The Natural, Spiritual, And Carnal

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The Holy Spirit 1) reveals truth about God and his plans, 2) inspires the writers of the Bible so we can have an infallible document to read and study, and 3) illumines the individual believer so they can understand what the Bible says.

"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." v.14

"The man without the Spirit"

"they are spiritually discerned."

"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." Ps 119:18

The two on the road to Emmaus, "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." Lk 24:45

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints," Eph 1:18

The work of the Holy Spirit consists in teaching us to understand, to appreciate, to appropriate God's Word; and he causes it not to remain as mere ideas and shallow beliefs, but seeks to implant them in the deepest place of the heart.

"The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:" v.15

1) The spiritual man "makes judgments about all things"

The Holy Spirit teaches the believer God's word and he or she is then equipped to evaluate the rightness or wrongness of all things.

"But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb 5:14

2) The spiritual man "is not subject to any man’s judgment"

Does not have the ability to evaluate the lives of believers. He does not understand our love for God, our interest in the Bible, our desire to worship with other believers, our moral stand.

3) The spiritual man has the mind of Christ

"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." v.16

If a group of department managers were discussing a change in their plans they could propose that they find out what the president of the company thinks about idea? What mind-set does he have on the proposal? If the mangers knew the president of the company for many years and had engaged in discussions of a thousand topics, they would all ready have a good understanding of his mind on various subjects.

Phil 2:5 helps to understand what Paul means here, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. . . he humbled himself." KJV

When we live a humble life like Jesus did, we will have the same mind-set or attitude of mind that Christ does.

The whole Bible is an expression of the mind of Christ; his point of view, his values and desires on every conceivable subject.

When we know the Bible and believe it, we will therefore have the mind of Christ.



"Brothers, I could not (when I first came to you) address you as spiritual ("the spiritual man"v.15) but as worldly ("carnal" KJV; "men of the flesh" NASB) mere infants (babes) in Christ." V.1

Two kinds of people in the world-natural (unsaved) and spiritual (saved).

The spiritual man is contrasted with the carnal man

Carnal man is at the same level as the babe in Christ.

You would expect limited understanding of spiritual truth and immature behavior from a babe in Christ.

"We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature." 1 Cor 2:6

"Babes are self-centered. They are dependent on others for all their needs. They have short attention spans. They go for things that glitter, and they have no sense of values. They are a literate and ignorant of much they need to know. They're only ones are predominant. They are ruled by their appetites and move fitfully from one thing to another. They are unable to feed themselves, or to protect themselves, or to defend themselves. They cannot see beyond their own little world. They enjoy being the center of attention and soon learn how to get their share of it. They have no thought for the needs and concerns of others. They are demanding. They demand a great deal of care. But in time, they grow up. The trouble with the Corinthians was that they did not grow up. Paul found them to be still babes." John Phillips

When a mother notices that her baby fails to grow physically, she becomes concerned and consults a doctor.

"I gave you milk (when I first came to you), not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready." v.2

Shows evidence of them being "mere infants"

J Back in the 1980's I knew nothing about personal computers; What they consisted of, how they worked or functioned. Yet, I like to go to a computer store on 4th plain and take to the tech guys. I new next to nothing and they had a mature understanding of RAM, hard drives, and central processing unites. At first, most everything they said went right over my head. They could not talk to me about even the second level of knowledge I was so young in it all.

Whether one is preaching to a church, teaching a class, or talking to just one person, what is communicated is controlled by the interest, experience, understanding, and spiritual maturity of the listener.

"We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb 5:11-14


"You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? v.3 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?" v.4

Not only their childish level of their understanding but now he mentions their behavior.

The problem here is not so much what they did (as bad as that may be), but what it revealed about their spiritual immaturity and how they lived their lives.

They are responding to the influence of the flesh instead of to the promptings of the Spirit.

He defines what he means by "You are still worldly" by the phrase, "Are you not acting like mere men?"

Paul warns the churches of Galatia that "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: . . . hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy." (Ga 5:19-2) are products of the flesh, not of the Spirit.

The mature Christian practices love and seeks to get along with others. Children like to disagree and fuss.


Maturity happens when we take the words of Scripture and live them out in our lives;

"Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation," 1 Pe 2:2

When we take every problem we have to the Bible to see what we should do about it;

When we encourage ourselves by the promises of God in his word

When we learn to walk after the Spirit and experience his increasing influence in our lives

When we learn to pray regularly with adoration, confession, petition, and thanksgiving

When we venture out in the use of our spiritual gift in service to God and his people.

"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming." Eph 4:11-14

"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Pe 1:5-8

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