The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, Romans 8:6 - BSB

What is the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit described in the verse? What are the differences between one another?


The mind of the Spirit is the mind of Christ [1 Cor 2:16], the mind renewed and reborn with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, gifted with faith to believe, and by which understand the deep things of God, even to have intimate and constant fellowship with the living Christ.

The mind without the baptism is the mind of flesh, without the gift of faith, without the assurance of the truths unseen in God, and thus unable to understand spiritual things, nor truly believe. It can by the its own power of fleshy will, believe—or so it deludes itself—but its faithlessness will be betrayed in its life and acts, in its fruits, by hypocrisy, shamelessness, and a blindness to its own delusion and lies, not unlike the proverbial man who looked into the mirror without seeing himself. We see this all around us today, from MAGA to the megachurches to prosperity gospels and false prophets, etc etc.

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    I enjoyed this answer (apart from the megachurches and prosperity ending, it was unecessary to the answer). I wish you would have quoted from Ephesians though, how we were completely dead in our trespasses and sins, following the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air and living in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, and how God being rich in mercy made us alive in Christ Jesus, raising us up by grace and by His gift, being brought by the blood of Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
    – snoopy
    Jun 29 at 2:04
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    The MAGA examples were to give concrete illustrations and reality to the words, which can be rather hackneyed, from much churchy use. For me its the "mind of Christ", something I constantly pursue, always comparing what I know now from what I knew, and always amazed at the constant reality and unsearchable wisdom and love of the living Christ.
    – Ylzm Ma
    Jun 29 at 2:14

The mind of the flesh is always trying to prove it is acceptable to God based on what it does or doesn't do. It a mind living under the law and believing in ones own self-righteousness. One that has not submitted itself to the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

The mind of the spirit is one that has and accepted the righteousness of God that comes by the faith of Christ Jesus… This mind is continually focused on what Christ has done and learning to focus more on things above where Christ is seated.

It's at peace because it's based on God work and not mans.

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    Snoopy, You had asked me to give you a few scripture references. The apostle Paul is educating the believers on what has happened since the cross buried the old man and a new man has risen now in Christ… The old man is always associated with a mind that is a slave under the law, to the law of sin and death. The new man has its mind on the new life that's now in Christ… Of course this is all a walk of faith at this time. Romans 10.3 Romans 8.7 Colossians 3:2 Romans 7:4-6 Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law by the faith of Jesus
    – Sherrie
    Jun 29 at 2:12
  • Thanks Sherrie! I deleted it because it was no longer necessary. You have provided a very good answer that has greatly helped me.
    – snoopy
    Jun 29 at 2:16
  • Snoopy, Thank you for your comment and I'm so glad that helped.
    – Sherrie
    Jun 29 at 13:57

Romans 8:6 New American Standard Bible

For the mind set on the flesh   is death, 
but the mind set on the Spirit  is life and peace

The two mindsets are opposite to each other as different as life and death. One is motivated by God's interest; the other, by self-interest which is the same as Satan's.

Matthew 16:23

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

As a confidant of Jesus, Peter cared about Jesus so much that he didn't want him to die. Yet, Jesus rebuked Peter for his human concern that was inspired by Satan.


One of Paul's clearest examples is his comparison of Ismael to Isaac in Gal. 4.

 But the son of the slave [Ismael] was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman [Isaac to Sarah] was born through promise. (Gal. 4:23, ESV)

But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh [Ismael] persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit [Isaac], so also it is now. (Gal. 4:29, ESV)

Mind of the Flesh - Abraham and Sarah consider the impossibility of Sarah giving birth to a child. So rather than waiting on God's promise, they decided help God out with the normal way for their culture. Abraham had a son through Sarah's servant Hagar. Paul used this to illustrate those seeking to gain righteousness by keeping the Mosaic Law.

Mind of the Spirit: Afterward Sarah miraculously bore a son, Isaac, the son of promise. Paul used this to illustrate those who gained righteousness through Christ's sacrifice.

In Galatians as well as Romans the mind of the Spirit also involves the Spirit living in us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Gal. 5:22–26, ESV)


The distinction observed in the OP's question is a regular theme in the NT.

The Holy Spirit is given to strengthen Christians' daily walk, and to live the Christian ideals, Eph 3:16, 17, Heb 2:4, and maintain unity in the Christian community (Eph 4:3-6). 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).

In fact the whole life of Christian is to put aside the “psychical” mind and live by the Spirit (1 Cor 2:14, 1 Cor 15:44-46, Gal 5:17, Jude 19, John 6:63, 1 Peter 3:18). In short, the Holy Spirit is the only way we can know God, 1 Cor 2:10, 11, 14, John 16:13.


The word translated as "mind" in Romans 8:6 is φρόνημα (Strong's G5427 - phronēma). As can be seen, it is a word only used by Paul, in the NT, only in Romans and only in chapter 8. In fact, Rom 8:7 helps the understanding of the expression "mind of the flesh", and Rom 8:27 helps the understanding of the expression "mind of the spirit".

As the Thayer's Lexicon suggests, the main meaning of φρόνημα is "what one has in the mind, the thoughts and purposes".

I suggest that Romans 8:6 can be "unpacked" this way:

"Following carnal purposes leads to death, following the way of the spirit leads to life and peace".

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