The Bible Edge
Everyone needs an Edge, Believers can have a Bible Edge
I Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
As with any Bible doctrine, a few foundational truths will lower the risk of falling into doctrinal error. One such truth for the subject of Biblical spirituality is found in today’s verse. Simply put, natural minded individuals will not receive the things of the Spirit of God. Spiritual things are foolish to those who are only natural, meaning carnal and worldly. These cannot know the things of the Spirit because those things are spiritually discerned (understood, recognized, or received). If they have not the Spirit of God as their teacher, leading their soul, they have not the ability to understand things of that Spirit.
For example, I Corinthians 1:18 states: For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Three verses later Paul follows up on this thought; For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. In that which we would call a “tongue in cheek” statement Paul says, “the foolishness of preaching.” Not that preaching is foolishness, far from it. But those who are not “saved,” who do not have nor understand the wisdom of God, preaching is foolish. Later in I Corinthians 4:10 Paul does it again. He claims that he and his fellow helpers are …fools for Christ’s sake…
Preaching is not foolish, neither are those who preach. But they are spiritual. Therein lies the conflict. Ironically, those who preach spiritually Biblical messages understand both natural things (earthly things, worldly things) and spiritual things. Those who are only natural are at a disadvantage. Because a preacher can understand both realms, the natural person only understands those things they can see, understand, feel, etc. which are only natural things. This is why two people can sit in the same church, hear the same message, read the same Bible, and pray the same prayers and one gets something out of it, and the other simply just gets out. “Whew, that’s over” they may think but probably would never say.
Perhaps when Paul wrote to Timothy saying, Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (II Timothy 2:7), the phrase “in all things” means all things both spiritual and natural. For to rightly divide the Word of God a person must understand both. But if they only understand physical things, they will never understand spiritual things. Many can take a verse, or many verses, of the Bible and live them for they naturally make sense. Yet, they stumble over the spiritual truths of God’s Word.
A Bible Edge is this: understand that those who we wish would understand the spiritual truths of God’s Word, cannot. Not if they are only “natural” as the Bible labels them.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.