1 Corinthians 2:16
For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
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(16) For.—This is the proof that the enlightened spiritual man cannot be judged by any one who is not thus enlightened. “Who (thus uninstructed) can know the mind of the Lord Jesus, that he may instruct Him?”

But we.—That is, spiritual men, including the Apostles. The Apostle here identifies Christ with the Spirit, whom he has previously spoken of as the Teacher of spiritual things. He does not mean to assert that the Apostles knew all that the mind of Christ knew, but that all things which they did know were from Him and spiritual (John 15:15).

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.For who hath known ... - This passage is quoted from Isaiah 40:13. The interrogative form is a strong mode of denying that anyone has ever known the mind of the Lord. The argument of Paul is this, "No one can understand God. No one can fully comprehend his plans, his feelings, his views, his designs. No one by nature, under the influence of sense and passion, is either disposed to investigate his truths, or loves them when they are revealed. But the Christian is influenced by God. He has his Spirit. He has the mind of Christ; who had the mind of God. He sympathizes with Christ; he has his feelings, desires, purposes, and plans. And as no one can fully understand God by nature, so neither can he understand him who is influenced by God, and is like him; and it is not to be wondered at that he regards the Christian religion as folly, and the Christian as a fool.

The mind of Christ - The views, feelings, and temper of Christ. We are influenced by his Spirit.

Remarks On 1 Corinthians 2

1. Ministers of the gospel should not be too anxious to be distinguished for excellency of speech or language, 1 Corinthians 2:1. Their aim should be to speak the simple truth, in language pure and intelligible to all. Let it be remembered, that if there ever was any place where it would be proper to seek such graces of eloquence, it was Corinth. If in any city now, or in any refined and genteel society it would be proper, it would have been proper in Corinth. Let this thought rebuke those, who, when they preach to a frivilous and fashionable auditory, seek to fill their sermons with ornament rather than with solid thought; with the tinsel of rhetoric, rather than with pure language. Paul was right in his course; and was wise. True taste abhors meretricious ornaments, as much as the gospel does. And the man who is called to preach in a rich and fashionable congregation, should remember, that he is stationed there not to please the ear, but to save the soul; that his object is not to display his talent or his eloquence, but to rescue his hearers from ruin. This purpose will make the mere ornaments of rhetoric appear small. It will give: seriousness to his discourse; gravity to his diction; unction to his eloquence; heart to his arguments; and success to his ministry.

2. The purpose of every minister should be like that of Paul, to preach Christ and only him crucified. See the note on 1 Corinthians 2:2.

3. If Paul trembled at Corinth in view of dangers and difficulties; if he was conscious of his own weakness and feebleness, then we should learn also to be humble. He is not much in danger of erring who imitates the example of this great apostle. And if he who had received a direct commission from the great Head of the church, and who was endowed with such mighty powers, was modest, unassuming, and diffident, then it becomes ministers of the gospel now, and all others to be humble also. We should not, indeed, be afraid of people; but we should be modest, humble, and lowly; much impressed, as if conscious of our mighty charge; and anxious to deliver just such a message as God will approve and bless.

Would I describe a preacher, such an Paul,

Were he on earth, would hear, approve, and own,

Paul should himself direct me. I would trace.

His master-strokes, and draw from his design.

I would express him simple, grave, sincere;

In doctrine uncorrupt; in language plain;

And plain in manner, decent, solemn, chaste,

And natural in gesture: much impress'd.


16. For—proof of 1Co 2:15, that the spiritual man "is judged of no man." In order to judge the spiritual man, the ordinary man must "know the mind of the Lord." But "who of ordinary men knows" that?

that he may instruct him—that is, so as to be able to set Him right as His counsellor (quoted from Isa 40:13, 14). So the Septuagint translates the Greek verb, which means to "prove," in Ac 9:22. Natural men who judge spiritual men, living according to the mind of God ("We have the mind of Christ"), are virtually wishing to instruct God, and bring Him to another mind, as counsellors setting to right their king.

we have the mind of Christ—in our degree of capability to apprehend it. Isa 40:13, 14 refers to Jehovah: therefore, as it is applied here to Christ, He is Jehovah.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? This phrase is taken out of Isaiah 40:13, and was quoted by our apostle before, Romans 11:34: the sense of it, as here used, is: For what natural man, that never was taught and enlightened by the Spirit of God, could ever know the secret counsels of God, and the Divine mysteries of man’s salvation? Nor can any instruct him what to do. It is by some observed, that sumbibasei signifies, by arguments to bring one over to be of his mind, which indeed is a kind of instruction.

But (saith the apostle) we, who have the Spirit of God given to us, dwelling and working in us, and instructing us, we have the mind of Christ; for the Spirit of Christ, which is our teacher, knoweth his mind, and hath revealed it unto us. For who hath known the mind of the Lord,.... The deep counsels of his heart, the scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ, as drawn in his eternal mind, the sense of the Spirit of God in the writings of the Old Testament, the things of the Spirit of God, or the doctrines of grace more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation; not any natural man, by the light of truth and strength of reason, has known any of these things. The apostle either cites or alludes to Isaiah 40:13

that he may instruct him? not the Lord, who needs no instruction from any, nor can any teach and instruct him, nor would any be so bold and insolent as to attempt it nor does the knowledge of the mind of the Lord qualify any for such a work; since if he knows ever so much of it, he cannot know more than the Lord himself: but the spiritual man, whom a natural man, being ignorant of the mind of the Lord, cannot instruct; and so the words give a very proper and sufficient reason why the spiritual man is not discerned, judged, convinced, and instructed by the natural man:

but we have the mind of Christ; the same with "the mind of the Lord" which proves that Christ is the Lord, or Jehovah, and so truly and properly God; and which is to be understood, not only of the apostles and ministers of the Gospel, but of all true believers; and therefore want no instruction, as they can have none from the natural man; though chiefly of the former, whereby they were abundantly qualified for the further instruction even of spiritual men.

{16} For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may {t} instruct him? But we have {u} the mind of Christ.

(16) A reason from the former saying: for he is called spiritual, who has learned that by the power of the Spirit, which Christ has taught us. Now if that which we have learned from that Master could be reproved by any man, he must be wiser than God: whereupon it follows that they are not only foolish, but also wicked, who think that they can devise something that is either more perfect, or that they can teach the wisdom of God a better way than those knew or taught who were undoubtedly endued with God's Spirit.

(t) Lay his head to his, and teach him what he should do.

(u) We are endued with the Spirit of Christ, who opens to us those secrets which by all other means are unsearchable, and also any truth at all.

1 Corinthians 2:16. Proof for the αὐτὸς δὲ ὑπʼ οὐδενὸς ἀνακρινεται. “For in order to judge of the πνευματικός, one would need to have known the mind of Christ, which we πνευματικοί are in possession ofto be able to act the part of teacher to Christ.” The form of this proof is an imperfect syllogism, the last proposition in which, as being self-evident, is not expressed.[431] The major proposition is clothed in the words of Isaiah 40:13 (substantially after the LXX.), comp Romans 11:34. There, indeed, ΚΎΡΙΟς applies to God; but Paul, appropriating the words freely for the expression of his own thought, applies it here to Christ (against Calvin, Grotius, and most older interpreters, also Flatt, Osiander, Ewald, Hofmann), as the minor proposition ἡμεῖς δὲ Κ.Τ.Λ[433] proves.

The νοῦς Κυρίου is the understanding of the Lord, embracing His thoughts, judgments, measures, plans, etc., the νοῦς being the faculty where these originate and are elaborated. The conception is not identical with that of the πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ (against Billroth, Neander, and many others), which rather, when imparted to man, makes his νοῦς the νοῦς Χριστοῦ, not being itself the νοῦς Χ., but that which constitutes its substratum.

ὃς συμβιβ. αὐτόν] qui instructurus sit eum, i.e. in order (after thus coming to know him) to instruct Him. See on this use of ὅς, Matthiae, II. p. 1068; Kühner, II. p. 529 ff. Regarding συμβιβάζειν, which is frequent in the LXX. in the sense of instruere, docere, but does not occur with that meaning in Greek writers, see Schleusner, Thes. V. p. 154. This ὃς συμβ. αὐτόν is not “rather superfluously” taken in along with the rest of the quotation (Rückert), but is included as essential to the proof of the ὑπʼ οὐδενὸς ἀνακρίνεται, since the forming a judgment assumes the capacity to instruct (act as master). This, then, is what he who would judge the πνευματικοί must be capable of doing with respect to Christ, since these have the mind of Christ. Chrysostom says well: ὃς συμβιβάσει αὐτὸν, οὐχ ἁπλῶς προσέθηκεν, ἀλλὰ πρὸς ὃ εἶπεν ἤδη, ὅτι τὸν πνευματικὸν οὐδεὶς ἀνακρίνει· εἰ γὰρ εἰδέναι οὐδεὶς δύναται τοῦ Θεοῦ (rather Christ’s) τὸν νοῦν, πολλῷ μᾶλλον διδάσκειν καὶ διορθοῦσθαι.

To refer αὐτόν, with Nösselt (Opusc. II. p. 137 f.), to the πνευματικός (so, too, Rosenmüller and Tittmann, l.c[434] p. 294), is an involved construction rendered necessary only by failure to catch the simple course of proof.

ἡμεῖς δὲ νοῦν Χ. ἔχ.] the minor proposition, with the emphasis on ἡμεῖς, and the explanatory Χριστοῦ in place of Κυρίου. Paul includes himself along with the rest among the πνευματικοί. These are the possessors (ἔχομεν) of the mind of Christ. For, since they have the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9; Romans 8:16), and since Christ is in them (Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 13:5), their νοῦς, too, can be no mental faculty different in kind from the νοῦς Χριστοῦ, but must, on the contrary, be as ideally one with it, as it is true that Christ Himself lives in them (Galatians 2:20), and the heart of Christ beats in them (Php 1:8), and He speaks in them (2 Corinthians 13:3). Comp respecting this indwelling of Christ in His believers, the idea in Galatians 3:27; Romans 13:14. Οὐ γὰρ Πλάτωνος, οὐδὲ Πυθαγόρου, says Chrysostom, ἀλλʼ ὁ Χριστὸς τὰ ἑαυτοῦ τῇ ἡμετέρᾳ ἐνέθηκε διανοίᾳ. Many commentators (not recognising the process of proof) have interpreted ἔχομεν as perspectam habemus (see Tittmann, l.c[436]), as e.g. Rosenmüller and Flatt: “We know the meaning of the doctrine of Christ;” or Grotius: “Novimus Dei consilia, quae Christo fuere revelata.”

[431] Fully expressed, it would run thus: No one can know the mind of Christ so as to instruct Him: but we, πνευματικοί, are they who have the mind of Christ; therefore we are they also whom no one can know so as to instruct them, that is, just they who ὑπʼ οὐδενὸς ἀνακρίνονται, ver. 15.

[433] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[434] .c. loco citato or laudato.

[436] .c. loco citato or laudato.1 Corinthians 2:16. Of the three clauses of Isaiah 40:13, P. adopts in Romans 11:34 the 1James , 2 nd, here the 1James , 3 rd; in both instances from the LXX (which renders the Heb. freely), in both instances without the καθὼς γέγραπται of formal quotation.—ὃς συνβιβάσει αὐτόν (qui instructurus sit eum, Bz[445]: on the rel[446] pron[447] with fut[448] ind[449] of contemplated result, see Krüger’s Gr[450] Sprachl., I., § 53, 7, Anm. 8; Bn[451], § 318) indicates the Divine superiority to creaturely correction, which justifies the enormous claim of 1 Corinthians 2:15 b.—Συνβιβάζω means (1) to bring together, combine (Colossians 2:2, etc.); (2) to compare, gather, prove by putting things together (Acts 16:10); (3) widened in later Gr[452] to the sense to teach, instruct. The prophet pointed in evidence of God’s incomparable wisdom and power to the vastness of creation, wherein lie unimaginable resources for Israel’s redemption, that forbid despair. Here too the νοῦς in question is God’s infinite wisdom, directing man’s salvation through inscrutable ways (1 Corinthians 2:6-9); but the Apostle’s contention is that this “mind” inspires the organs of revelation (1 Corinthians 2:10 ff.), and its superiority to the judgment of the world is relatively also theirs (1 Corinthians 2:14 ff.). Paul translates the νοῦν Κυρίου of Isaiah into his own νοῦν Χριστοῦ; to him these minds are identical (cf. Matthew 11:27, John 5:20, etc.). Such interchanges betray his “innermost conviction of the Godhead of Christ” (El[453]).—νοῦς serves his turn better than the literal πνεῦμα of the original (ruach); the intellectual side of the πνεῦμα is concerned, the θεῖον ὄμμα (see note on νοῦς, 1 Corinthians 1:10). For the emphatic ἡμεῖς, cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 2:12, and notes; for the anarthrous nouns, note on 1 Corinthians 2:4; νοῦν Χ. is quasi-predicative—“it is Christ’s mind—no other—that we have”.—ἔχομεν is not to be softened into perspectam habemus, novimus (Gr[454]): Christ lives and thinks in the πνευματικός (1 Corinthians 6:17, 2 Corinthians 13:3 ff., etc.; John 15:1-8); the unio mystica is the heart of Paul’s experience.

[445] Beza’s Nov. Testamentum: Interpretatio et Annotationes (Cantab., 1642).

[446] relative pronoun.

[447]ron. pronoun.

[448] future tense.

[449] indicative mood.

[450] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

E. Burton’s Syntax of the Moods and Tenses in the N.T. (1894).

[452] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.

C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[454] Greek, or Grotius’ Annotationes in N.T.16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord] See note on 1 Corinthians 1:10. The Hebrew of Isaiah 40:13, here quoted, has spirit, the Septuagint mind. St Paul here follows the Septuagint, which is nearer to the original than our version, ‘Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord?’ The literal translation is, ‘Who hath measured the Spirit of the Lord?’ As none but the believer possesses the mind of the Lord, and as none can venture to assume a position of intellectual superiority to Him, the assertion in the preceding verse is established. The possession of this mind of Christ renders him who has it a mystery to him who has it not. The workings of his soul, thus enlightened by a higher power, are inscrutable to those who are destitute of spiritual vision. We must not omit to notice that in the passage which the Apostle here quotes as referring to Christ the original has Jehovah. See also Jeremiah 23:18.1 Corinthians 2:16. Τίς, who) no one who is a mere man; comp. Jeremiah 23:18; Isaiah 40:13; the LXX., τίς ἔγνω νοῦν Κυρίουὃς συμβιβάσει αὐτὸν.—ὃς, who) This is not the interrogative, but the relative, by which the force of the question, which is in the τίς, is extended [continued to the latter clause, ὃς συμβιβ. αὐτὸν], it means, and therefore.—νοῦν Χριστοῦ, the mind of Christ) The Spirit of the Father and of the Son is the same.—ἔχομεν, we have) That is both more and less than to know: he who has the mind of Christ, judges [judicially decides upon] all things, and is judged by no man.Verse 16. - Who hath known the mind of the Lord? "The Lord" is Jehovah (see Isaiah 40:13, LXX.; Romans 11:34). This is the reason why no one can judge the spiritual man in his spiritual life. To do so is like judging God. We have the mind of Christ. So Christ himself had told the apostles (John 15:15); and St. Paul always claimed to have been taught by direct revelation from Christ (Galatians 1:11, 12). They had the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), and therefore the mind of Christ.

Mind (νοῦν)

See on Romans 7:23. The understanding of the Lord. The divine counsels or purposes which are the results of the divine thought. See on Romans 11:34.

Instruct (συμβιβάσει)

See on proving, Acts 9:22.

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