Musings on I Corinthians 2

Musings on I Corinthians 2

Except where otherwise noted, biblical quotations are from

New Revised Standard Version.

 Verse-by-verse comments

 2:1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. 2For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.


Absurdly simple message

These statements follow claims in the previous paragraph (1 Corinthians 1:17-31) describing how God chose what to the world seems utterly stupid (to use modern terms) to usher in his new reign (cf. Luke 10:21). Chapter 2 is best studied along with the preceding chapter, since it continues and elaborates upon statements in chapter 1. Paul says in the first two chapters of 1 Corinthians that fancy rhetoric and human wisdom are useless for proclaiming the gospel, since the simple message of the cross is not only the heart of the gospel—it is the power of the gospel. Proclamation of the crucified Messiah carries with it a supernatural power all its own, to which nothing need be added. Much of his argument turns on the phrases, “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” and “in the power of God”. Paul is emphasizing the supernatural underpinnings of the gospel. The term supernatural is a nuanced English word whose present-day connotations appear to have no Hebrew or Greek equivalents in scripture. The Greek is simply pneumatikos (“spiritual”), which Paul uses 15 times in I Corinthians—more than the word’s occurrence in all other New Testament writings combined. He uses the word four times in the passage we are investigating. Unfortunately, no English word other than supernatural has the connotations I believe are inherent in Paul’s discussion. Our faith is to rest not in any earthly forces, whether physical or psychological or sociological or political, but in the invisible and ineluctable power of God—the power not only to transform human hearts through the message of the cross, but also his power acting through his people (e.g., the gifts— charismata—of the Holy Spirit, which he discusses somewhat later).

Paul presents himself as Exhibit A for this principle. By his own admission, he was not gifted in rhetoric. Successful evangelists today often are so skilled with their words that their sermons can move an audience to tears and induce multitudes to “accept Jesus as their personal savior.” Paul apparently wasn’t like that, which likely was a good thing—one wants a person to respond to the reality of Jesus rather than to emotional pleas. I do not disparage gifted speakers. How wonderful to be blessed with such a precious gift! I simply suggest that Paul’s point is that the Holy Spirit is the one who in fact moves an individual’s heart, not persuasive language. My favorite example of this is an account David Wilkerson related in The Cross and the Switchblade. He had done as much “organizing” as he could, and had succeeded in persuading several New York City street gangs to show up at an evangelistic meeting in the 1950s. He had been unsuccessful up to that point in opening the eyes of these young people to the reality of Jesus. The rented hall was filled with rowdy gang members who totally ignored him, and in fact appeared close to starting major brawls there in the auditorium. As Wilkerson walked to the microphone, he realized all his planning had been in vain. Disaster was looming—including possible knifings, killings, and sexual assaults—right there in front of him. Were he even able to speak his prepared remarks, no one would have heard them over the catcalls and shouts and general cacophony. He had failed. Nothing was going to happen. These lost, unhappy kids seemed doomed to remain in the darkness. Knowing it would be useless, Wilkerson said nothing into the microphone. He had failed. He simply bowed his head and surrendered not only himself but also those hundreds of young people to God’s grace. Then to his surprise, the bedlam slowly began to die down. Eventually, the hall became absolutely quiet as Wilkerson clearly discerned the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. It was obvious that the gang members felt it too, for there were kids snuffling, weeping, all over the auditorium. No doubt they didn’t even know why they were crying! He had done, had said, nothing. He simply stood there speechless, his head bowed, offering his heart and those precious gang members to the sovereignty of Jesus. (Note Paul’s poignant statement, when I am weak, then I am strong  —2 Cor. 12:10; as well as God’s statement, my power is made perfect in weakness.  —2 Cor. 12:9.) Wilkerson quietly explained to them what was happening: “I know you feel it! Jesus is here. He loves you. He died for you. But God raised him from the dead. He can totally transform your life. If you’re interested in that, I want you to come down here and kneel at the front.” [My words, not his, as I can’t find my copy of the book right now.] And a mob of violent gang members literally ran to the front to give their lives to Jesus!

I witnessed another powerful move of the Spirit in an evangelistic meeting whose nature and trappings could not be more different from the David Wilkerson meeting. I happened to be visiting friends in New York City in 1969 when Billy Graham held a crusade in Madison Square Garden. I had never been particularly impressed with Graham. I thought his sermons were mediocre at best, and his understanding of scripture was pretty dismal. And the guidance he provided in his daily advice column in various newspapers ranged, I felt, from relatively useless to actually counterproductive. Yet I had no doubt that God used him powerfully to bring people to Jesus. I was confused. So I took the subway to Midtown Manhattan and walked to the Garden well before the night’s meeting began. On the way I did my share of praying, because of course I wanted the effort to be as successful as possible; yet for the most part I was there as a tourist, wanting to satisfy my curiosity about what made these crusades tick. As soon as I walked into Madison Square Garden, I had the answer to my puzzle. I could feel the electric presence of the Holy Spirit all through my body. Tears came to my eyes. Wow, I thought, now I understand why Graham’s crusades are so successful! It’s the nearly tangible presence of the Holy Spirit! That seemed to be borne out as the night progressed. Graham offered a rather vacuous sermon, then gave an invitation, and hundreds upon hundreds of people immediately began streaming down the aisles in order to give themselves to Jesus. I had already decided, within a minute of entering the building, that the sermon would be pretty irrelevant. Graham likely could have read from the NYC phone book and gotten the same response. It wasn’t him, it wasn’t the choir, it wasn’t anything but the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit, doing what the Holy Spirit does (see especially chapters 14-16 of the gospel of John, passim). The Holy Spirit had anointed Billy Graham in an incredibly powerful way.

Evangelism and other church ministries often are wrapped up in programs and advertising and correct posturing and trying to be culturally or politically relevant; whereas Paul seems to suggest that the trappings aren’t as important as the mere proclamation of Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins. It is vital that, even if we accompany our evangelical efforts with Madison Avenue trappings and/or university-bred sophistication, we must focus on the simple message of the cross. And that’s what Billy Graham did.

Yet that is not sufficient! We need also the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” As I understand the history of the church for the past two millennia, few large-scale moves of conversion have arisen out of cleverly planned “outreach” campaigns. Most history-changing events appear on the surface to have just happened—although I assume that most were preceded by thousands of hours of humble prayer on the part of nameless, unsung individuals. These are moves of the Holy Spirit, not functions of human planning or wisdom or cleverness. When the Holy Spirit is on the move, things happen!

Demonstration of the Spirit and of power

Some Evangelicals have argued that the so-called “age of miracles” ended in the first century (or whenever) because the appearance of the Scriptural canon did away with the need for such things. Say what? Human nature has remained pretty much the same for millennia. Yes, people mostly decide to follow Jesus because they respond to an ingenuous message about a cross. Some people have made that decision simply as a result of reading the Bible! But new understandings, new ways of thinking, new ways of seeing the world, in many minds/hearts can remain rather fragile when they are not underlined and confirmed by tangible events that people can look at and touch, that assure them, “No, you are NOT deceived, these things really happened, this new Life you have entered is real!” And “these things” can be anything—healings, deliverance from addictions, answers to prayer, restored relationships, minor or even major miracles of any sort.

Many years ago I befriended an Anglican priest, on sabbatical in the U.S. from Ceylon (today known as Sri Lanka). We spent several hours together. He had a very powerful ministry of freeing people who were possessed or oppressed by evil spirits endemic to the country because of rampant and overt demon worship. Many foreign missionaries from mainline denominations had come to Ceylon and spent years preaching the gospel, he said, but with only a paltry number of converts. The local pagan priests would challenge the missionaries: “Our gods are so powerful that they enable us to walk on these hot coals without injury! What can your god do?” And the missionaries would talk about Jesus dying for them so their sins could be forgiven. That was indeed the basic message of the gospel, but it lacked the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” When faced with the same challenge, this Anglican priest quietly responded, “My God is more powerful than your gods, because He can drive the demons away from you so that you can no longer walk on the coals!” And he would proceed to cast out the evil spirits in the name of Jesus. And sure enough, effective immediately, these priests of demons could not get close to the hot coals without frying their feet! That got their attention! Then my friend was able to quietly share with them the good news of Jesus, with very positive results.

We need to present the simple, Spirit-empowered gospel message; but we need to accompany it with demonstration that Jesus has indeed risen from the dead, and he is King above all kings!

I honestly don’t know how constant my own faith would have been after I met Jesus at the beginning of my junior year of college, had it rested solely on understandings, on beliefs, on things that happen only in my brain. I strongly suspect my ardor eventually would have cooled to below freezing. But within a few months of meeting Jesus, he healed me instantly and completely and permanently of the dark depression that had been mine virtually all my life; he enabled me to speak aloud in a language I didn’t know, such that an atheist in the room understood a message that was directly to him; he spoke to me about things I should do that resulted in dramatic blessings for other people; he told me very specific things that were about to happen, and they happened; he engineered numerous logically preposterous “coincidences” whose outworkings drastically blessed not only me but other people. And such tangible touches from my Lord continue to the present day. Many, many people love God and are fiercely committed to his kingdom without having experienced such things. I bless these people—their hearts no doubt are much more godly than mine. But since the very beginning, I have seen acts after acts on God’s part that have thoroughly undergirded my faith. I know Jesus is alive because he is unambiguously real to me, and because of the mighty acts he has performed in my life. I believe that ought to be the norm. Blessings upon those who have not directly experienced “demonstration of the Spirit and of power”! Yet my prayer is that all God’s children will know the joy of his working directly in, for, through their lives. For, as Paul says just a few paragraphs after our text, the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power” –1 Corinthians 4:20 RSV.

Spiritual “laws” can be tricky

I have no desire to proclaim a legalistic “rule” about how believers should go about their ministries. There are no such rules, or laws. Interacting with the Holy Spirit presents us with probabilities: i.e., events usually proceed down a particular path when you do X. Unless they don’t. In God’s economy nothing is guaranteed. Our Lord is not an automaton. And he does not deal in “magic”—i.e., do this and that will happen. He is personal, always looking at innumerable factors, possibilities, needs, etc., before acting; one characteristic about God on which you can depend is that he is full of surprises. It’s a good idea to abandon all your spiritual “laws” or “principles” or whatever, instead simply seeking his heart and his mind on every occasion. Paul proclaims in I Corinthians that God is generous to reveal his intentions to us. It should go without saying, however, that this is not an automatic process. As we seek him with all our hearts, we grow in our ability to hear his voice and discern his mind and heart. The seeking always comes first.

If you anticipate holding an evangelical crusade, he may want you to do little except to spend months on your knees, interceding for people, in the end doing barely anything in terms of organizing. Or he may want you to organize the heck out of everything (but not neglecting prayer, of course!), like the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always done. There are no rules, except perhaps for this one: pray, pray, pray—seek his face, seek his heart, until you are confident that you understand what he wants and where he is heading.


6Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. 7But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


It’s no mystery

Paul says he had come to the Corinthians proclaiming the “mystery” (mysterion) of God (verse 2:1). He makes it clear, however, that for believers, the “mystery” is no mystery at all, but rather glorious tidings to be proclaimed to the whole universe.

C.S. Lewis surely must have been alluding to this idea in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Aslan, the Christ figure, is executed according to the immutable laws of the Deep Magic (read “mystery”). But the forces of evil who executed Aslan were unaware of the “Deeper Magic” that resurrected Aslan and saved that world. Similarly, in this passage Paul seems to say that the dark supernatural/demonic powers on this planet conspired to kill Jesus, imagining that they would be rid of him that way—but they had no clue that the very act of executing him unleashed a glorious grace and salvation for the entire world, and assured the destruction of all evil.

There is nothing spooky about the good news. The “secret and hidden wisdom of God” in large part is simply his endless, infinite, self-sacrificing love for his entire creation—which was so unfathomable and foreign to the spiritual powers of evil that such ideas never even entered their minds as they were executing Jesus. God’s wisdom remains secret and hidden only to the extent that his creatures are not able to plumb the depths of his love—a thought reminiscent of the prophet’s proclamation several centuries earlier: 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways, declares Yahweh. 9For the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.  —Isaiah 55:8-9.  In my observation this passage is nearly always misconstrued, as is true of I Corinthians 2:9 (see immediately below). These sentences are preceded by Yahweh’s appeal, 7Let the wicked abandon his way and the evil one his thoughts. Let him turn back to Yahweh who will take pity on him, to our God, for he is rich in forgiveness.  —Isaiah 55:7. It is unambiguously clear that the way in which Yahweh’s thoughts and ways are “higher” than those of his people relates not to his knowledge or intelligence or power or whatever, but rather to the fact that he is more gracious than they are!


9But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” [quotation is from Isaiah 64:4]10these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? So also no one comprehends what is truly God’s except the Spirit of God.

I have long puzzled over the almost universal misinterpretation of verse 9. On most occasions when I have encountered references to this statement, the emphasis has been on how obscure God’s intentions are, saying that we human beings must remain unenlightened, for “we just can’t know” what God has prepared for us, etc. This take on the passage is especially prevalent at funerals or in discussions about tragic events, the idea being that we are in great pain because horrible things have happened, and it’s a mystery why God has permitted them—but his thoughts and ways are immeasurably higher than ours, so we must simply trust him, etc., etc. But that’s precisely the opposite of what Paul is saying! He says in verse 10, explicitly and unambiguously, that God has revealed this stuff to us through his Spirit! How cool is that?! It’s not a mystery to us! We have God’s Spirit—a major part of the whole mystery, of the grand plan that God had from the beginning.

Colossians 1:26-27 explicitly defines the “riches of the glory of this mystery”—the mystery that was “hidden for ages and generations” but is now made known to God’s people—as being Christ in us.

God’s indwelling Spirit is in fact a downpayment for our eventual resurrection (II Corinthians 1:22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14). We, indeed, are the temple of the Holy Spirit. These are not religious statements. They are not metaphors. They describe vibrant, glorious reality that is ours as a completely free gift through our Lord Jesus Christ.

I fear that the reason many people misinterpret I Corinthians 2:9-10 is that they have not experienced the reality of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. He dwells within us, but he is a gentleman and does not force himself upon us. All people who have given their lives to Jesus have unlimited access to the indwelling, enlightening, empowering Spirit of God. Letting that become visible and tangible in our lives is a question of asking and of surrendering—i.e., of being willing for God to have his way. Ah, there’s the sticking point—for when we genuinely give up lordship of our own lives, we “risk” God’s doing things that we may not want. That can be scary until we finally understand that everything God wants for us is for our benefit, for our joy, no matter what it looks like in the short term.


12Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from God, so that we may understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. 13And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual. 14Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. 16“For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

The meaning of these statements is relatively clear, as long as we don’t overlay Paul’s words with inappropriate inferences. He is not talking about something spooky or cultish, as if he were involved in one of the mystery religions that abounded in his day. He is not positioning himself as somehow especially spiritual vis-à-vis everyone else, so that he is the principal dispenser of wisdom. He is not defining an us vs. them mentality wherein some people are in the “in group” and other poor slobs are in the ignorant “out group.” He is not claiming some kind of superiority in verse 15.

Paul is simply describing the reality of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, and of experiencing the power of the Spirit in everyday life.

The Greek word translated as unspiritual in the NRS is psychikos. It appears nowhere in the Greek version of the Old Testament. If you look at all the New Testament passages (and one from the Apocrypha) in which it is used (see the list at the end of this essay), you see that the meaning seems to be something like “mortal” or perhaps simply “earthly.” Some commentators have used the term “soulical,” denoting a person who lives purely on the level of the natural, biological/psychological capacities we possess as mortals in this fallen world. The King James Version translated it as “natural” man. The word translated spiritual, on the other hand, is simple and straightforward: pneumatikos. It connotes possession of and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. Which means that the spiritual person has capacities not yet awakened in individuals—living merely on the level of their intellects, emotions, common human capacities—who have not yet begun to live in the reality of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s imagine a scenario in which, within a diverse group of believers, one person believes God has shown her something significant that can affect the entire group.

Imagine that some within the group have not yet learned to submit to the presence and power and voice of the Holy Spirit. Such “unspiritual” people have no way to directly understand or judge whether the supposed message is or is not from God. It’s not that “unspiritual” people are worse human beings—they’re simply unable to relate directly to this particular experience. If we acknowledge that God does actually speak to/through human beings from time to time, then only someone who operates within that realm of experience will be able to directly evaluate whether a particular message is or is not from God. Human reason is not useless, but is severely handicapped. Although there is no guarantee that any given individual will judge correctly (note the very important point made in I Corinthians 13:8-9), it is logical that only individuals accustomed to operating in the flow of the Spirit are potentially qualified to judge the message.

There is no suggestion of in-group or out-group here, and no suggestion that some people are better than others! Precisely the same situation could obtain if we switch the scenario from spiritual phenomena to languages. Assume that some within the group know Portuguese, if only imperfectly, and the host hears a message in her voice mail that appears to be in Portuguese. In that scenario, only the people who are at least passingly familiar with Portuguese would be qualified to attempt an interpretation of the message. They’re no better than anyone else in the group. They just have the good fortune to have learned some Portuguese.

Although the statement in verse 15 may appear to be the height of arrogance, it is no more than a variation on what the previous several paragraphs have described: Individuals acting according to what they believe the Holy Spirit is doing/saying cannot be properly evaluated by anyone whose criteria rest solely on human wisdom. Please note: In no way am I claiming that the actions of a person supposedly acting in the Spirit must be endorsed by someone who does not generally operate in the Spirit. No! That supposedly “spiritual” person could have gotten it wrong! Nor am I saying that nonbelievers or “unspiritual” (?pneumatically challenged?) believers should not offer their opinions about something a “spiritual person” is doing that purports to be of God. By no means! And the “spiritual person” should honestly and graciously consider those other opinions. Who knows, it’s quite possible that an “unspiritual” person who possesses great natural wisdom might be able to see more clearly than a “spiritual” person who mistakenly believes she is hearing from the Spirit!

God’s wisdom and human wisdom sometimes coincide rather closely. There are other times, however, when God sees something “coming down the pike” that we can’t see, and on those occasions we might find ourselves moved by the Holy Spirit to act in ways that would incur opprobrium from any halfway intelligent human being. Should that be the case, when possible we do well to exercise great caution, seeking counsel from others who know the Holy Spirit’s reality, for their assessments can be extremely valuable in helping us decide what to do. What we should not do in such cases is seek out human wisdom from people who do not live in the Spirit’s presence. Nor should we decide willy-nilly that we are correct in what we have heard God say, insisting that no other opinion is acceptable. Such arrogance can be highly dangerous.

In the end, of course, each person must do what s/he believes to be right and appropriate.

On three occasions I have received messages from the Holy Spirit directing me to do something unambiguously contrary to any version of human wisdom you could conjure. On two of those occasions I was alone, with no mortal friend to consult; one time, my spouse was with me and, after prayer, concurred with my understanding. By God’s grace, all three revelations turned out to be unquestionably right-on—and many lives were touched in a highly positive way for years to come. In each case, had I judged the thoughts that had appeared in my mind according to human wisdom, I would have acted differently. In one situation, doing the obviously “right” thing as judged by human wisdom would have had nearly catastrophic consequences, such that several precious individuals might not even be here today.

Finally, verse 12 is unambiguous: Paul says that we have received the Spirit so that we may understand God’s gifts. That’s one of the purposes of our having the Spirit in the first place! And the deeper, the more undistracted, the more trust-filled our experience of the Holy Spirit, the greater our ability to discern what he is saying and doing.

An aside:

In light of this discussion, if I am correct in my understanding of I Corinthians 2, the most reasonable interpretation of I Corinthians 14:29 (Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge is that “the others”—which grammatically could refer with equal correctness either to “the other prophetsor to “the other people present”—in fact must refer to the other prophets. For they are the only ones qualified to judge whether the purported revelation is genuine.



Biblical instances of psychikos

(RSV = Revised Standard Version)

RSV 4 Maccabees 1:32 Some desires are mental (psychikai), others are physical (somatikai), and reason obviously rules over both.   [Note that this writer contrasts psychikai with somatikai (physical in this translation)—rather like many people today would make the distinction.]

RSV 1 Corinthians 2:14 The unspiritual man (psychikos) does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

RSV 1 Corinthians 15:44 It is sown a physical (psychikon) body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical (psychikon)( body, there is also a spiritual (pneumatikon) body.

RSV 1 Corinthians 15:46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical (psychikon), and then the spiritual (pneumatikon).

RSV James 3:15 This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (psychike), devilish.

RSV Jude 1:19 It is these who set up divisions, worldly people (psychikoi), devoid of the Spirit.



Biblical instances of pneumatikos

RSV Romans 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift (charisma pneumatikon) to strengthen you. . .

RSV Romans 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual (pneumatikos); but I am carnal, sold under sin.

RSV Romans 15:27 they were pleased to do it, and indeed they are in debt to them, for if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings (pneumatikois), they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings.

RSV 1 Corinthians 2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual (pneumatikois) truths to those who possess the Spirit.

RSV 1 Corinthians 2:15 The spiritual man (pneumatikos) judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

[This is not an arrogant statement, but a logical observation—if a “spiritual person,” for example, offers a prophetic word—i.e., one purporting to be from the Holy Spirit—by definition it cannot be judged by those who cannot consult the Holy Spirit about the veracity of the word (or lack thereof); that by definition can be done only by those who are accustomed to hearing from God. There is nothing mysterious here, no hocus-pocus. It’s little different from saying that, should someone speak a message in the Bantu language, it goes without saying that only those who understand Bantu can judge the statement.]

RSV 1 Corinthians 3:1 But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men (pneumatikois), but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ.

RSV 1 Corinthians 9:11 If we have sown spiritual good (pneumatika) among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?

RSV 1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same supernatural (pneumatikon) food. . .

RSV 1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same supernatural (pneumatikon) drink. For they drank from the supernatural (pneumatikēs) Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

RSV 1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts (pneumatikōn), brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed.

RSV 1 Corinthians 14:1 Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts (pneumatika), especially that you may prophesy.

RSV 1 Corinthians 14:37 If any one thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual (pneumatikos), he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.    [The comment appended to I Corinthians 2:15 above meshes well with this statement. Paul claims to be speaking with the authority of the Spirit—therefore anyone who makes similar claims ought to recognize that his words are valid.]

RSV 1 Corinthians 15:44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body (pneumatikon). If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.

RSV 1 Corinthians 15:46 But it is not the spiritual (pneumatikon) which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual (pneumatikon).

RSV Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual (pneumatikoi) should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted.

RSV Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing (pneumatikē) in the heavenly places. . .

RSV Ephesians 5:19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual (pneumatikais) songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,

RSV Ephesians 6:12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual (pneumatika) hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

RSV Colossians 1:9 And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual (pneumatikē) wisdom and understanding [more literally: “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,” although both translations are proper]

RSV Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual (pneumatikais) songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

RSV 1 Peter 2:5 and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual (pneumatikos) house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual (pneumatikas) sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.