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.