[1 Corinthians 2:12 KJV] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

[1 Cor 2:12 mGNT] ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐ τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου ἐλάβομεν ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἵνα εἰδῶμεν τὰ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ χαρισθέντα ἡμῖν

Is there an "anti-spirit" ala God's spirit that permeates the whole KOSMOS? What is the KOSMOS in this passage?

Pauline, so very likely related:

[Ephesians 2:2 KJV] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Johannine so possibly related:

[1 John 4:1 KJV] Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

[1 John 4:3 KJV] And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Possibly related:

In Ephesians 2:2 is Paul speaking of "mighty works" by "Satan"?

In Ephesians 2:2 is Paul speaking of "the course" of the world or "Aeon of the world"?

In Ephesians 2:2, to what or whom does "the authority of the air" refer?

2 Answers 2


We over complicate the very simple and clear teaching of God's Word. The spirit of the world is the philosophy and ideologies of the natural, carnal mind. The spirit is the mind. We have the "mind of Christ". The spirit of the World is limited to natural thinking. It is the carnal mind in Romans 8. The carnal mind of spiritually dead sinners, who can only know what man knows because they have only that spirit. But Christians have received the Spirit of God, to reveal to us spiritual truths.

  • Good simple answer that I agree with.
    – GFFG
    Apr 14, 2019 at 3:37

The Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma) has a great variety of uses and most lexicons have large articles about its various shades of meaning. As is well known, it can mean "air", "wind", "breath", "spirit", or "Spirit". It is about the distinction, or lack of it, that is the key to understanding the question at hand.

There is an almost continuous spectrum of meaning between two sets of meaning of πνεῦμα (pneuma) that many articles have been written about. But first let me set out the extremes.

  • πνεῦμα (pneuma) can mean something approximating "attitude of mind, "disposition", or "state of mind" such as: 1 Cor 4:21 "I come in love and with a gentle spirit"; Gal 6:1 "restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness"; Eph 4:23 "that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (NASB) or "made new in the attitude of your minds" (NIV); 1 Peter 3:4 "with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit".
  • πνεῦμα (pneuma) can also mean the Spirit of God: 1 Cor 2:11b "In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God"; 1 Cor 3:16 "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?" See also 2 Cor 7:1, Col 2:5.

There appears to be a complete blurring of meaning between these two extremes. Some texts appear to be about part-way between (Luke 1:17, 1 Cor 2:4, etc). I suspect that this almost deliberate because it is the Spirit of God that is supposed to create in us a spiritual kind of conduct: Gal 5:16, 22, 25.

It is a simple extension of this to say that we have the spirit of Christ (that is very ambiguous - is it the attitude of Christ or His indwelling Spirit? Or is it a bit of each?? See Rom 8:9, Heb 4:12.) However, the world - that is the people of the world (Kosmos) have an entirely different spirit or attitude which the Bible sometimes calls "flesh" or "sarx" such as 1 Cor 5:3-5, 7:34.

Therefore, it is often difficult (but not always) to distinguish between spirit (or attitude) of a converted spiritual Christian and the Spirit of Christ or Spirit of God that brings about the change from the spirit of the world or the body ("soma") in every text.

  • I think that the reference to the "air of" the pneuma argues for "breath" aka "spirit", though. It is a complex context.
    – Ruminator
    Mar 13, 2019 at 21:52
  • There is certainly an attitude of mind, or selfish spirit that permeates the kosmos that is inspired by demonic forces, but that cannot itself be Satan who is a spirit but NOT omnipresent.
    – user25930
    Mar 13, 2019 at 21:56
  • Well that's why the question. I notice that you do not mention the human "spirit" (aka "breath"). Did you mean to omit it?
    – Ruminator
    Apr 14, 2019 at 3:26
  • Not intentional but accidental. You are quite right that some references do discuss the spirit of man but that can, again, be part of the Spirit of God or demonic spirits as well; and sometimes an attitude of mind.
    – user25930
    Apr 14, 2019 at 5:59

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