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Message of the Day: Be Broad-Minded Towards the Ignorant and the Natural Man!

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14, NKJV)

Image courtesy of Olive Tree Bible Software

The “knowledge party” came in for the brunt of Paul’s scathing rebuke. Corinth was close to Athens, where the atmosphere was dominated by egoists who paraded themselves as philosophers. The spirit of Athens had penetrated the church in Corinth. Paul was a university man, an outstanding scholar of his generation. But Paul despised any pedantic show of learning. True learning and true scholarship should make us humble and more broadminded toward the “ignorant”—who may not have our knowledge but who may be our superiors in wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Paul contrasts the wisdom of God with the wisdom of the unbelieving world. The world’s wisdom fails to recognize God by means of its own philosophy. So God sent Christ, who is the wisdom of God (v. 24), to reveal to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation that had until then been a mystery. Now God’s wisdom is revealed to believers through the Holy Spirit.

Just as a person’s own spirit, and no one else’s, knows what is going on inside that person, so the Spirit of God, and no one else, knows what is going on within God. Therefore, only those who have the Spirit of God can know the mind of God (vv.11-12). They receive instructions from God through the Spirit and pass on these instructions to others, not by means of worldly wisdom, but by the same Spirit. Those who receive the instruction will likewise have understanding through the work of that Spirit within them (v.13).

Thus, the “natural man” rejects the things of God as foolish, because they do not have his Spirit and therefore do not have the means of understanding them. He is not equipped to receive appreciatively truth that comes from the Spirit. Such a person needs the new birth (John 3:1-8; Titus 3:5-6).

The spiritual man is qualified to sift, to examine, to decide rightly, because he has the eyes of his heart enlightened and is no longer blinded by the “god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). There is a great lesson for Christians who know by personal experience the things of the Spirit of God. Men of intellectual gifts who are ignorant of the things of Christ talk learnedly and patronizingly about things which they are grossly ignorant.

This calls for the need for the spiritual man to be broad-minded (as mentioned above) toward the natural man. Those who are spiritual should endeavor to show the ignorant they indeed have the “mind of Christ.” They ought to be open-minded because they know something of the mind of the Lord.

Sources:

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary. New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.

MySowrd for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.

Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.

http://www.biblegateway.com

Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.

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