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[a] = summary lessons
[b] = exegetical analysis
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A Mini-Series is a small subset of lessons from a major series which covers a particular subject or book. The class numbers will be in reference to the major series rather than the mini-series.
1 Corinthians 2:12-16 by Robert Dean
Series:1st Corinthians (2002)
Duration:1 hr 4 mins

Grace Learning Spiral; 1 Corinthians 2:12-14


The human spirit enables the believer to understand what God has revealed and what He has communicated.

1 Corinthians 2:13 NASB "which things [doctrines/words revealed in Scripture] we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual {thoughts} with spiritual {words.}" Notice the words "thoughts" and "words" are found in italics in the NASB. That is because in the Greek there is simply the dative PNEUMATIKOIS [pneumatikoij] with the accusative PNEUMATIKA [pneumatika], and that really translates "combining spiritual with spiritual." The best way to take this is that the neuter plural instrumental case of the first word has to do with ideas, and then "combining spiritual ideas with spiritual words" is the way the thought takes place: ideas produce words. Words are important. Each word expresses specific ideas. If you change the word, even if it is a synonym, it changes the basic nature of the idea. So we can't say that just ideas of Scripture are inspired, it is the very words that are inspired because just a small shift in the word changes the nature of the idea.

[14] "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." "Accept" is the Greek word DECHOMAI [dexomai] which means to receive, and here it has the connotation of understanding; "cannot understand them" is a very strong statement using the negative statement OU DUNATAI [o)u dunatai], "he is not able to understand." This is a categorical statement because "they are spiritually appraised."

What is a natural man? The is the Greek word PSUCHIKOS [yuxikoj] based on the word PSUCHE [yuxh] or soul, the same root as we have in psychology or psychiatry. This literally would be "the soulish man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God." What are the things? The things are that which has been revealed in Scripture, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him, v.9; the things that the Spirit searches, v. 10; the things that Paul refers to in v.11, "the things of God."

There is another usage of this word PSUCHIKOS in Jude 19 but it is almost always badly translated in any of our translations. It is the word translated "worldly-minded," but the Greek word for worldly is KOSMOS [kosmoj] which doesn't have anything to do with PSUCHIKOS. In the context of Jude 19, "These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit." Two things are problematic in that verse. First of all it uses the word PSUCHIKOS which is soulish, not worldly-minded; secondly, the translators make an interpretive decision to capitalise "Spirit." If we look at it in the Greek it literally says, "PSUCHIKOS, not having a spirit." We have to decide whether this is going to be a capital S or a small s with the word "spirit." Is it Holy Spirit or human spirit? If it is talking about unbelievers it could be either one, but since the noun in front of "spirit" is PSEUCHIKOS and related to the soul, and it is soulish (not having a spirit), that defines the term—"soulish, not having a spirit." That is the same thing we have in 1 Corinthians 2:14, so the PSUCHIKOS in v. 14 indicates "soulish." The human spirit is that which enables the different parts of the soul to relate to God, to understand divine truth. You do not learn divine truth with your human spirit, you do not store divine truth in your human spirit, that is the function of the mentality of the soul and the memory component of mentality; the human spirit simply enables your mentality, your volition, your conscience and your self-consciousness to relate to God.

You will often hear people talking about having a check in their spirit, or their spirit was telling them, or "I'm learning this in my spirit, man!" You will always hear that kind of verbiage from somebody who has been grossly mistaught from some kind of Pentecostal or charismatic background. It is Gnostic terminology! So watch that kind of verbiage.

We receive a human spirit that is ours at the point of salvation. The human spirit doesn't learn but it enables the mentality to learn and to store truth. The human spirit is simply the capacity that allows the parts of our soul to properly relate to God and understand divine truth. We know that man is made up of these three parts because of verses like Hebrews 4:12 NASB "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit…" which makes a distinction between the two. The two are so closely intertwined and interconnected that at time the Bible may talk about the soul and have both in view, or the spirit and have both in view. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASB "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This is called trichotomy. The unbeliever is composed of two parts, the human soul and the physical body.

This explains the dynamics of learning the Word. The pastor-teachers teaches. Through the filling of the Holy Spirit the Word of God is made understandable. Then we have to decide whether or not we are going to believe it. When we accept that doctrine as true it becomes GNOSIS [gnwsij], and then the Holy Spirit enters it into the KARDIA [kardia], the innermost part of our thinking as EPIGNOSIS [e)pignwsij], and that is usable doctrine. So what we have here in 1 Corinthians 2:10-14 is the dynamics of how we learn, that it is based on this ability that God gives us through the human spirit to learn the Word, but it is activated through the filling of God the Holy Spirit.