“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya

Read this on Facebook this morning:

Ok… I’ve made it VERY clear in previous Posts that I don’t care for any single Religion. I’m Spiritual, not religious! Anyone can worship whoever or whatever the heck they choose to, as long as they don’t try to push or FORCE that belief on to others.

Let’s consider the “I’m spiritual / not religious” statement from a biblical perspective [which this person obviously would not]

The adjective spiritual [pneumatikos] appears 26 times in the Bible:

1.  It qualifies the word “gifts” once (Romans 1:11) and is used as shorthand for “spiritual gifts” twice (1 Corinthians 12:1, 14:1).

2.  It is contrasted with the idea of “carnal” 9 times in the New Testament:

– Being “spiritual” is contrasted with being carnal; (sold under sin) in Romans 7:14

– “Spiritual” blessings contrasted with “carnal” blessings (namely, money) in Romans 15:27

– “Spiritual” truths (divine revelation) are contrasted with human wisdom (human knowledge) in 1 Corinthians 2:13

– The “spiritual” man (the man of regenerate mind) is contrasted with the “natural” man (the man of unregenerate mind) in 1 Corinthians 2:14-15.

– “Spiritual” people are contrasted with “people of the flesh”, which is further explained to mean “infants in Christ” in 1 Corinthians 3:1

– “Spiritual” things (i.e. the teaching of the gospel and the word of God) is contrasted with “material things” (namely, money) in 1 Corinthians 9:11.

– A “Spiritual” body (post-resurrection body) is contrasted with a “natural” body (pre-resurrection body) in 1 Corinthians 15:44 & 46.

3.  It is used in a metaphor (“spiritual food” and “spiritual drink”) that means something along the lines of “divine sustenance” or “divine preserving power” in1 Corinthians 10:3-4, and it appears in a similar way in 1 Peter 2:5, which speaks of the assembly of believers in the body of Christ and the sacrifices offered via Christ (i.e. the acceptable “sacrifice” of obedience, only possible through the imputed righteousness of Christ.)

4.  It is used in parallel with the term “prophet” in 1 Corinthians 14:37 as a general term referring to someone who is a highly mature believer , and in Galatians 6:1 it is used as a shorthand term for someone who is a mature believer.

5.  It is used adjectivally to describe all the various blessings given to believers in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), songs believers sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) and wicked forces aligned against believers (Ephesians 6:12).

6.  It is used as a shorthand for “divine” in Colossians 1:9; referring to “divine” knowledge (i.e. revelation) that believers have in parallel with wisdom.

So there you go.

There’s every usage of the term “spiritual” (pneumatikos) in the New Testament, categorized by usage.  As you can see, a majority of the usages basically are contrasts with “carnal”, and the “spiritual” person in the New Testament is the person who is a mature believer that walks in obedience to the Lord.  Not that complex.

A “spiritual” person is someone who is instructed, empowered, gifted, blessed, and obedient to the Holy Spirit.

Talk of “being spiritual” is synonymous with talk about “being a mature Christian”.

A “Spiritual man” is a man regenerated by, or acting under the influence of, the Holy Spirit.

It’s true that our language has been taken captive. We, as Christians, need to retake our vocabulary one word at a time. That’s a far larger part of spiritual warfare than I used to understand.

[HT: Lyndon Unger, AKA:  MennoKnight]

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