I’ve searched over this site to make sure this question wasn’t already asked, and I saw some similar questions.

Nevertheless, let’s get started:

“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.

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

I Corinthians‬ ‭2:14-16‬

I’ve actually never understood this verse, is Paul saying that Christ’s mind dwells in us? I’m confused. Can someone explain to me the hermeneutical options?

Q: What did Paul mean by “we have the mind of Christ”?

5 Answers 5


Those who have the mind of Christ are able to discern spiritual things that the natural man cannot understand or see.

Having the mind of Christ enables one to see what is freely given to him that the natural man is unable to receive.

For what person knows the things of a person except the spirit of the person that is in him? So also, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. 13And we speak of these things, not with words taught by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. 1:Cor. 2:12-13

Christ is the only one who has known the mind of the Lord. In Christ is where all wisdom and treasures are hidden. Christ's mind can enlighten our minds as to what God's Spirit is revealing to our Spirit in regard to spiritual things. If we did not have Christ's mind we would not be able to understand the things that the Spirit is saying to our spirit. Only through Christ's mind can we begin to even understand God's purposes and His thoughts.

  • +1 > But we have the mind of Christ (ἡμεις δε νουν Χριστου ἐχομεν [hēmeis de noun Christou echomen]). As he has already shown (verses 6 to 13). Thus with the mind (νους [nous]. -- Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (1 Co 2:16). Broadman Press.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 21:19

The operative word in 1 Cor 2:16 is νοῦς (nous), a word that means almost the same in English as the Greek. More specifically, BDAG ascribes three shades meanings to this word:

  1. the faculty of intellectual perception (a) mind, intellect, eg, Rom 7:22, 23, 25; (b) understanding, mind, eg, Luke 24:45, Rev 13:18, Phil 4:7, 2 Thess 2:2
  2. way of thinking, mind attitude as the sum total of the whole mental and moral state of being, (a) as possessed by every person ... be transformed by the renewing of your mind, which come about when Christians have their natural νοῦς penetrated and transformed by the Spirit which they receive at baptism, Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23, Rom 1:28, Eph 4:17, Col 2:18, 2 Tim 3:8, 1 Tim 6:5, Titus 1:15, (b) specifically of the Christian attitude or way of thinking, eg, 1 Cor 1:10
  3. result of thinking, mind, thought, opinion, decree, Rom 14:5, 1 Cor 2:16a. When Paul continues in the latter passage (1 Cor 2:16b) ... he is using the Scriptural word νοῦςto denote what he usually calls πνεῦμα (1 Cor 2:14). He can do this because his νοῦς (since he is a 'pneumatic' person) is filled with the Spirit (see 2a above), so that in his case the two are interchangeable. Such a νοῦς is impossible for a 'psychic' person.

Note #3 above and the BDAG extended explanation. Thus, "the mind of Christ" appears to be a Spirit-filled person - the distinction is explained in detail in Rom 8:5-9

5 Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

Ellicott is more succinct in his comments about 2 Cor 2:16b

But we have the mind of Christ.—That is, spiritual men, including the Apostles. The Apostle here identifies Christ with the Spirit, whom he has previously spoken of as the Teacher of spiritual things. He does not mean to assert that the Apostles knew all that the mind of Christ knew, but that all things which they did know were from Him and spiritual (John 15:15).

Barnes is even briefer:

The mind of Christ - The views, feelings, and temper of Christ. We are influenced by his Spirit.


The correct understanding of this passage is lost on people in the last few hundred years because, in order to support the dogma of "The Blessed Trinity," English translators coined a new word, that had never existed in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, German, and certainly not English. That word is "spirit."

Prior to the coining of that bogus word, the text in any language would have read:

[1Co 2:10-13 NASB95 MODIFIED BY RUMINATOR] [10] For to us [IE: "TO US APOSTLES"] God revealed [them] through the BREATH; for the BREATH searches all things, even the depths of God. [11] For who among men knows the [thoughts] of a man except the BREATH of the man which is in him? Even so the [thoughts] of God no one knows except the BREATH of God. [12] Now we have received, not the BREATH of the world, but the BREATH who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, [13] which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the BREATH, combining BREATHLY [thoughts] with BREATHLY.]

For the ancients, the invisible, personal breath was like an intelligent organ. The breath is how God and Jesus search the things of a man, and, if a man has God's breath, he knows what God is thinking.

So prior to the Fatwah driven creation of the word "spirit," from the Latin word "spiritus," which means "breath," and the coining of the word "ghost," from the German word for "breath," fake terms like "spirit" and "ghost" were simply about "breath."

So Paul is explaining that the wisdom of the Apostles was not from philosophers of the day, or science, or Jewish leaders, but because they share Christ's BREATH, and thereby know the things of Christ:

[Jhn 20:22 NASB95] [22] And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.

No! Rather:

[Jhn 20:22 NASB95] [22] And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy BREATH.

This all goes back to Genesis:

[Gen 2:7 NASB95] [7] Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Once you wrap your mind around this, verses like this make more sense:

[Rom 8:2 NASB95] [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Aggh, NO! Rather:

[Rom 8:2 NASB95] [2] For the law of the BREATH of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

More evidence:

[Psa 104:29-30 CSB] [29] When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. [30] When you send your breath, they are created, and you renew the surface of the ground.

[2Ti 3:16 NIV] [16] All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

In contrast, the disobedient are controlled by "bad breath":

[Eph 2:2 VUL] [2] in quibus aliquando ambulastis secundum saeculum mundi huius secundum principem potestatis aeris huius spiritus qui nunc operatur in filios diffidentiae

Notice the link above.

Also notice that Google Translate of the Vulgate has no comma between "air" and "breath" but actually render the genitive as "the air of THIS breath" because the bad air is the content of the bad breath. That is how Jerome read it. The commas are more shenanigans by English translators, to perpetuate the lie of "spirit."

[Eze 37:9-10 NASB20] [9] Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'The Lord GOD says this: "Come from the four winds, breath, and breathe on these slain, so that they come to life."'" [10] So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

[Act 17:25 NASB20] [25] nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all [people] life and breath and all things;

[2Th 2:8 NASB20] [8] Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

[Rev 11:11 NASB20] [11] And after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them.

And I almost forgot my favorite:

[Act 2:1-4 NASB95] 1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. [2] And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. [4] And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

  • 1
    Does this correctly apply your analysis to verses 13-15? "And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit [Breath], interpreting spiritual [breathing (?)] truths to those who are spiritual [breathing (?)]. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit [Breath] of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually [breathing (?)] discerned. The spiritual [breathing (?)] person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one." IOW if spirit = breath does spiritual = breathing? Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 18:42
  • Everyone who breathes is by definition a "breather." But what are they breathing? Good air, from God? Or bad air from the Aion. Please see: quora.com/What-does-Paul-mean-in-Ephesians-2-1-4/answer/…
    – Ruminator
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 19:13
  • Spiritus did not exist in Latin? Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 21:36
  • It was a Roman word that meant "breath," not "spirit." Why would Jerome refer to "the air of this spirit"? What has "air" to do with "spirits"?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 21:57
  • 1
    What has air to do with the mind? Are you suggesting the meaning is "air head?" Commented Dec 19, 2023 at 22:00

Literary Structure
1 Corinthians 2:16 (DLNT):

For “who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will instruct Him?” [Isa 40:13] and we have the mind of Christ!

The verse has been composed using parallelism. Perhaps Paul uses the two rhetorical questions inviting a direct parallel to two known conditions only one of which is stated:

  • (1) Who knew the mind of the Lord? (2) Who instructed the Lord?
  • (1) We have the mind of Christ - (Implied) We have been instructed.

By omitting the final statement, the effect is to ask who instructs you?

The verse also uses mind to form an inverse parallelism:

  • A: Who knew the mind of the Lord?
  • X: Who instructed the Lord?
  • A': We have the mind of Christ.

This device places emphasis on who and/or how you have the mind of Christ.

Background - Greek Old Testament
1 Corinthians 2:16 (DLNT):

For “who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will instruct Him?” [Isa 40:13]...
τίς γὰρ ἔγνω νοῦν κυρίου ὃς συμβιβάσει αὐτόν

As the DLNT translation notes, Paul begins the statement by quoting from Isaiah:

Isaiah 40:13 (LXX-NETS)

Who has known the mind of the Lord and who has been his counselor to instruct him?
τίς ἔγνω νοῦν κυρίου καὶ τίς αὐτοῦ σύμβουλος ἐγένετο ὃς συμβιβᾷ αὐτόν

The use of καὶ in Isaiah means the verse has two rhetorical questions: 1) Who has known the mind of the Lord and been His counselor? 2) Who has instructed Him? Paul cites the LXX verbatim but simplifies the first question by omitting the phrase καὶ τίς αὐτοῦ σύμβουλος ἐγένετο, and been His counselor.

Background - Hebrew Old Testament
Paul's change to the LXX follows the Hebrew:

Who has measured[a] the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel? (ESV)
[a] Isaiah 40:13 Or has directed

The Hebrew asks two questions. 1) Who "measured" the Spirit of YHVH. [The ESV translation note shows, measured could be directed.] 2) What man shows Him his counsel? The Hebrew of the first question is straightforward, but conceptually difficult. How could the Spirit of YHVH measured?

Isaiah 40:13 (NJPS):

Who has plumbed the mind of the LORD, what man could tell Him His plan?

The NJPS follows the LXX by understanding Spirit as mind.

The Gospel
The Gospel records Jesus explaining the mind of Christ is to be taught by the Holy Spirit, remember everything Jesus taught, and to have His peace:

26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

It also explains the who gives and/or instructs the mind of Christ:

John 14:

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

It is suggested in another answer that "spirit" is a Trinitarian distortion of a word which simply describes "breath." The words of Jesus state otherwise. Jesus first calls the Spirit of Truth, allos parakletos which means "another" parakletos. allos means another of the same type. The first parakletos is Jesus (1 John 2:1). The Spirit of Truth cannot be the breath of truth because Jesus was not a "breath." In fact, that was the heresy of Marcion of Sinope who taught Jesus was a spiritual entity.

Additionally, when the Parakletos, Jesus, says He will send allos Parakletos, He is stating mutual equality despite a difference, which at the time He spoke was physical.

Finally, Paul's uses of Isaiah implies the two questions were not rhetorical:

  1. Who directed the Spirit of YHVH? Jesus who had the Father send the Spirit
  2. What man instructs the Spirit of YHVH? Jesus Christ

Seeking of wisdom thru scripture challenges the ardent listener to run between dogmatism and enlightenment. The dogmatism route leaves him a bigot but enlightenment may do that as well. Christ served parables and the mind of christ is big faith but he said small(mustard seed) is beautiful

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
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  • I’m not sure what being dogmatic has to do with bigotry.
    – Cork88
    Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 4:23

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