Word Study: Mind of Christ | Pilisa S. Hamrick

To have the mind of Christ means to share “the views, feelings, and temper of Christ, and to be influenced by his Spirit” (Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible, 1 Corinthians 2:16). Scripture reads “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.” (Romans 8:6-7 ESV). In Strong’s Concordance, “mind” in this context can be defined as “inclination or purpose”. Essentially, the verse is saying that we should set our purpose on the Spirit and not the flesh. A person who sets their purpose on the flesh is hostile to God. So, to have the mind of Christ means to be spiritually minded, to share his point of view and desires, and to not be fleshly minded.

This is further explained in Romans 8:27-28 “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV) Commentary for this verse from Albert Barnes describes “knows what is the mind of the Spirit” to mean “knows the desires which the Holy Spirit excites and produces in the heart… He sees the anxious feelings of the soul, and is ready to aid and to bless”. Again, if we have the mind of the Spirit, we know what he wants, and we are ready to serve him.

So then, if having the mind of Christ means to know his point of view and share in his purpose, then we should share some of his characteristics. In Philippians 2:3-8, Paul describes the humility of Jesus that we are to imitate. He explains that although Jesus is God, he humbled himself by taking on a human form and dying on a cross to save us.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have the mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Following his example, we should be humble and put others above ourselves.

Peter explains that, since Jesus suffered and died in the flesh for the will of God, we should be ready to suffer and die as Jesus did. “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” 1 Peter 4:1-2(ESV).

However, although we are called to have the mind of Christ, it is something that can never fully be understood. God is so great that no one is capable of understanding his infinite knowledge or the depths of his wisdom. Therefore, he cannot be taught or advised or counseled. His mind possesses all knowledge. Romans 11:33-34 says “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (ESV)

This is further expressed in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16:

“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thought except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”(ESV)

This verse reiterates that God’s knowledge is infinite, and no one can know his views, his thoughts, or his plans. It also states that we have been given the Spirit who is from God. So the Spirit of God and the mind of Christ live inside us as Christians and yet we still cannot comprehend the vastness of God’s knowledge.

From this study, I have learned that the concept of having the mind of God is too big for any man to understand. However, God would not tell us to do it if we could not do it. Therefore, it must be attainable. So, since we share the mind of Christ, we do know his qualities. Those qualities include to show others humility and put others before ourselves. Also, to be ready to suffer and die as Jesus did, for the will of God. And we can also have the mind of Christ in the way that we can share his desires and his purpose and we can be ready to assist in his plan.

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