- The NATURAL man RECEIVETH not THINGS of the spirit of God: for THEY ARE foolishness unto him: neither can he KNOW them, because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED. 1 Cor 2:14.
- NATURAL: This suggests that there is another kind of man which undoubtably is the spiritual man(NM). Substituting spiritual man(SM) for natural man, 1 Cor 2:14 reads, ” The spiritual man receiveth things of the Spirit of God: for they are wisdom unto him: he knows them because he can spiritually discern them. It is noteworthy that a natural man seems to operate in opposite direction of a spiritual man.
While the NM tries to understand things based on their physical attributes, a spiritual man receives the understanding from the Spirit of God and discern its applicability to physical form through the wisdom of God.
- RECEIVETH. This word describes how the spiritual antenna of the two men works. While a natural man can not receive things from the Spirit of God, a SM does. Also, the word suggests a transfer of understanding and wisdom from God to the mind of a SM.
- THINGS: this suggests a distinction btw natural things and spiritual things. This is imperative as a natural man can not access spiritual things through carnal means. But, what is the nature of the things received or receivable from the Spirit of God? By form, God is spirit and his word is spirit too. Since receiving invisible form of things of the spirit must produce an actionable or well defined communication, it can be said that the word of God is what carries the imprint of the things we receive of God. In the gospel of John, John revealed the word incarnate. Understanding how the word of God which is Jesus was made fresh becomes very fundamental in understanding the process of transformation and transition of things received from the spirit to its physical equivalence.
Having said that what carries the things of the Spirit of God is the word of God, it is important to note that, though the word changes not, we are responsible for discerning it moments of application based on real time divine revelation. This is the basic distinction between the logos and the rhema of God: that the word enlightens situations with wisdom for such moments.
- THEY ARE: this shows how natural man regards or classify things of the Spirit of God. “They are” has to do with the mindset with which a natural man approaches things of the Spirit. Because he has a predisposition that the things of God are foolish things, the natural man denies himself the deep divine wisdom embedded in the word of God.
In the same vein, the phrase suggests a kind of unbelief or lack of faith characterising the life of a natural man. While the NM has a mindset that things of the Spirit are of no possible benefits, the spiritual man searches, yearn and desire to receive the things of the Spirit of God because they are carriers of wisdom, exploits and power.
- KNOW: This is not talking about academic knowledge. The synonym to the word “know” within the context in the verse is “RECOGNISE”. The power of recognition is the final configuration of a wise heart. Recognition has to do with the ability to interpreted how the word has been, is being or would be made fresh. Recognition is deep stuffs and it is not accessible to natural men in their shallow mindedness.
- SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED: this is connected to note 5 above. I have tried to assert on many occasion that what Solomon asked for was “discernment not wisdom”. It is discernment that make people judge right from wrong. Wisdom is a bye product of discernment. If one can recognise the deep things of life by discernment, he will start acting wise and can be said to have wisdom. May be I should put is that discernment is the means while wisdom is the end. It is wisdom that helps one to live distinctively and excellently.
In sum, a natural man doesn’t even know what it means to be natural. But there is one thing a spiritual man knows. That is that “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. May God bless you with a wise heart and a discerning mind so that you can recognise dangers in live and avoid them and opportunities in live to maximise them.