(or…how to study your Bible)
The mind of Christ is unsearchable, really. The closest I’ve been to even considering it on a daily basis is when *stuff* happens and my quippy quick and proud response is something akin to, “Lord, what are you thinking?!” Sigh. Stupid me.
I want to finish dumping my brain on this Bible study. What caught my eye initially was “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:16). When trying to understand a passage of scripture, it’s very important to read it in context. Meaning, back up and read, sometimes a few lines and sometimes a few chapters! In fact, when backing up from v.16, the previous two verses begin with “but”, so I could go back even further to read what those two “but”s were contrasting.
Sometimes it helps to break up natural pauses, like where the commas are. And sometimes I like to focus on the verbs. Here, I picked up on four verbs: receiving (things of the spirit of God), knowing (them), rightly judging all things (discerning) and being judged of no man (no condemnation). In looking up the word “mind” I found that many, many verses throughout the Bible fit in with those four big ideas. It is SO cool to see phrases and ideas repeat and repeat throughout the scripture, especially when I remember that these books were written by so many people, so many hundreds and thousands of years apart, from so many different lands….and yet they all spoke of the same thing. I love the Bible. It is so precious, and what a gracious God to give it to us, to not leave us guessing about Him or history or what is to come or how we are to walk.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 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. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The Lord says we are to rightly judge all things, to discern between the silly and the sober (Titus 2:6, 1 Peter 1:13). And rightly judging means, I think, that when confronted with a teaching in the Bible that contradicts what I already “know”, that I must be willing to change my mind, to change my course of thinking to make sure my mind is in harmony with His (Num 16:28). It also means being discerning regarding the words that come from my mouth (Pro 29:11). It means judging what would be idolatrous (Ezekiel 20:32 ), and checking pride. Oh, pride! Chief of all stumbling blocks!
Pride is an awful thing, and has no place in a mind that wants to be ruled by Christ, filled with HIS thoughts. The consequences to pride hits hard in the mind: corruption (2 Cor 11:3), hardening (Dan 5:20), and a seat with traitors (2 Tim 3:4). God warns us not to be wise in our “own conceits” (Rom 12:16), but to be soft, teachable.
Learning to rightly judge requires a proper fear of the Lord (Rom 11:20), and a firm resolve to trust Him (Luke 12:29, 2 Thes 2:2) when He reveals that we are otherwise minded (Phil 3:15). We must not be swayed by the love of man (Num 24:13), and it is beneficial to seek out likeminded people who also love the Lord Jesus Christ to test what our minds are resting on (Rom 15:6, 1 Cor 1:10, 2 Cor 13:11, Phil 1:27, Phil 2:2-3, 1 Peter 3:8).
One of the greatest things I learned about cultivating the mind of Christ is that it is not MY job to cultivate it, but to simply with the faith He’s given to me trust Him to lead me and mold me to His way of thinking. It seems obvious that we cannot instruct God (but, boy, don’t we try?! Rom 11:34), but He does reveal Himself to us, because as His adopted children through the Lord Jesus Christ, we are His friends (John 15:15). And besides, I find it frightful at best that God Almighty not only sees every deed, but knows every thought! Why WOULDN’T I want the mind of Christ? Ezekiel 11:5 …for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.
God wants ALL of our mind conformed to His way of thinking (Matt 22:37), and He wants us humble enough to renew it (Eph 4:23) so that we are transformed to it (Rom 12:2). And yes, this IS going to mean going against the grain, confronting culture, being a bit peculiar in fact! But we are exhorted to not grow weary, and to consider HIM lest we grow faint in our minds (Heb 12:3).
It’s been an interesting study. Studying God’s Word is always interesting! I loved this verse about reading the scripture with readiness of mind:
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Want the mind of Christ? (I do!) Receive Him through repentance and faith, and read your Bible daily. Did you know that twelve to fifteen minutes a day of reading (not “in depth” study, but simply reading) gets you through the Bible in a year? And you never know what trails you’ll end up on, and it is always a blessing! May the peace of God be yours, in both heart and mind, as you allow Him to reach and teach you.