1 Corinthians 2:15
“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,…”
Explanation and Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:15
This verse means that with the Holy Spirit, Christians have the ability to understand matters of this earthly world and the divine world, but people who do not have the Holy Spirit indwelling in them cannot understand these Christians.
Although mature Christians are physically in the world, they are in a sense dead to the ways of the world, including the laws and morality dictated by man. This is because they are living either: (1) a spiritual life of grace from Christ, or (2) an eternal life which is free from all the hardships of the world, is perfect and is in fellowship with the Father.
Unfortunately, this verse is subject to widespread confusion. Calvinists, who are a branch of Protestantism who broke from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century and were led by John Calvin, taught that this verse was addressed to unbelievers or the lost.
Calvinists believed that one had to be chosen by God in order to understand spiritual things, and whether or not you were chosen was not something within your control. An examination of this verse in the context of the rest of Paul’s letter indicates that Paul is instead speaking to believers who were still young and growing in their faith.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of 1 Corinthians 2:15
#1 “The person with the Spirit…”
This refers to Christian who are mature Christians, as opposed to Christians who are “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1) or immature Christians. To those immature Christians, Paul says he has fed them with milk and not meat because they are carnal and not yet able (1 Corinthians 3:2) just as infants must first be fed milk before they are mature enough to eat solid food. Here, these mature Christians are either sanctified and made spiritually minded (Romans 8:6), or they have had divine revelations made to them and have founded their faith on these revelations.
#2 “…makes judgments about all things…”
A mature Christian has the ability to investigate or examine matters of the human world and, because the Holy Spirit indwells in him or her, of the divine world. Such a Christian can discern the scriptures plainly and easily, and determine whether someone preaches the truth of God or not. This is because the mature Christian has the mind of Christ, and the mind of Christ is the mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:16).
#3 “but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,…”
No person of this earthly world, who bases all their knowledge on science and reason, can understand or properly judge a mature Christian. Neither can a person without the Holy Spirit indwelling within him or her understand other spiritual things because he or she is a stranger to the principles of the divine life (Colossians 3:3).
Expert Overview of 1 Corinthians
Biblical Translations of 1 Corinthians 2:15
The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments.
Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.
The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.