministry of the Spirit.

B. Because the believer has the Holy Spirit, he is able to understand the things of God.

C. The emphasis here is not on the filling of the Spirit, but on His indwelling presence which is the potential for perception and application.

1. The Filling/control of the Spirit turns that potential into capacity.

2. Then volitional follow through produces the reality of perception.


D. The indwelling Spirit is necessary for perception of advanced Christian truth. And because the filling of the Spirit is directly related to fellowship with God in the church age, His control is necessary for objective perception of all truth.

3. Yet he himself: the believer under the filling/control of the Spirit and using spiritual truth to relate to life.

4. is appraised: anakrino (present passive indicative) refers to ability to figure out and understand.

A. by no one: hupo oudenos means under the authority of no one's human viewpoint, or BY MEANS of no one's human viewpoint.

B. No one, refers to the unbeliever. Just as he is unable to relate to spiritual truth, so he is unable to relate to the believer who applies that spiritual truth in his life, living according to its standards.

C. The new birth puts the believer on a whole new level of living than the unbeliever, and under a whole new set of standards for life.

D. The unbeliever tries to understand the believer by using his own human viewpoint standards and always fails.
The result is criticism, ridicule and violence.

E. The reason of course, is the darkness influence in their soul. John 3:19-20; 15:18-19

F. This also applies to the believer who is out of fellowship.


Verse 16

1. For: gar - explains the inability of the unbeliever to properly evaluate and relate to the believer.
It also introduces the principle of Is. 40:13, which is mentioned here, but not quoted.

2. Who: this refers to the unbeliever judging and criticizing God and the believer as God's representative on earth.

3. Has known: ginosko means to know from the experience of objective perception. The unbeliever does not have ability to understand Divine viewpoint standards.

4. The mind of the Lord: nous kurios refers to the viewpoint of the Godhead which is normally unavailable to finite man.

5. That he may instruct him: sumbibadzo means to teach, instruct, prove logically and show conclusively. The future active indicative is a logical future, and refers to any time at all.

6. Him: refers to God but by application to the believer who is the representative of God.

A. The believer is only evaluated properly from the mind of the Lord, ie, the Word of God. Therefore, if anyone wants to understand, relate to or evaluate a believer, it must be by means of standards found in the Bible.

B. The unbeliever does not know the Word and cannot know the Word, so he has no basis for understanding , relating to or judging the believer.

C. And all his human viewpoint attempts to explain the functioning Christian, have no impact on that believer who is operating on Divine viewpoint in every area of life.

7. But we have: This is a present active indicative of echo and refers to what the apostles have based on the revelation ministry of the Spirit.

8. The mind of Christ: nous christos refers to the viewpoint of the Messiah as it has been revealed to the apostles by the Spirit and then made available to God's people through teaching.

A. Secondary application to all believers who now have access to the mind of Christ in the written canon of scripture as the communication gifts guide them through it.

B. Therefore, the Bible admonishes us to make the mind of Christ our own thinking by perception and application of the Word. Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 4:1 cf. John 15:15 and Ephesians 4:23-24.

9. See Topic: Inspiration of the Bible

10. Summary and perspective

A. Paul, in the first 2 chapters has taught basic salvation and Christian living information.

B. He has explained the spiritual failures of the Corinthian believers.

C. He has just finished explaining that no unbeliever has any basis for relating to or judging a believer.

D. A principle is arrived at. A believer who is out of fellowship and not operating on spiritual truth, likewise has no capacity to relate to or evaluate another believer.

E. Paul has stated that, he has the mind of Christ. Therefore, he has the capacity to evaluate all unbelievers, believers and especially the Corinthians who are out of fellowship.

F. So in chapter 3, he is going to evaluate and render a judgment on their spiritual condition.

G. They are believers who have the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit. But they are acting like men who do not have the Spirit - like unbelievers.

H. Although the Spirit indwells all believers, in order to act like a believer, Truth must be applied in the life. And since BECAUSE the Spirit indwells every believer, such application of truth is directly related to the Spirit's filling/control.

I. And this is the subject of chapter 3

1. The term spiritual refers to one who

a. has the Holy Spirit
b. and is filled with the HS as per Eph. 5:18; Gal. 6:1

2. Both items are included when the word is used with reference to the believer. But sometimes with different emphasis.

a. 1 Cor. 2:15, the possession of the HS is emphasized.
b. 1 Cor. 3:1, The filling of the HS is emphasized.


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İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


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