Having the Mind of Christ

For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:10b-16, ESV)

Before I came to faith in Christ there were parts of the Bible that I did not especially like, and I resisted some aspects of what I understood it to say. Some parts, like those dealing with love and being forgiven, were appealing. But other parts that spoke of judgment for sin, or forgiving others, were not so appealing. It was less a case of my not understanding what the Bible said, but more my not valuing it, appreciating it, or accepting it. Even as a new Christian, I did not automatically welcome all that the Bible said. I knew I had important things to learn, but I still resisted some directives that challenged how I lived my life. My heart perspective and attitude acted as a filter that allowed me to receive some teachings, but made it harder to recognize or receive others. As Paul explains in this letter, I’m not alone in this experience.

Earlier in this chapter, Paul has been describing how his teaching ministry was not dependent on his own wisdom or ability to skillfully craft words, but rather on the power of God, demonstrated in Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, and as the Holy Spirit works within us to instruct us. Paul did not want his hearers to accept his teaching because of his own cleverness, but because God was at work, and his teaching was ultimately from God. But Paul also recognized that without the Holy Spirit’s help, his hearers may not be open to or accept this teaching from God, thinking it to be foolishness, not wisdom. The issue was not a matter of being smart enough to understand it, but rather, being open enough to God’s work within them to help them see the value and importance of what Paul was teaching them. On their own, it just did not make good sense to them.

When we teach, it is tempting to think that, if we can just find the right way to say something, we’ll get our point across, and our students will be open to and accept what we’re teaching. In reality, however, for someone to accept the message of Scripture, that person’s heart must be humble and teachable, open to God, and open to the work of the Spirit who helps them to see how good and important the message actually is. Without God’s help, our hearers can easily reject the Scripture message we share as foolishness, unwise, and unwelcome. The Holy Spirit’s work within people can open them up to the Scriptures in a way that God uses to transform them.

So, what does this mean for me as a teacher? I have come to understand that doing my best to prepare my Bible studies well is still important, but the true, lasting impact of anything I teach depends both on the wisdom of God shown in the Scriptures and in the work of the Spirit in the lives of those I teach. Learners whose hearts are not tuned to the wisdom of God can resist and devalue good teaching, resulting in no lasting life impact. But when the learner is open to the Spirit’s work, receptivity grows. So, along with preparing my Bible studies well, I need to pray for those I teach, that their hearts would be open to the Holy Spirit’s drawing them to faith in Christ, and enabling them to recognize and welcome God’s wisdom as we study His Word together. I also must be patient and loving with those I teach, recognizing how difficult it can be for some to accept what they are reading or hearing. I can empathize with them, remembering my own similar struggles.

As you teach, keep in mind your own past struggles to understand and accept different aspects of the Bible’s teaching. Pray for those you teach, that the Holy Spirit would be at work to help them receive the Scripture lesson and to be open to God’s work of transformation. Be patient with those who resist or dismiss what you teach, remembering your own similar challenges. Finally, be thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit within you and within those you teach, recognizing that He is our teacher and transformer, that the power of teaching and learning rests with His work within us!

Father, thank you for giving me the mind of Christ, the Spirit of God to enable me to understand and welcome what you teach me through your Scriptures. May the impact of my teaching rest, not on the cleverness of my words, but on the powerful work of your Spirit. Help me to teach well, doing my part to help others understand your Word. Please take my effort and use it by the power of your Spirit to instruct and transform those I teach. All the praise and glory will be yours! Amen.

Join the Mailing List

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Purchase the Book

Buy Now