Scripture: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

Observation: This section of 1 Cor. 2 has the subheading “Wisdom from the Spirit.” Paul is laying out in a variety of ways that the wisdom from God, through the Holy Spirit, is greater than the wisdom of the world.  He says it’s greater than the “wisdom of this age” (v. 6).  It’s a wisdom that is “secret” with God (v. 7).  In other words, it would be hidden with God forever, if it had not been reveled to us in by His Spirit (v. 10) through His Word!  No one could have understood it otherwise (v.8)!  Paul says if they HAD understood it, they would not have crucified Christ!  How much do we do today that we would not do if we had the mind of Christ?  And so the Spirit gives us not human wisdom, but Spiritual Truth in Spiritual words (v. 13).  Consequently, a person who does not have the Spirit of God by faith cannot understand or “discern” (v. 14) the things of God.  But THANK GOD we, by faith and the Spirit, have the mind of Christ (v. 16)

Application: I remember a toy that was in cereal boxes when I was a kid.  It was the MAGIC DECODER RING!  Just thinking about it now brings back memories of the commercials.  (They sold more cereal by the toys inside the box than the food value, I think!)  Even if you don’t remember the magic decoder ring, the concept is a simple one.  A “secret” message was written in a code, using the “key” of the magic decoder ring.  You needed the ring to write a message, and you needed that same ring (or key) to read and understand that message.  My son is taking an “encryption” class in college for his computer science degree.  It’s a bit more complicated, but internet security works on the same concept.  This passage of Scripture makes me think of the magic decoder ring.  God has written a message for us to receive – but that message was encoded by the Holy Spirit.  We speak of the Bible as being “inspired” by the Holy Spirit; that’s kind of like the encoding process.  The Bible was spiritually written or encoded by the Holy Spirit.  So, much like the magic decoder ring, we need the same Holy Spirit to decode and understand that message.  It makes sense then that the Apostle Paul would say that a person without the Holy Spirit would not be able to understand spiritual things that are revealed by God and must be spiritually discerned.  In other words, they need the “magic decoder ring” of the Holy Spirit to understand the spiritually encoded message of the Bible.  But since they don’t have faith, they don’t have the Spirit, and can’t understand God’s message – it remains foolishness to them.  (see also 1 Cor. 1:18)

PrayerThank you Lord that we as believers have the Holy Spirit and can understand your message of wisdom that you have revealed to us in Your Word.  Help us to truly appreciate this gift, and to share it with others.  May more people receive your Spirit and therefore comprehend your message of Good news.  Amen!