Two Kinds of Spirits and People in the World Today, by Rev Dr John Kwasi Fosu

Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Hamburg – Bible study material on 1 Cor 2:9-16


This lesson continues Paul’s explanation of the gospel that he preached. Having contrasted the wisdom of God to the wisdom of men in 1 Cor 2:1-8, this study on  1 Cor 2:9-16 throws more light on the two Spirits in the world and that of two kinds of people in the world today.

The Two Spirits in the World Today (2:9-13)

      a.  The Spirit of this World (2:12)

Paul is of the view that Satan is certainly the energizing spirit in the world today (Ephesians 2:1-3). He has given lost men a “wisdom” that inflates their egos and blinds their minds.  Satan has led them away from the simple truths of the Word of God. The fact that the great centres of learning today do not want the Bible seems to support this perspective. For they reject the deity of the Messiah and the need for salvation through the cross. This ignorance led men to crucify the Messiah—and men (even “learned” men) have been crucifying Jesus ever since.

      b.  The Spirit of God

We must never forget that the Holy Spirit is the One who teaches us the things of God. In verse 9, Paul refers to Isaiah 64:4 and states that God has prepared wonderful things for God’s children here and now. God has prepared these blessings for us today! How does God reveal these blessings to us—through His Spirit (verse 10)? Just as a man’s spirit within him understands what outsiders never know, so the Spirit of God understands the heart and mind of God and reveals these truths to us through the Word. God wants His children to understand and not be in the dark. This is why He has given us the Word of God and the Spirit to teach us.

Note that the Spirit teaches us in words (verse 13). Here we have the verbal inspiration of the Bible—the very words given by the Spirit.” (verse 13) Here it says “explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.” The truth is clearly given that the Bible is the Word of God, given by the Spirit of God. We either trust God’s Word, taught by God’s Spirit, or the words of men.

The Two Kinds of People in the World Today (2:14-16)

    a.  The Natural Man

This man is the unsaved man, the man who belongs to the world and is happy in it. He cannot receive the things of the Spirit (the Word) because he does not have spiritual discernment.  He does not have the Spirit dwelling within his mind and body. His spirit is dead to the things of God.  In fact, the things of the Spirit are foolishness to him! In 1:23, Paul states that the Greeks thought the Gospel was foolishness. The Greeks were great philosophers but their philosophy could not explain a God who died on the cross, or, for that matter, a God who even cares about people. Their gods were not interested in the problems of people.  The Greek attitude toward the human body was such that they could not conceive of God coming in human flesh. 

      b.  The Spiritual Man

This man is the believer who is controlled by the Spirit. (In the next chapter, Paul will deal with the believer controlled by the flesh—the carnal man.) The spiritual man is a man of discernment and is able to judge and evaluate things with God’s insights. This is true wisdom.

The people of the world have a great deal of knowledge, but they lack spiritual wisdom. We could paraphrase verse 15 like this: “The spiritual person understands the things of the Spirit and has wisdom, but the people of the world cannot understand the things of the spirit of God.” We are a puzzle to the unbeliever!

The spiritual person has the mind of Christ (see Philippians 2). This means that the Spirit, through the Word, helps the believer think as Jesus thinks. It is an amazing thing to say that human beings possess the very mind of God! Down through the years, spiritual believers have predicted things that the people of the world said could never happen, but these events came to pass. The spiritually minded saint understands more about the affairs of this world from his Bible than the leaders of the world understand from their human perspective.


In 1 Cor 1-2, Paul has been emphasizing the message of the Gospel and the warning that we must not mix it with human wisdom or human philosophy. In the next two chapters, he will deal with the ministry of the Gospel and show that we must take our eyes off of people and keep them on Jesus alone.


  1. State two kinds of people in the world.
  2. Differentiate between the spirit of this world and the Spirit of God.
  3. Is it possible for a Christian to be controlled by the Spirit of this world?

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