What are the characteristics of spirituality?

Spirituality according to 1 Corinthians


     When you go among a group of those who call themselves Christians, nearly everyone thinks of themselves as being a good Christian. Yet as you compare one with the other, there seems to be a lot of disparity between them. Some of them live lives which make you wonder if they are even Christians at all. The purpose of this study is to see what the Bible says about spiritual maturity. Lists will be established so that persons may check off characteristics in their life and have a Biblical basis for knowing their level of "Christian Maturity."

     The first passage defines the three persons. There is the natural man. He demonstrates no spirituality. He is not a child of God. The second person is the spiritual man. This person is living a normal Christian life from a Biblical perspective. The last person is the carnal man. This person, to a greater or lessor degree, all too often looks much like the natural man. He is also declared to be comparable to a baby who does not grow. This lack of spiritual growth is unnatural. It is a very serious condition which needs special care, lest it be discovered that perhaps this person was really never saved.

The three kinds of man discussed

The natural man

     In 1 Corinthians 2, the natural man is first discussed. Chapter 2:11 says that the man the things of man because of the spirit of man which is in him. But the spirit of man has no connection with the spirit of God. He is tied to the spirit of this world while he is a natural man. v 14 the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.


v 8 None of the princes of this world know the wisdom of God
v 11 the spirit of man is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
v13 speak word which man's wisdom teacheth.
v14 receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:
for the things of the spirit of God are foolishness unto him
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
v16 does not have the mind of Christ

The spiritual man

     Now the spiritual man loves God for as it is written, v9 Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. v10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. v.12 the spiritual man has received the Spirit of God. It is by the Spirit of God that the spiritual man "might know the things that are freely given to us of God". v.13 "which things also we speak, noting the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." v.15 The man that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. v 16 The spiritual man has the mind of Christ.

v 4 his speech should be in demonstration of the Spirit of power
v 5 should speak wisdom among them that are perfect
v7 should speak the wisdom of God in mystery, even the hidden wisdom , which God ordained before the world unto our glory.
v 9-10 What god hath prepared for them that love him, he has revealed unto us by his Spirit, for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
v 12 has received the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
v13 teaches that which the Holy Ghost teacheth/ comparing spiritual things with spiritual
v 15 He that is spiritual judgeth all things, yea he himself is judged of no man
v16 But we have the mind of Christ.

The carnal man

     Chapter 3:1 compared the carnal man as unto babes in Christ. They have been fed over and over with milk with the expectation that they might grow to maturity. Yet the implication is that they do not grow. v.2 When food which would nourish the mature is presented, they are not able to bear it.

     Then there is a listing of characteristics of the carnal. v.3 Among the carnal is envying, strife, divisions, and they walk as (natural) men. v.4 These characteristics are illustrated by some saying that they are of Paul, Apollos, etc. v.5-11 shows that the work of all these men is according to one, even Jesus Christ. v.11 He is the foundation. There is none other.

This passage is a reminder of the disciples who were vying for position as to who would be greater in the kingdom of heaven as found in the Gospels.

     v.12-15. The answer to the carnal is to remind them of the foundation in Jesus Christ. He is the judge and the decider of the quality of any person's work, so who has anything to be proud of over another if one follows Christ.  v. 16-17 The carnal person must remember that he is the temple of God. He dare not defile this temple for God is holy and will destroy that which is defiled.

v. 19-23 Here is the discussion of the ways of man and comparing it to the glory which should be had in Christ. It discusses the frailty of man and then the ownership which God has over His own.

List relating to the carnal

4:1 Are as babes in Christ
v 1 Cannot be spoken unto as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal
v 2 Are not able to feed on meat
v 2 were not/ are not able to bear meat
v 3 evidence among them

walk as men

v 12 Lays upon the foundation of the master builder "gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, 

v 13 which things shall not abide for they are earthly.
v 15 his work shall be burned,
he shall suffer loss,
but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

v 18 - 19 He does not know that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
v20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

List relating to the spiritual

v 9 are labourers together with god
are God's husbandry
are God's building
v10 takes heed how he buildeth thereupon (the foundation begun by Paul)
v 11 recognizes that "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ".
v 14 his work will abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.[note: we cannot take earthly things to heaven, but we will be able to take people we have let to Christ to heaven when they trust in his salvation.]
v 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
v 21 he lets not himself glory in men, for he knows all things are his.
v 22 he understands that "and ye area Christ's; and Christ is God's [issue of understanding ownership, God owns them.]

List relating to both

v 14 fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
v 15 both shall be saved; yet so as by fire
v16 both are the temple of God, and" the spirit of God dwelleth in you"
v17 If either defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy;
For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The spiritual man as a minister

Chapter 4 describes in v.1-2 that the spiritual man is as a minister of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
v 9 -13 This passage explains the path and frequent status and conditions in which a steward may often walk in. A steward seldom walks or lives according to the privileges of a king or one who reigns. We need to understand and conduct ourselves accordingly as one who is spiritual.

Then the rest of the chapter explains how the carnal man comes short in judgment of this stewardship and its application. The rest of the Book deals with the problems which enter a congregation because of carnality and gives instruction relating to it.

List of characteristics

4:1 is a minister of Christ
is a steward of the mysteries of God
v 2 is required to be found faithful

Discernment and Judgment of matters

Spirituality Vs. fornication

5:1 A man shall not have His father's wife (here it violates OT principle of having a close relative.)

  • Even the gentiles understand this principle.
  • Two issues of discernment
    • v2. The congregation was puffed up about it
    • They did not mourn about it
      • They did not put him away from them who did this deed
      • v.3 Paul in spirit had already put him away
      • v.5 They should deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
  • v. 6 Their glorying was not good
    • A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump
    • v. 7 They are to purge out the old leaven that they may be a new lump
      • The church is described as "ye are unleavened".
      • The comparison is to "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:"
        • 1Co 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven,
          • neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness;
          • but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Separation principles must be used with discernment

1Co 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?