A question asking about the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit (Romans 8:6) is not the same because I am not asking about the mind of the Spirit, i.e. the Holy Spirit, plus my two verses in question are in Ephesians, not Romans. Of course, the Holy Spirit may be directly connected to being "renewed in the spirit of your mind" in Ephesians 4:23 - one of the verses I ask about - but I want to know more about the spirit of the mind. What is it? How does it work, and how could it be 'renewed'?

The second, related verse I ask about seems to indicate an entirely different spirit force that "works in the children of disobedience" as in Ephesians 2:2. The verse seems to indicate it is not connected to the Holy Spirit, but to some princely "power of the air". What is this spirit of the air which works in disobedient ones? Does it work in their minds?

So, to put the verses in order and to quote them fully (K.J.V.):

"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" (Eph. 2:2)

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind." (Eph. 4:23)

I understand the first verse to speak of a person prior to becoming renewed in the spirit of their mind (because the latter verse speaks of Christians.) This is why it seems to me that those two 'spirits' seem to stand in opposition - there are two opposing spirits here.

If the answer is based on the whole message of the Ephesians letter, that would save jumping about all over the New Testament, though I appreciate that it may be necessary to include other parts when concluding the answer. And I specifically ask those who believe in spiritual, invisible powers that can control one's mind to answer.

Please note: I have deliberately NOT used the tag 'Holy Spirit' because my question is about the spirit of the mind, and that of a spiritual power of the air, and it is that which I seek enlightenment about.

3 Answers 3


Eph. 2:

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

This refers to the evil spirit and works on unbelievers.

What is it?

It is not connected to the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, it obeys the devil in Satan's kingdom.

Ephesians 6:

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

How does it work?

It is well-organized, headed by Satan. He could send evil spirits to possess people and make them act physically, Mark 5:

1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

They could also make suggestive thoughts in people's minds, 2 Corinthians 11:

3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

That's the bad news but there is good news, Ephesians 4:

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.

How could the mind be 'renewed'?

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Christians have been born again with the Holy Spirit living in us. The Holy Spirit is connected to our human spirit which in turn is in contact with our mind. That's the hardware equipment.

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What does it mean practically?

Paul continues:

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

The mind is the battlefield. Both the evil spirits and the Holy Spirit work on people's minds. Evil spirits work from outside to inside. Holy Spirit works from inside to outside. Evil spirits disturb people's minds. Holy Spirit gives us peace in our minds.


Ephesians 4:23 - one of the verses I ask about - but I want to know more about the spirit of the mind. What is it? How does it work, and how could it be 'renewed'?

Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in your knowledge of Him.<

I think this is when he opens up our understanding in the spirit of our mind to grasp who we have become in him. It also must be our spirit in our mind that he enlightens us to grasp his word in understanding the spiritual things.

He took away our blindness and gave us His Spirit so we have new eyes to see with.

I found this on the web to try and help answer your question about the spirit of the mind.

This is a partial copy from https://www.preceptaustin.org/ephesians_423-24

God renews the way they (we) think. This renewal is not only in what one believes (which is vitally important), but is a belief which transforms our feelings, our attitudes and our behavior. Paul desires that we all partake of this miracle of a renewed mind which enables us to have a divine perspective on things.

The present tense indicates that the spirit of their mind is continually being renewed. The passive voice indicates that the subject (the believer's mind) is acted upon by outside force (cp 2Co 4:16, Col 3:10-note) and in context this "force" or "source" is the Spirit of God (surely interconnected with the continual intake of the Word of God) not from within ourselves (cp 1Co 2:14, 15, 16)(Ep 4:22-note) This renewal The Spirit of God influences the thought processes of believers so that they begin more and more to reason from God’s viewpoint.

How else can man be daily renewed in the spirit of his mind? It seems logical that we must feed the mind sound (healthy, "hygienic") doctrine taught and illuminated by His Spirit (2Ti 1:13-note, 2Ti 4:3-note, Titus 1:9-note, Titus 2:1-note, 1Ti 1:10; 6:3;) Spirit of your mind - The human spirit, not the Holy Spirit.

Moule writes that "It is the human spirit, as the substratum, so to speak, of every activity of the "inner man," and now specially of the activity which sees and grasps truth ("your mind").

Vincent has a lengthy note writing that... The spirit is the human spirit, having its seat in and directing the mind. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is never designated so as that man appears as the subject of the Spirit. We have Spirit of adoption, of holiness, of God, but never Holy Spirit of man. Furthermore, the apostle’s object is to set forth the moral self-activity of the Christian life. Hence pneuma, spirit, is here the higher life-principle in man by which the human reason, viewed on its moral side — the organ of moral thinking and knowing is informed. The renewal takes place, not in the mind, but in the spirit of it.

Why would Satan want to attack the believer's new mind? Because your mind is the part of the image of God where God communicates with you and reveals His will to you. God renews our lives by renewing our minds, (Ro 12:2-note) and he renews our minds through his truth. This truth is the Word of God.


In the case of Eph 4:23, BDAG suggests the following meaning and sub-meaning for the Greek word, pneuma: 3. Part of the human personality, spirit, ... (c) spiritual state, state og mind, disposition, eg, 1 Cor 4:21, Gal 6:1, Eph 4:23, 1 Peter 3:4.

The NIV and others actually translates according to this meaning giving:

  • NIV: to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
  • NLT: Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
  • Amplified: and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude],
  • CEV: Let the Spirit change your way of thinking
  • GNT: Your hearts and minds must be made completely new,
  • GWT: However, you were taught to have a new attitude.
  • ISV: to be renewed in your mental attitude,

... and so forth. We use "spirit" in a similar way in English when we say something like, "That child is displaying a selfish spirit" - meaning the attitude of the mind.

In Eph 2:2 we have (BLB):

in which once you walked according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience,

This appears to be "spirit" meaning an active demonic influence because of the direct reference to "ruler of the authority of the air" an veiled reference to Satan. Ellicott suggests this:

The prince of the power of the air.—The connection of the “world” with the Evil One as its “prince” is not uncommon in Holy Scripture (see John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11); and the “power” of this passage is exactly that which Satan claims as “committed” to him in Luke 4:32.

Barnes is similar:

According to the prince of the power of the air - see Ephesians 6:12; compare the notes at 2 Corinthians 4:4. There can be no doubt that Satan is here intended, and that Paul means to say that they were under his control as their leader and prince. The phrase, "the prince of the power," may mean either "the powerful prince," or it may mean that this prince had power over the air, and lived and reigned there particularly.

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