The Mind of Christ Part 2

            As noted in my previous post, the phrase ‘we have the mind of Christ’ is from 1 Corinthians 2:16. I stated that I would get into the practical aspects of accessing Jesus’ mind. To do that we start by backing up a bit in the chapter with the following verses.

9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:9–12 (NKJV)

            First, a little more context. We know that Paul concluded this section by stating that he and Sosthenes had the mind of Christ. However, he wasn’t simply contrasting his views with the views of the believers in Corinth. Clearly, they did not have the mind of Christ or he wouldn’t have written this corrective letter, yet in his writing he was also contrasting his views with those of the world and those who crucified Jesus!

Importantly, Paul shares how he received the mind of Christ – through the Spirit. Having the Lord’s mind, as I noted in my last post, is about having His perspective. Paul’s point in the passage above is that the things of God are revealed to us by the Spirit, that is they are available to us as believers. He is quite explicit in his conclusion, ‘we have received…the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.’

            In applying this idea of receiving from the Spirit we immediately run into a problem. In the modern church many people claim to hear things from the Spirit that the discerning recognize are not in line with scripture. Just as some in the Corinthian church had very wrong ideas. To sort through this, it is important to recognize that Paul did not arbitrarily claim to receive things from the Spirit then try to present them as settled doctrine. Even though he received the gospel directly from Jesus (Galatians 1:11-12), he went and submitted it to those who were apostles before he was to confirm he was hearing correctly (Galatians 2:1-10). We see in larger doctrinal debates in the church a reference back to existing scripture, the Old Testament. In Acts 15:15-17 James quoted Amos to support his conclusion. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 Peter appealed to what was happening by drawing on the Old Testament, Joel chapter 2.

My point, whatever perspective we hold must be rooted in scripture. In writing to Timothy, Paul highlighted the importance of scripture.  

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NKJV)

We can and should hear and receive from the Spirit so that we have the mind of Christ. However, given Paul felt the need to assess what he heard directly from Jesus we certainly need to weigh whatever we hear alongside what the scriptures have to say.

            In my next and final post on this subject I will address what Paul is getting at regarding the spiritual and natural as we go a little deeper into 1 Corinthians 2:13-16.

The Mind of Christ Part 1

            We have the mind of Christ is a phrase we can use or a reality we choose to try and live out each day. I prefer the latter. To understand how we live it we need to start with scripture.

16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:20–24 (NKJV)

1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1–2 (NKJV)

            In general, when I have heard the phrase ‘we have the mind of Christ’ used it is in reference to the idea that we as Christians have Christ’s mind. When thinking that through the idea is clearly not that simple. If we as believers all have the mind of Christ there would be no doctrinal issues in the church, we would all agree. Quite frankly, in my nearly four decades of Christian experience I can state emphatically that many of us frequently do not have the mind of Christ on a matter.

To understand how Paul expressed the concept we will look at the context and the meaning of the idea of having someone’s mind on something. A better expression might be perspective. We can see it when we plug it in and look at the Randy version, 16 For “who has known the perspective of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the perspective of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16.

My bible has a centre column reference for the verses from the Old Testament verses that Paul draws upon to say, ‘who has known the mind of the Lord?’ The verses are below.  

8 Have you heard the counsel of God? Do you limit wisdom to yourself? Job 15:8 (NKJV)

13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has taught Him? Isaiah 40:13 (NKJV)

The idea of counsel is just that the sharing of ideas, hearing the counsel of others to gain perspective. In context Paul was saying that in writing to the Corinthians he and Sosthenes (1 Corinthians 1:1) had determined Jesus’ perspective on the matters they had written to Paul asking about. It would be wonderful if Paul had added, ‘this is how we determined Jesus’ perspective.’ Obviously, Paul didn’t do that, at least not here.

For Part 1 I have raised the issue of the need for the perspective of Jesus, having His mind. I have also asserted that it is something we need to determine, not something we have by default as a believer. I do believe we have access, however, just as I may have food in the fridge or cupboard, it does me no good sitting there, I need to access it. In Part 2 I will get at the practical aspect of getting Jesus’ perspective on a matter – being renewed in the spirit of our minds and setting our minds on things above.

What Every Joint Supplies

In my last post I addressed the importance of community in general and the role that we as believers are called to play in strengthening our communities. Here we will look more specifically at the importance of community within the church. We are called to be salt and light in our culture and one way we do that is by demonstrating a community which is far greater than that which the world around us possesses. I know that isn’t the experience of many of us in the church but it is clearly the call of scripture. Every time we partake of communion (koinonia in Greek, which means participation or fellowship) we are declaring our common union and fellowship with Jesus and our brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe we need to not only announce it, we need to live it.    

Ephesian 4 is one place where we see the purpose ad benefit of our common union. Here we see the fruit of community within the church illustrated.

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV)

While I believe in the present day need for the five-fold ministry giftings of verse 11 I am aware not everyone does, which is fine. We can simply think if it as leadership in the church. The passage is about the purpose of leaders in equipping the saints and preparing them to minister. We also have the exhortation to speak the truth in love. These are important points. However, while providing the passage for context, I want to focus on one verse, 16.

            This verse is about community and growth in the body. When we break it down a bit we first, we see “the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies.” We then see, “according to the effective working by which every part does its share.” Finally, the result, “causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” 

            Bodies cannot function without joints. While that is obvious, I don’t know how often we reflect on what a joint is and does. A joint is a relationship between parts. Some joints are simple hinge joints like our knee or elbow. Others like the ankle are a little more complex and one that is often injured is the shoulder. Most of us are familiar with the term ‘rotator cuff injury’ because it is quite common. The reason it is easily injured is that the shoulder joint is a complex number of parts coming together.  

Going back to Paul, his point is that the body of Christ is held together and grows by the relationships within it, community. The more the parts the greater the opportunity for injury and the greater capacity to move through a varied range of motion. Taking this analogy into church life, the greater the number of people the greater the opportunity for both offences and effective growth.

As per my note on different joints, some relationships are more complex than others, but all are needed. Joints supply something, they accomplish work. When that is done effectively in the human body it enables effective functioning, in the body of Christ it causes growth.

            We can relate this to a home group, bible study or church service. I will use a Sunday morning service to illustrate how joints should function. The sermon and worship are important on any given Sunday morning, yet the focus for Paul is not on the music or sermon. His focus is on whether they lead to the members connecting, being joints, and building one another up. The interaction at the entrance, outside the bathroom, at the back of the sanctuary, are all opportunities for the body to experience community. Leadership should facilitate this and many other opportunities. If they don’t we come in on a Sunday, stand and sit on cue and leave without these interactions. In that case we are not part of a community, we are part of an organization or system.

            Given that most of us are not leaders in the body of Christ our role is to make connections, find the other parts of our joint when we have the opportunity so that the body will grow. To paraphrase a famous line from Martin Luther King Junior, “Be the best part of a joint in the world and the world will beat a path to your door.” I have often thought that King came up with his idea from Proverbs.

29 Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men. Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV)

Whenever we encounter another member of the body of Christ, we have the opportunity to be part of a joint, to join with them in strengthening the body by encouraging them, praying for one another, helping one another focus on Jesus and many other similar things. We can be a healthy joint.

As a concluding thought, the idea of a solitary Christian is an oxymoron. We were created for community and to strengthen one another. As Paul put it,

13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (NKJV)  

If we aren’t presently taking the opportunities to embrace our function as part of a joint let’s find some other parts we can connect and join with to see His body grow in a healthy way. We are called to do what we can with what we have where are, demonstrating koinonia, Christian community!


            A principle I was taught while growing up was to try and leave things better than I found them. Here I will apply that concept to community. I have in the past referenced the importance of the following verse from Proverbs.

11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 11:11 (NKJV)

In looking at this it is important to remember that a city is a community made up of many people with differing views and desires. Here is a brief example that highlights what I am referencing. I was recently speaking with someone at a Pickleball court and I noted all he has done over the years to build community where he lives. He volunteers and helps out in a variety of areas. He does this because he not only sees what is, he sees what could be and so invests his life in his community. While this man is not a believer, he blesses and strengthens his community by his actions.

I seek to think from a scriptural perspective and part of a scriptural perspective is recognizing the importance of building a community. For example, I remember years ago helping to rebuild the playground in our neighbourhood. This wasn’t a ‘Christian’ event but it was an event that helped to strengthen community in our neighbourhood, which is Christian.

In line with the broader idea of community there is another verse in Proverbs that is important.

2 Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge Right will be prolonged. Proverbs 28:2 (NKJV)

Currently in our land, Canada, we are in a precarious place. Right is not only not being prolonged; it is being fought against in our nation. The most vehement opposition is coming from many of our elected officials and our education system. We need men and women with understanding and knowledge to rise up to establish righteousness in our nation. We won’t get anywhere by cursing the darkness, it is easy to see the transgressions. What we need is wisdom to shine the light of truth in every corner of our land so that what is right is strengthened.

            One way to shine the light of truth is through looking at how we engage in prayer. The pattern of prayer for specific places is a pattern in scripture. In Psalm 122 there is an exhortation to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. That would include praying for the spiritual and religious leaders to walk in the way of peace and wisdom. In context Israel was at the time living in the land Yahweh had given them and Jerusalem was their capital city, religiously and politically.  

6  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.” Psalm 122:6 (NKJV)

Another example of the call to pray for a specific city is in Jeremiah. The nation was going into captivity. Rather than telling them to curse their captors (the Lord was causing this as judgement for their apostasy) Jeremiah said to pray for the city because by blessing it they would have peace in living in this new place.

7  And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace. Jeremiah 29:7 (NKJV)

            In summary, wherever we live and act we have the opportunity to be a blessing and strengthen our community and nation. After all, a nation is made up of many communities. We have the opportunity to focus our prayers and actions on ways to build supportive godly communities. Without knowing when Jesus will return, we can focus our efforts on doing what we can with what we have where we are. We all have the opportunity to leave things better than we found them so let’s bless the places we live!