…12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 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. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
The objective in teaching and studying the word of God is to make clear what the Bible says to those who are searching for the truth. Everything God deems essential knowledge for His children is found in His Word – the Bible. God has, however, revealed His truth to all humans in the things created (Romans 1:20) called general revelation, and in His written Word called special revelation (1 Corinthians 2:6–10).
As a historical background we need to understand that one of the problems that existed in the Corinthian church was the failure of the Christians to forego with human philosophy. The Corinthians lived in a very intellectual and immoral society, a world that was pretty well based upon the reason and the lusts of men, and when they became Christians they hauled this kind of immorality and rationalism into the church.
Paul writes this letter to encourage them to cut the ties of their former worldly life, both philosophically and in terms of moral behavior.
After exposing the futility of worldly thinking in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, Paul introduces Christians to the higher realm of godly wisdom. This kind of knowledge and understanding isn’t available through human intelligence and reasoning; it comes strictly through divine revelation. Only those indwelt by God’s Spirit have “the mind of Christ” (v. 16) and access to “the things freely given” to them by God (v. 12). Because 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 (v14).
Therefore, without this supernatural insight, no one can accurately know the Lord or His ways. Many people say they believe in God yet may not have a correct understanding of Him because their perceptions are based on their own thoughts and ideas. It’s easier to custom-design a god to fit our preferences than to make the required adjustments that worship of the one true God demands.
Even believers need to guard against trying to fit God into their preconceived image of Him. The Bible is the only reliable source of divine revelation, but we must be careful to consider the Scriptures in its entirety. It is critical that we don’t just pick and choose the verses we want to believe. For example, by focusing only on passages that emphasize the Lord’s loving-kindness while excluding those that speak of His holiness and justice; identifies and shows that we don’t understand His true nature.
There is a difference between “earthly wisdom” and the “wisdom that comes from above” (James 3:14–18). To receive God’s wisdom, we must, first of all, desire it and ask God for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). The next verse specifies that we must “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (verse 6).
We need to acknowledge that true wisdom comes from God and that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of that wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). To trust in Christ and yield to His Holy Spirit is to walk in wisdom; therefore, as Christians, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
The love of God, the greatest commandment, is also required. “As it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10)
Those who have God’s wisdom will show it in how they live: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13).
To receive God’s wisdom, we must diligently study God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15), meditate on the Word, pray for wisdom, seek it with all our hearts, and walk in the Spirit. God desires to give His wisdom to His children, but we need to seek to know the Lord by considering the entire counsel of Scripture. Divine wisdom is available to every believer, who searches for it in God’s Word and asks for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. May we never try to limit Him to fit our preferences; instead, may He enlarge our minds to give us clear understanding of His Word.
When we know and practice the truth, it will set us free (John 8:32).