What does it really mean to be Spiritual?

We are used to hearing  people describe themselves as “spiritual.” What these people often mean is that they believe they are more than atoms and molecules, and that there is an immaterial part to them. They may even use some sort of spiritual exercise or discipline to cultivate their spirituality. However, according to the Apostle Paul, most people who say they are spiritual are really not.

In 1 Cor 2:14-15, he contrasts those who are spiritual with those who are natural. The natural man “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2:14). By “the things of the Spirit of God” he means the words “taught by the Spirit” (1 Cor 2:13) which God revealed to him and the other apostles through the Spirit (1 Cor 2:10). This is what we today sometimes call divine revelation, or the Word of God, including both the Old and New Testament.

In 2 Cor 2:15 Paul says that the spiritual man “appraises all things” (NASB). The word translated “appraises” means to judge (ESV) or to discern. In the previous verse, he explains that the revelation of the Spirit of God can be discerned by the spiritual man, but the natural man is unable to discern or judge them. In fact, he explains that to the natural man, the things of the Spirit of God are foolishness.

What then is a spiritual person according to Paul? A spiritual person is someone who receives the word of God. For Paul, receiving the word of God is not a natural event that people do, but it is something that God Himelf does in the individual. This is why Paul thanked God that the Thessalonians received the word of God (1 Thess 2:13) – because he knew that this was a result of the work of God in them.

If you have received the word of God, this means, according to Paul, that you are spiritual. While this isn’t where Biblical Spirituality finishes, it is where it starts.

[reminder]How did the word of God begin to impact you?[/reminder]

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