This passage is often used to justify a certain dogma. And based on its interpretation the dogma stands or falls.

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭

The question seems simple enough to understand and answer when read in context.

“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭

Why is it then that the natural man is equated to mean the unsaved man? Who is the natural man according to this epistle? The flesh, the unbeliever or something else?

  • So you sustain that the natural man is indeed the unsaved person, unregenerate person @www.gffg.info. Therefore you don’t make the dichotomy between the flesh and the spirit as 2 Cor 4:16 or Eph 3:16 in this passage? – Nihil Sine Deo May 18 '19 at 2:22
  • “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.” ‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭Here the carnal man is a Christian though, because the text says they are IN CHRIST. @www.gffg.info Even in your example, though they are self-serving and carnal as babies are, they are still in Christ. – Nihil Sine Deo May 18 '19 at 3:40

1 Cor 2:14 is the first of several places where "psychical" is contrasted with "Pneumatical" as follows (from NASB):

  • 1 Cor 2:14 - But a natural (Ψυχικὸς Psychikos) 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 (πνευματικῶς pneumatikōs) appraised. Here Paul defines a "psychical" man as one who does not accept the things of the Spirit of God.
  • 1 Cor 15:44-46 - it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual (ψυχικόν psychikon) body (σῶμα sōma). If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. Note that this discussion occurs in the context of what body we receive at the resurrection - we exchange our natural (psychical) body for a spiritual body.
  • Jude 19 - These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded (ψυχικοί psychikoi), devoid of the Spirit (Πνεῦμα Pneuma). Note the same contrast between "psychical" and "pneumatical" meaning that "psychical" is our natural, worldly minds/bodies as distinct from the renewed person controlled by the Spirit.

We have an almost identical distinction between "sarx-ly" and "pneumatical" in Gal 5:17, John 6:63 and 1 Peter 3:18, suggesting that, in this context, "sarx" (= flesh) is used synonymously with "psychos" when contrasted with "pneuma".

This is part of the boarder NT teaching about the work and function of the Holy Spirit; namely to strengthen Christians in their daily walk to live the Christian ideals, Eph 3:16, 17, Heb 2:4. The Christian must be born of the Spirit (John 3:5) by receiving the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:38) and walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:25, John 6:63, Phil 3:3, John 4:24). Rom 7 discusses this further, concluding with Rom 8:1-17.

Therefore, the "natural man" = "psychical man" is just that - our old natures that Paul discusses at length in Rom 7:1 - 8:17. It is similar to the natural body and the natural mind.

  • And therefore he is not saying this man is unsaved. ? @Mac’sMusing – Nihil Sine Deo May 18 '19 at 23:54
  • The fact that someone is "saved" in the usual meaning of the word, does not mean that person becomes perfect and sinless. Rom 7 and 1 John 1:8-2:1 make that very clear. We all know saved people but not one of them is sinless. – user25930 May 19 '19 at 10:32
  • I agree with the Greek and I agree with you @Mac’smusings. I just wanted to make certain we were on the same page and wasn’t blindsided just because it read like I would like it to read. I’m going to leave the question up a little longer to give others a chance to defend their dogma. +1 thank you for taking the diligence and time to respond. More than I expected in an answer. – Nihil Sine Deo May 19 '19 at 12:21

Who is the natural man? 1 Corinthians 2:14

Paul to help us understand what a spiritual person is , draws a contrast between a spiritual person and a natural man, that is a nonspiritual person and says:

1 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NASB)

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. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."

The natural man does not accept into his heart the things of the Spirit of God, to him all the revelations and and teachings in the scriptures are foolishness and meaningless nonsense , hence he is incapable of knowing or understanding them.

On the other hand the spiritual man is someone who examines all things, searches ,inquires, questions and discerns all things.

Other features of the natural man, the natural man focuses his desires on the flesh, the predominant attitude in the world- He just follows the fashion and the tendencies of the world. Paul describes that this is "the spirit {demon} that is now working in the sons of disobedience."

Ephesians 2:2 (NASB)

2 "In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience."

Other characteristics of the natural man are , Paul wrote :

Galatians 5:19-21 (NASB)

19 "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

(Factions- sects with peculiar opinions, heresies),

The spirit of the man which is in him?

1 Corinthians 2:11 (NASB)

11" For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God."

The "spirit of the man which is in him". This means a persons individual spirit, his feelings , emotions, his personality , own thoughts. Like in Luke 1:80 : "And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel." Compare Matthew 26:41, John 13:21. (NASB)

Paul is also telling us that God made each and everyone of us unique and distinct from others, we try to perceive and understand others as much as possible from our experience and observations , but only he/she can fully understand himself.

  • thank you for your response. Believe it or not it’s rather ambiguous as to whether or not the carnal man you speak of is a Christian or not. Could you please clarify this point for me please. Thank you. – Nihil Sine Deo May 20 '19 at 10:18
  • @ Autodidact : A natural man [carnal-minded] man does not accept the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. Many people claim to be Christians,but Jesus said,by their fruits you will recognize them: " You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit."( Matthew 7:16-17) So not everyone that claims to be follower of Christ is a Christian,if not then he is a carnal minded man.( 1 Cor.2:12-14) – Ozzie Ozzie May 20 '19 at 18:21
  • That’s a remarkable answer @ozzienicolas. May I ask how you square that with the following verses? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:16‬ who his audience if not Christians? Christians whom he refers to a carnal and babes. “And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭Are they Christ’s or are they not? “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭(if I may be so bold to ask are you a Calvinist?) – Nihil Sine Deo May 20 '19 at 18:51

The natural man, ask your neighbours who are not saved they will have no clue what you are talking about in the bible as the bible words are spiritual. Yet they goto some bewitched and carnal minded church and sit in a dead Sunday School pocketbook preacher church loaded with vain deceit or watch church on TV, radio, and internet; they will have no clue what the bible says. Jesus said my sheep hear my voice John 10. Unless you have received the love of the truth 2nd Thess 2:10-12 and read your bible man will have no clue as to what the spiritual is saying. The multitudes followed after Jesus and they understood about feeding their belly, when it came time to teach and reviel the word of truth they had no clue what Jesus was talking about and did not care either as their belly was their god. When man are dead in their sin and trespasses they will have no clue what the bible says because they are not saved as all sin is of the devil period 1st John 3:8.

The church of the hour is too busy with food they have no time for the bible.The words of the bible are spirit and is life John 6:63. Just go on the internet about 99.99999% of these chat rooms or boards have no clue what the bible says so they boot me right off because they do not have ears to hear or eyes to see just as they did to Jesus, they only want to hear and believe what they want hear in their dead church and nothing more. Why? Dead in their sin and trespasses dead in their carnality and man loves it that way because they are not born of God through Christ and are nothing but bastard children of the devil.

When you come to Christ Jesus' words we get rid of sin and unrighteousness as sin is the killer Romans 6:23 it pays to serve the devil it pays to sin the wage or payment is called death. I am an ex-sinner saved by grace. A saved sinner is a righteous person Romans 6:18. All sin is of the devil period and all sinners will burn Christian or not. I am washed by the blood words of the bible John 15:3 and forgiven and forgotten for 25 years.

John 3:31] He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. [32] And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. [33] He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. [34] For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

John 10:25] Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. [26] But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. [27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: [28] And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Ephesians 2:[1] And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [2] 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: [3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. [4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, [5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) [6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. [11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

2nd Cor 4:1] Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; [2] But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. [3] But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: [4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2nd Thess 2:10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

1st John 3:[4] Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. [5] And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. [6] Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. [7] Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. [8] He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Romans 8:5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [10] And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Philippians 3:18] (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: [19] Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

John 6:26] Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. [27] Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. [28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? [29] Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. [30] They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? [31] Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. [32] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. [33] For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. [34] Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. [35] And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. [36] But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. [37] All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. [38] For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. [39] And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. [40] And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. [41] The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. [42] And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? [43] Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. [44] No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. [45] It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. [46] Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. [47] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. [48] I am that bread of life. [49] Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. [50] This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. [51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. [52] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? [53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. [54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. [57] As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. [58] This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. [59] These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. [60] Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? [61] When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? [62] What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? [63] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. [64] But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. [65] And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. [66] From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. [67] Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? [68] Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. [69] And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. [70] Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? [71] He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

Romans 7:9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, [10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Romans 6:1] What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? [2] God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? [3] Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. [7] For he that is dead is freed from sin. [8] Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: [9] Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. [10] For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. [11] Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. [12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. [14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. [16] Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? [17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. [20] For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. [21] What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. [22] But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. [23] For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • 1
    Ah ok... thank you I guess? You haven’t really addressed the question which is centered around the verse in question. Notice that Apostle Paul calls those who attended the Corinthian church who are believers and therefore saved, under the teaching of Apostle Paul himself, carnal. “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭So who is the carnal man? It’s the man that seeks after the flesh – Nihil Sine Deo May 20 '19 at 15:59
  • Do you think that everybody who goes to church is saved? Nope. When the preacher offers: bible school philosophy, Sunday School, vain deceit, doctorines if devils and seducing spirits, holidays, perverted bibles outside of the Gospel of Christ, socials, fornication/adulatory, dinners, sports, church camps, yellow busses for the church picnics, cruises, books, anniversaries, idols, lies. Etc. None of this is bible. The church at Corinith was a filthy church. There were a few that were saved don't get me wrong. However, for the most part they loved their filth their carnality. Dead in their sin. – Biblepreacher May 21 '19 at 17:54
  • Paul told them believers was to do this is to come out from amoung them. Man today they do not want to come out dead in their sin and trespasses. In return for their stubbornness God and Father of Jesus gave man strong delusions to believe a lie to be dammed with because man has pleasure in unrighteousness. – Biblepreacher May 21 '19 at 17:56
  • 2nd Thess 2:10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – Biblepreacher May 21 '19 at 17:58
  • 2nd Cor 6:13] Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. [14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. – Biblepreacher May 21 '19 at 18:03

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