1 Corinthians 2:15
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
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(15) He that is spiritual.—The spiritual man judges all spiritual truth, but he himself is judged by none who are not spiritual. (See 1Corinthians 14:29; 1John 4:1.)

1 Corinthians 2:15-16. But he that is spiritual — Whose mind is enlightened, and his heart renewed by the Spirit of God; judgeth — Or rather discerneth; all things — Namely, all the things of God whereof we have been speaking; yet he himself is judged — Is discerned; by no man, by no natural men; they neither understand what he is, nor what he says, while, perhaps, they are very forward and confident in their censures of him: he remains, says Doddridge, like a man endowed with sight among those born blind, who are incapable of apprehending what is clear to him, and amidst their own darkness cannot participate of, nor understand, those beautiful ideas and pleasing sensations, which light pours upon him. And surely if matters be considered aright, this cannot be any cause of wonder. For who — That is not supernaturally enlightened, but is a mere natural man; hath known the mind of the Lord — Those counsels of his respecting the salvation of mankind, which exist in his eternal mind, or his deep designs concerning us; that he may instruct him? — So as to take upon him to judge of his schemes, and arraign his conduct. “There must undoubtedly be in the divine counsels many secret and hidden things, and a man must have a mind capacious as that of the blessed God himself, to take upon him to judge of his schemes. See note on Isaiah 40:13-14, the passage here referred to. But many approved commentators suppose, although the words of the prophet evidently refer to God, yet that, as they are here varied, they were intended by the apostle of the spiritual man, intending thereby chiefly a divinely-inspired teacher, and that the question means, What unenlightened, carnal man, hath known the mind of the Lord, his deep counsels, (1 Corinthians 2:10,) so that he can instruct the spiritual man? that is, as the expression, συμβιβασει αυτον, seems to imply, prove to him that the principles on which he judges of spiritual things are false, inform him of things he is ignorant of, and show him, that in believing the gospel he hath fallen into error. “The truth implied in this questions” says Macknight, “must afford great satisfaction to all the faithful. No man, no infidel, hath been, or ever will be, able to confute the gospel; or to show a better method of instructing, reforming, and saving mankind, than that which God hath chosen, and made known by revelation.” But we — Spiritual men, apostles in particular; have — Know, understand; the mind of Christ — Concerning the whole plan of gospel salvation.

2:10-16 God has revealed true wisdom to us by his Spirit. Here is a proof of the Divine authority of the Holy Scriptures, 2Pe 1:21. In proof of the Divinity of the Holy Ghost, observe, that he knows all things, and he searches all things, even the deep things of God. No one can know the things of God, but his Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and the Son, and who makes known Divine mysteries to his church. This is most clear testimony, both to the real Godhead and the distinct person of the Holy Spirit. The apostles were not guided by worldly principles. They had the revelation of these things from the Spirit of God, and the saving impression of them from the same Spirit. These things they declared in plain, simple language, taught by the Holy Spirit, totally different from the affected oratory or enticing words of man's wisdom. The natural man, the wise man of the world, receives not the things of the Spirit of God. The pride of carnal reasoning is really as much opposed to spirituality, as the basest sensuality. The sanctified mind discerns the real beauties of holiness, but the power of discerning and judging about common and natural things is not lost. But the carnal man is a stranger to the principles, and pleasures, and actings of the Divine life. The spiritual man only, is the person to whom God gives the knowledge of his will. How little have any known of the mind of God by natural power! And the apostles were enabled by his Spirit to make known his mind. In the Holy Scriptures, the mind of Christ, and the mind of God in Christ, are fully made known to us. It is the great privilege of Christians, that they have the mind of Christ revealed to them by his Spirit. They experience his sanctifying power in their hearts, and bring forth good fruits in their lives.But he that is spiritual - The man who is enlightened by the Holy Spirit in contradistinction from him who is under the influence of the senses only.

Judgeth - Greek: "Discerns." (margin); the same word as in the previous verse. It means that the spiritual man has a discernment of these truths in regard to which the sensual man was blind and ignorant.

All things - Not absolutely all things; or not that he is omniscient; but that he has a view of those things to which the apostle had reference - that is, to the things which are revealed to man by the Holy Spirit.

Yet he himself is judged - Greek, as in the margin, "is discerned;" that is, his feelings, principles, views, hopes, fears, joys, cannot be fully understood and appreciated by any natural or sensual man. He does not comprehend the principles which actuate him; he does not enter into his joys; he does not sympathize with him in his feelings. This is a matter of simple truth and universal observation. The reason is added in the following verse, that as the Christian is influenced by the Lord and as the natural man does not know him, so he cannot know him who is influenced by him; that is the Christian.

15. He that is spiritual—literally, "the spiritual (man)." In 1Co 2:14, it is "A [not 'the,' as English Version] natural man." The spiritual is the man distinguished above his fellow men, as he in whom the Spirit rules. In the unregenerate, the spirit which ought to be the organ of the Holy Spirit (and which is so in the regenerate), is overridden by the animal soul, and is in abeyance, so that such a one is never called "spiritual."

judgeth all things—and persons, by their true standard (compare 1Co 6:2-4; 1Jo 4:1), in so far as he is spiritual. "Discerneth … is discerned," would better accord with the translation of the same Greek (1Co 2:14). Otherwise for "discerned," in 1Co 2:14, translate, "judged of," to accord with the translation, "judgeth … is judged" in this fifteenth verse. He has a practical insight into the verities of the Gospel, though he is not infallible on all theoretical points. If an individual may have the Spirit without being infallible, why may not the Church have the Spirit, and yet not be infallible (a refutation of the plea of Rome for the Church's infallibility, from Mt 28:20; Joh 16:13)? As the believer and the Church have the Spirit, and are yet not therefore impeccable, so he and the Church have the Spirit, and yet are not infallible or impeccable. He and the Church are both infallible and impeccable, only in proportion to the degree in which they are led by the Spirit. The Spirit leads into all truth and holiness; but His influence on believers and on the Church is as yet partial. Jesus alone, who had the Spirit without measure (Joh 3:34), is both infallible and impeccable. Scripture, because it was written by men, who while writing were infallibly inspired, is unmixed truth (Pr 28:5; 1Jo 2:27).

He that is spiritual, in this verse, is opposed to the natural man, in the former verse, pneumatikov to qucikov. So that by spiritual here is understood, he that is taught by the Spirit of God, and is by him specially and savingly enlightened.

Judgeth or discerneth

all things, that is, of this nature, the mysteries of God, which concern man’s eternal life and salvation; not that every good Christian hath any such perfect judgment or power of discerning, but according to the measure of illumination which he hath received.

Yet he himself is judged of no man; it may as well be translated, of nothing; and the term judged might as well have been translated examined, or searched, as it is in Acts 4:9 12:19 17:11 24:8; or condemned. The wisdom that is of God is not to be subjected to the wisdom of men, nor to be judged of any man, but only the spiritual man. The truth, which the spiritual man owneth and professeth, dependeth only upon God and his word, and is not subjected to the authority and judgment of men, nor the dictates of human reason: so as the spiritual man, so far forth as he is spiritual, is neither judged by any man nor by any thing. There are some that by he himself understand the Spirit of God; he indeed

is judged of no man, nor of any thing; but that seemeth a much more strained sense.

But he that is spiritual,.... Meaning not any particular individual person, not the pope of Rome, as his adherents vainly imagine, whom they fancy to be a supreme and infallible judge in things spiritual, from whose judgment is no appeal, and who himself comes not under the judgment of any; for he is so far from being a spiritual man, or having judgment in spiritual things, that he stands described as the man of sin, the son of perdition, the wicked one, the beast, to whom a mouth is given, speaking great things and blasphemies; but a set of men are here meant, and not such who are only outwardly reformed in their lives and conversations, who are at best but moral, and not spiritual men; nor all that have a form of godliness, an appearance of spirituality; there may be such who may have this, and yet deny the power of it, in which the principle and essence of spirituality lies; nor all such who have spiritual gifts, which may be where there is no spiritual grace; or that have a greater degree of spiritual knowledge than others, or that even have a greater degree of real grace than others; for though these are certainly spiritual men, 1 Corinthians 3:1 yet they are not the only ones; others that have less knowledge and grace, are spiritual also, and are comprehended in this character; much less does it design such who have no flesh or sin in them, for there are none without sin in the present state; and if this was essential to a spiritual man, there would be no spiritual man in the world; such are only the saints in heaven, who are without fault before the throne: and after the resurrection will have spiritual bodies, as well as their spirits or souls are now made perfect: but here a spiritual man intends every man that is born of the Spirit; seeing what is born of the Spirit, is Spirit, or spiritual; from whence the regenerate man is denominated spiritual, he is such an one that is quickened by the Spirit of God, and lives spiritually by faith on Christ; he breathes after spiritual things, salvation by Christ, and an interest in him, communion with God, conformity to Christ, pardon of sin, a justifying righteousness, and eternal life: he has spiritual senses, and these in exercise; he has a spiritual sight of things, of himself, and his lost state by nature, and of the person, grace, and things of Christ; he has a spiritual hearing of the Gospel, by which faith comes; he hears so as to live, and he lives so as that he hears the joyful sound with understanding, approbation, and acceptance; he has a spiritual taste of things, of the grace of God, the fruit of Christ, and the truths of the Gospel; and he smells a sweet savour in them; he has a spiritual feeling, he feels the weight and burden of sin, the gracious influences and operations of the Spirit, and handles Christ, the word of life: he talks the spiritual language of Canaan, and his speech betrays him to be a spiritual man; and he walks spiritually by faith on Christ, and in the paths of holiness, righteousness, and truth: he is one that is renewed by the Holy Spirit, in the spirit of his mind; has a new heart, and a new spirit put within him; and is become a new creature in Christ: he has the good work of grace wrought in his soul; and in him grace is the reigning principle; in him the Spirit of God himself dwells, and he is led by him out of himself to Christ, and into all truth, and walks after him, and not after the flesh: his conversation is spiritual and heavenly; he is spiritually minded, he minds not the things of the flesh, but the things of the Spirit; and though there is a great deal of carnality in him, in his thoughts, his words, and actions, yet this is matter of grief to him, and is his daily complaint: and such an one

judgeth all things; or "discerneth all things"; not all things in nature, or which fall within the compass of human knowledge; there are many things he may have no knowledge of, nor judgment in, being for the most part not the wise and prudent, but the foolish things of the world who are spiritual; but things divine and spiritual, the things of the Spirit of God, the doctrines of the Gospel before spoken of; and these not every difficult passage of Scripture, or knotty point of controversy, but the several articles of faith, necessary and essential to salvation; these are plain and easy to him, they stand before him in a clear light; as that salvation is alone by Christ, pardon by his blood, justification by his righteousness, &c. these he has seen and tasted of, and relishes, and can discern things that differ, and approve those which are more excellent; he can distinguish truth from error, and the voice of Christ from the voice of a stranger; and knows when the Gospel is preached, and when not, of which he judges by the word of God and his own experience: not that every spiritual man has a like degree of spiritual knowledge and judgment, but everyone discerns and judges according to the measure of the gift of Christ:

yet he himself is judged of no man; or "discerned of no man": that is, not of any natural man; who is not capable of discerning and judging who and what he is; only a spiritual man can discern and judge of his spiritual light, grace, and state; as the churches of Christ do, when persons are proposed to, them for communion; the other knows him not, but takes him to be a weak, or a wicked man, an hypocrite and a deceiver; and it is a small thing with him to be judged of man's judgment; he cares not what judgment the natural man passes upon him; nor does his faith in things spiritual, stand upon the authority and judgment of men; nor will he submit to it; nor can he be reproved, convinced, and refuted by such a person: for though a thousand sophistic arguments may be used with him which he cannot answer, he has a witness within himself to the truths of the Gospel, which opposes itself, and stands its ground against all objections; as with respect to the impurity of human nature, the impotency of man to anything that is spiritually good of himself, the insufficiency of his righteousness to justify him before God, the proper deity and real excellency of Christ, his blood and righteousness, and the internal work of the Spirit of God on the heart; sooner may a rock be removed out of its place, than a truly spiritual man can be convicted by a natural man of the falsehood of these things, of which he has had an inward experience, as well as is instructed in them by the word of God; nor can he be better taught and instructed by the natural man.

{14} But he that is spiritual {r} judgeth all things, yet {15} he himself is judged of {s} no man.

(14) He amplifies the matter by opposites.

(r) Understands and discerns.

(15) The wisdom of the flesh, Paul says, determines nothing certainly, no not in its own affairs, much less can it discern strange, that is, spiritual things. But the Spirit of God, with which spiritual men are endued, can by no means be deceived, and therefore be reproved by any man.

(s) Of no man: for when the prophets are judged of the prophets, it is the Spirit that judges, and not the man.

1 Corinthians 2:15. He who is spiritual, on the other hand, judges all things, but is for his own part (αὐτός) judged by no one; so lofty is his position, high above all the ψυχικοῖς, to whom he is a riddle, not to be read by their unenlightened powers of judging, to which τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος are folly!

ὁ πνευματικός] he who stands under the influence of the Holy Spirit, enlightened and led by Him. Comp on ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚῶς in 1 Corinthians 2:14.

ΤᾺ ΠΆΝΤΑ] (see the critical remarks[429]) receives from the context no further limitation than that of the article, which is not unsuitable (Hofmann), but denotes the totality of what presents itself to his judging, so that it does not apply merely to τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος (Ewald: “all the deepest and most salutary divine truths”), the ἈΝΑΚΡΊΝΕΙΝ of which, on the part of the ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΌς, is a matter of course, but means all objects that come within the sphere of his judgment. To everything that comes before him he can assign the right estimate in virtue of his power of judgment, enlightened and upheld by the Holy Spirit. He has the true critical eye of the δοκιμάζειν (1 Thessalonians 5:21) for all that offers itself to him to be judged. How often has Paul himself displayed this ἈΝΆΚΡΙΣΙς ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΉ, and that, too, in matters not connected with doctrine, under situations the most varied! e.g. in his wise availing himself of circumstances when persecuted and put on trial, during his last voyage, etc.; in his decisions concerning matrimonial questions, contendings at law, slavery, collections, and the like, in regard to which he manages with consummate tact, and with the most wonderful clearness, precision, and impartiality, to subject everything to the standard of a higher spiritual point of view; in his estimate of the different persons with whom he comes into contact; in the mode in which he adapts himself to given relations: in his sublime judgments, such as 1 Corinthians 3:22; in his powerful self-witness, 2 Corinthians 6:4 ff.; in his noble independence from earthly things, 1 Corinthians 7:29 ff.; Php 4:11 ff.

ὑπʼ οὐδενός] namely, who is not also ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΌς. This follows necessarily from the foregoing Ὁ ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤ. ἈΝΑΚΡΊΝΕΙ ΤᾺ ΠΆΝΤΑ. Comp too, 1 John 4:1. The standpoint of the psychical man is too low, and his mode of thought too foreign in its presuppositions and principles, for him to be able to understand and judge of the pneumatic. In like manner, the blind (see as early as Chrysostom and Theophylact) cannot judge of the painter, nor the deaf of the musician.

How Roman Catholic writers have sought to render 1 Corinthians 2:15, standing opposed as it does to the authority claimed by the church, serviceable to their own side, may be seen, e.g., in Cornelius a Lapide: “Sin autem nova oriatur quaestio in fide aut moribus, eaque obscura et dubia, eadem prudentia dictat homini spirituali … ejusdem Spiritus judicio recurrendum esse ad superiores, ad doctores, ad ecclesiam Romanam quasi matricem,” etc.

[429] In connection with the reading πάντα, those who take it as masculine explain the clause very variously; either: “Quando audit alium loquentem vel docentem, illico dignoscere potest et dijudicare, utrum sit ex Deo necne” (Bos, Alberti); or: “Ego quidem … quemlibet profanum … dijudicare adeoque a τνευματικοῖς s. vere collustratis dignoscere possum” (Pott); or: “Convincere quemlibet profanum erroris potest” (Nösselt, Rosenmüller). Were the reading genuine, and πάντα masculine, it is only the first of these renderings that would be admissible; for, according to ver. 14, ἀνακρ. cannot mean erroris convincere (against Nösselt), and to restrict πάντα to the profane would be entirely unwarranted by the context, as is plain from πνευματικῶς ἀνακρίνεται in ver. 14 (against Nösselt and Pott). At the same time, it would also be arbitrary in adopting the first view to refer it only to the loqui or docere, and not also to deeds and other expressions of the life.

1 Corinthians 2:15. “But the spiritual man tries (tests) everything”—a maxim resembling, perhaps designedly, the Stoic dicta concerning “the wise man”. Paul sees “in the Πνεῦμα, the Divine power creatively working in the man and imparted to him, the κριτήριον for the right estimate of persons and things, Divine and human. The Stoa on its part was intently concerned ‘to know the standard according to which man is judged by man’ (Arrian-Epictetus, II., xiii., 16) … it found this criterion in the moral use of Reason.… The Christian believer and the Stoic philosopher both practise an ἀνακρίνειν; both are conscious of standing superior to all judgment from without; but the ground of this superiority, and the inferences drawn from it, are equally opposed in the two cases. The Stoic’s judgment on the world leads him, under given conditions, to suicide (‘The door stands open,’ Epict.): the Christian’s judgment on the world leads to the realisation of the victory of the children of God” (Hn[440]).—πάντα (not every one, but neut. pl[441]) is quite general—everything; cf., for the scope of this faculty, 1 Corinthians 6:2 f., 1 Corinthians 10:15, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 John 2:20 f., 1 Corinthians 4:1, Revelation 2:2. Aristotle (Eth. Nic., III., iv.) says of ὁ σπουδαῖος (the man of character), ἕκαστα κρίνει ὀρθῶς, καὶ ἐν ἑκάστοις τἀληθὲς αὐτῷ φαίνεταιὥσπερ κανὼν καὶ μέτρον αὐτῶν ὤν; Plato, De Rep., iii., 409 [442] (quoted by Ed[443]), ascribes the same universally critical power to ἡ ἀρετή. Paul’s πνευματικὸς judges in virtue of a Divine, all-searching Presence within him; Aristotle’s σπουδαῖος, in virtue of his personal qualities and attainments. Paul admirably displays in this Ep. the powers of the πνευματικὸς as ὁ ἀνακρίνων πάντα. There are, of course, limits to the exercise of the ἀνακρίνειν, in the position and opportunities of the individual.

[440] C. F. G. Heinrici’s Erklärung der Korintherbriefe (1880), or 1 Korinther in Meyer’s krit.-exegetisches Kommentar (1896).

[441] plural.

[442] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[443] T. C. Edwards’ Commentary on the First Ep. to the Corinthians.2

αὐτὸς δὲ ὑπʼ οὐδένος ἀνακρίνεται, “while he himself is put on trial by none,”—since none other possesses the probe of truth furnished by the Πνεῦμα τὸ ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ; the πνευματικὸς stands on a height from which he overlooks the world, and is overlooked only by God. The statement is ideal, holding good of “the spiritual man” as, and so far as, he is such. Where a Christian is σάρκινος (1 Corinthians 3:1), his spiritual judgment is vitiated; to that extent he puts himself within the measure of the ψυχικός (cf. 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:5). If μέν, after ἀνακρίνει, be genuine, it throws into stronger relief the superiority of the man of the Spirit to unspiritual judgment: he holds the touchstone and is the world’s trier, not the world his. This exemption P. will claim for himself, on further grounds, in 1 Corinthians 4:3 ff.—Ἀνακρίνω, used by P. nine times in this Ep., and in no other, was probably a favourite expression with the over-weening Cor[444]—like “criticism” to-day.

[444] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things] The word which is used in this and the preceding verse, which is translated discerned in the last verse, in the text of this verse by judgeth, and in the margin by discerneth, signifies in every other passage in the N. T. to examine, and is so rendered by the Vulgate (see Acts 4:9; Acts 12:19; St Luke 23:14, and ch. 1 Corinthians 9:3). It must therefore be interpreted of the process rather than of the conclusion, of the exact scrutiny to which the spiritual man can subject all things, while he himself is beyond the scrutiny of others who do not possess the means of making it. “The Gospel in its essence is neither theoretic, abstract, nor reflective, nor even imaginative: it is historical, but this history is Divine. The preaching of the Gospel is a revelation of God’s doings. When belief is well established, then, and then alone, may God’s acts become subjects of theory or research among the members of the Church, and even then so far only as the whole investigation proceeds from faith. Of such an inquiry faith could never be the consequence. In God’s Spirit alone has faith its origin.”—Olshausen.

1 Corinthians 2:15. ) There is great beauty here in the addition of the article [the spiritual man]; ψυχικὸς [a natural man] is without the article.—πάντα, all things) The neuter plural, as 1 Corinthians 2:9-14, all things of all men, and therefore also [he judges] all men. The Masc. is comprehended in the Neut. as Matthew 11:27.—αὐτὸς) he himself.—ὑπʼ οὐδενὸς, by no) natural man.

Verse 15. - Judgeth all things. If he can judge the higher, lie can of course judge the lower. Being spiritual, he becomes intellectual also, as well as more than intellectual. He can see into the difference between the dream and the reality; he can no longer take the shadow for the substance. He can not only decide about ordinary matters, but can also "discriminate the transcendent," i.e. see that which is best even in different alternatives of good. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him" (Psalm 25:14). He himself is judged of no man. He may be judged, condemned, depreciated, slandered every day of his life, but the arrow flights of human judgment fall far short of him. These Corinthians were judging and comparing Paul and Apollos and Cephas; but their judgments were false and worthless, and Paul told them that it was less than nothing to him to be judged by them or by man's feeble transitory day (1 Corinthians 4:3). "Evil men," as Solomon said, "understand not judgment" (Proverbs 28:5). 1 Corinthians 2:15
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