Is the mind important to God, in terms of living the Christian life properly (biblically)?
“Mind” (Gk. word “nous”) denotes, generally speaking, the center of reflective consciousness, comprising the faculties of perception and understanding, and those of judging, feeling, and determining.
In the New Testament, its use may be analyzed as follows:
- the faculty of knowing, the seat of the understanding – Lk. 24:45; Rom. 1:28; 14:5; 1 Cor. 14:15, 19; Eph. 4:17; Phil. 4:7; Col. 2:18.
- counsels, purpose – Rom. 11:34; 12:2; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2:16; Eph. 4:23.
- the new nature of the Christian by reason of his spiritual conversion – Rom. 7:23-25.
- thought or design (Gk. “noema”) – 2 Cor. 3:14; 4:4; 11:3; Phil. 4:7.
- the thought, what one has in the mind; or an object of thought (Gk. “phronema”) – Rom. 8:6.
What will happen to a person with a perverse (twisted, distorted, or perverted) mind (heart, perception, or understanding)?
Do you despise (view as repugnant/distasteful) people who have a perverse mind?
Is your mind ever perverse? If so, why?
Prov. 15:14; 18:15 What does the mind of the intelligent (prudent) seek (acquire)?
Are you seeking (beneficial) knowledge?
If so, where do you look for it?
And where is the best place you should look for (beneficial) knowledge, in general?
Or, do you feed on (spend time thinking about) folly (foolishness; evil)?
Prov. 16:9 What does the mind of man plan?
But what does the Lord do?
Have you ever noticed how you made plans to do something, but the Lord determined what you actually did?
Prov. 17:20 What does the person with a crooked mind find?
Do you know of people whose crooked minds got them into trouble?
If so, why do you think this happens?
Prov. 23:31-33 What will drunkenness lead your mind to do?
Have you ever observed or been told by people who have been drunk that drunkenness led to mental problems, such as hallucinations or imagining confusing (abnormal) things or saying distorted/improper/perverted things?
Why can alcohol have this kind of effect?
How can this be prevented (see Eph. 5:18)?
Will you do this continually, and why?
Jer. 17:10; 20:12 What does the Lord search (see) and test (examine)?
Are you aware that God knows your innermost thoughts and motives, and can, therefore, justly render to you what your deeds deserve?
How will knowing this affect your behavior and motives from now on?
Matt. 16:21-23 Why did Jesus say to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan”?
[Peter’s trying to thwart the crucifixion of Jesus, as Satan had earlier tried to do in Matt. 4:8-10, resulted from not thinking from God’s viewpoint. Peter was carried away by his self-centered interest in being one of the top officials in Christ’s kingdom that Peter wanted set up immediately.].
Do you ever find yourself setting (fixing) your mind (views, thoughts) on man’s interests (your selfish interests) rather than on God’s interests (values and perspectives)?
If so, when, what, and why?
Matt. 22:35-37 What did Jesus say is the great commandment in the Law?
Do you love God with all your mind (understanding and thoughtfulness)?
Have you thought through what the Bible says is the way we should love (seek the best interests of) God?
Are you thoughtfully loving God by your obedience to Him (Jn. 14:15, 21; 1 Jn. 5:3)?
Mk. 5:15 How is the demon-possessed man whom Jesus healed described?
What had demons previously caused this man to do in Mk. 5:5?
What does this tell you about the influence of demons on a person’s mind?
How do you know when a demon is influencing your mind?
Have you ever experienced demons influencing your mind?
If so, how, or in what way(s)?
Acts 1:14; 2:44-46; 15:25
What was true of all of these believers in these three passages?
Are you of one mind (view, thinking, agreement) with the Christians you fellowship with in all areas that the Bible teaches?
Why do you think that they were able to be of one mind (same view or agreement) – see Acts 2:42?
If all Christians submitted to the same correct Bible teaching and interpretation, do you think we’d all be of one mind as well?
Those who live according to the flesh (sinful nature) set (fix, occupy) their mind (thoughts, aspirations, mind-set) on what?
Specifically, what are the things of the flesh/sin nature (Gal. 5:19-21)?
What does the mind set on the flesh result in?
[“death” – spiritually; separation from God, Isa. 59:2; Rom. 6:23].
Though the mind set (fixed) on the flesh (sinful nature) results in spiritual death, what does the mind set on (what the Holy) Spirit (desires and enables us to be and do) result in?
What is your mind set (fixed, absorbed, occupied) on?
How often, and why?
Rom. 12:2 How are we Christians to be transformed (totally changed from the inside out)?
Are you renewing (changing to new or God-like) your mind (thoughts, attitudes, motives)?
If so, how?
How can and should you renew your mind – Psa. 119:11, 15-16?
Why that (Jn. 17:17; Psa. 119:105, 160)?
Rom. 14:5 What should each Christian be fully convinced about in his own mind (thinking)?
Do you view Sunday as the Lord’s Day and, therefore, the only day to set aside to worship God, or do you hold everyday as the Lord’s Day and worship Him every day?
Have you thought through the basis for your view, so that you are fully convinced of why you hold that position?
Why should you be fully convinced of the view you take (see Rom. 14:23)?
Rom. 15:5 What did Paul hope that God would grant these Christians at Rome?
[Paul hoped this because of the differences discussed in Rom. 14:2-6].
Are you of the same mind (like-minded, thinking the same) with the Christians you fellowship, according to (just like) Christ Jesus (who desired His Father’s will rather than His own will)?
[Christians can be of the same mind (like-minded) with one another by studying the Bible in context, being taught the truth by spiritually-gifted teachers, teaching others the truth, and rejecting factious people (Acts 17:11; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Tim. 6:2-5; 2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17; 4:2-4; Titus 1:9; 3:9-11).].
1 Cor. 1:10
Besides telling these Christians to all agree and not have divisions, what else does Paul exhort them to be?
Are the Christians in your fellowship group of the same mind (view – as to the things believed) and the same judgment (decision – as to what is to be done) in all things/areas that the Bible teaches?
Does your fellowship group believe the same things regarding evangelism, building believers up spiritually, priorities, salvation, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, His ministries and spiritual gifts, man’s nature and will, the Bible, eternal security, baptism, etc.?
If you’re not of the same mind (view) on these issues, what can you do to help make your fellowship to be of the same mind and judgment (see above passages in the Rom. 15:5 footnote)?
1 Cor. 2:14-16 Of Whom do spiritual Christians have the mind (the thinking/views/teaching)?
[“the mind of Christ” – here, regarding, the gospel, 1 Cor. 2:2-8, 12].
If you’re a spiritual Christian (controlled by the Holy Spirit rather than by your sin nature), are you better able to understand and accept God’s Word, the Bible, than you were before becoming a spiritual Christian?
If so, what specifically (what truths/principles)?
These Ephesians were taught to lay aside (put off) the old self (the unsaved life-style) and to be what (Eph. 4:23)?
Are you being made new in the spirit (attitude) of your mind (understanding/thinking)?
If so, how, and how often?
Phil. 1:27 What did Paul want to hear about these Christians in his absence?
Are you standing firm in one (common) spirit (attitude/purpose), with one mind (passion/affection/disposition) striving with your fellow Christians for the faith (spread) of the gospel?
If not, how can you develop such a oneness of mind (passion) for the gospel’s spread?
Phil. 2:2 How were these Christians to make Paul’s joy complete?
Are you making your spiritual leader’s joy complete by being of the same mind (like-minded; thought) as he, on all issues that the Bible clearly addresses?
With what kind of mind (attitude) are we to regard (consider) others as more important than ourselves?
Do you see by now how important our mind is in being able to live the Christian life properly in obedience to God?
Phil. 4:8 What are we to let our mind (thoughts) dwell on?
Name some specific things that would fall into these categories?
True (Gk. “alethe”) means actual, true to fact, conforming to reality, factual” (Vine, Unger, and White’s, An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 1170). It means not false and has its norm in God (W. Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).
- Examples: Church history; the kind, gracious, corrective words or actions of people toward either you or someone else; people’s experiences or lessons learned that could benefit you morally/spiritually/relationally; people’s words or deeds that could be spiritually motivating to your well being; the Bible; God’s attributes; Christian biographies; conversion testimonies.
Honorable (Gk. “semnos”) means a noble seriousness, worthy of reverence (Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, vol. 2, “Philippians”, p. 110). It means “dignified, serious – in speech and behavior (New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).
- Examples: Either a sermon on or thinking about on your own, that of reaching the lost with the gospel; God, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit and their attributes or works; people’s gracious, kind, or generous acts toward others; Christian people’s sacrificial giving of themselves (their time, talents, treasures) to build up and/or train other Christians; the Bible; the Christian’s purpose in life and priorities; martyrs for the Christian faith; hell, heaven, eternity.
Right (Gk. “dikaios”) means “that which is in conformity to God’s standards” (J. Walvoord and R. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “just, fair, that which is in harmony with God’s will and law”(New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 198).
- Examples: Situations or circumstances where people either said or did the right thing even though under pressure or tempted to say/do the wrong thing; accomplishing goals or objectives in a legitimate way; solving a problem or counseling a person the way God would want; having the proper attitude/motives for something you will be doing or saying; the Bible; performing some action/decision in a fair or proper way.
Pure (Gk. “hagna”) means “wholesome, not mixed with moral impurity” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “not defiled or contaminated, free from fault/sin/evil” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, pp. 903, 175).
- Examples: How you can help someone in need because you love them Christianly; edifying conversations, hymns, or spiritual songs; biblical sermons/speeches; God’s creation or nature scenes; the Bible; cassette tapes on Christian growth; people as God’s wonderful creations; living a holy/obedient life for God; how to act biblically/correctly in different kinds of situations.
Lovely (Gk. “prosphile”) means “what promotes peace rather than conflict” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “that which inspires love” (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1330). It means “pleasing” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 695).
- Examples: God’s creation or nature; how to increase group morale and/or unity; what you could say to compliment/encourage someone; what someone said/did to comfort or encourage you; saying or doing something nice for someone who dislikes you; how you can reconcile a broken relationship; doing a special act of kindness for a needy person or to someone who’s in full-time Christian work; the Bible; how you can please your spiritual leader or others.
Good repute (Gk. “euphema”) means “what is positive and constructive, admirable” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, p. 664). It means “uttering words of good report or fair-sounding or good reputation” (An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, p. 953).
- Examples: Good things said about another person; a biblical sermon/talk/seminar; someone’s biblical advice to you or correction of you; the Bible itself; someone’s wise instruction; helpful lessons learned in life shared; Christian biographies or testimonies; witnessing experiences; tips on money management to be a good steward for God; someone’s complimentation of another person.
Excellence (Gk. “arete”) means “virtue; good in it” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, p. 1312). It means “moral/spiritual excellence; virtue” (New Testament Commentary – Philippians, p. 199)
- Examples: People’s plans to serve God or to obey the Bible; a right decision made; a good deed performed by someone; a speech said that was biblical (i.e., true, loving, etc.); character changes in the lives of Christians; Christ-like traits displayed.
Are these the kind of things that you are having your mind to dwell upon?
What kind of mind is inflated (puffed up) without cause because this person has supposedly seen some unusual things (i.e., visions)?
Do you know of anyone who because of a fleshly (carnal, unspiritual) mind has claimed to have seen God, Jesus, Mary, etc.?
[Don’t let these kinds of people sidetrack you from getting your prize in heaven, by leading you astray into mystical, religious experiences. Stick with the clear and correct teachings of God’s Word, the Bible.].
Col. 3:2 What are and what aren’t we to set (fix, concentrate) our minds (affections, concerns) on?
Are you fixing/concentrating your mind/concern on eternal, spiritual values, such as those qualities listed in Col. 3:12-14; and Rom. 14:17; or on fleshly lusts, such as those listed in verse five?
How can you train yourself to focus your mind/affections on heavenly, spiritual values?
Will you? When?
Titus 1:15 What does it say about the minds of the defiled (corrupted and unbelieving) people?
Looking back, can you see how your mind/thinking and conscience/ moral awareness was corrupted before you became a Christian?
How has your conversion affected your mind/thinking?
Lk. 24:33, 44-45
What did Jesus do to the minds of the 11 apostles and some other disciples who were with them?
What does this show about the importance of the mind (perception faculty) and its relationship to understanding the Scriptures?
Has your mind (spiritual capacity and perception faculty) been opened (illuminated) to be able to understand the real meaning of the Bible?
When (1 Cor. 2:14-16; Matt. 13:12; Lk. 8:18)?
If you’re a spiritual/Spirit-filled Christian who responds in faith and action to what you hear from the Bible, you’ll be given more truth with understanding (L. Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries – Luke, p. 168; N. Geldenhuys, The New International Commentary on the New Testament – Luke, p. 248).
2 Cor. 3:12-16
What does it say about the minds of both the ancient Israelites as well as the present day Jews of Paul’s day?
How could this situation be remedied by either a Jew or anyone today (2 Cor. 3:16)?
How can a person turn to the Lord so as to have the veil of unbelief taken away (see Eph. 2:8-9; Jn. 6:44, 65)?
When did you turn to Christ in faith because God the Father was drawing you to Him?
2 Cor. 4:3-4 What has Satan (the god of this world) done to the minds of the unbelieving?
Have you ever clearly presented the gospel to some non-Christian, only to have them not grasp what you’ve explained simply?
2 Cor. 11:3-4 What was Paul afraid might happen to these Christians?
How can you prevent your mind from being deceived and led astray into false teachings (see Acts 17:11; Psa. 119:15, 99, 105, 160; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 4:11-16; 2 Tim. 3:15-16; Rom. 16:17)?
Are you taking these precautionary measures?
If so, how often?
1 Pet. 1:13
Because these people whom Peter was writing to had become Christians, undergone many kinds of trials, and knew a heavenly inheritance awaited them, what were they to do?
Is your mind prepared for action to do spiritual battle against the ungodly world system, the devil, and your own sin nature with its evil lusts?
Are you putting out of your mind all that would impede the progress of your Christian growth, things such as: worry, fear, jealousy, hate, impurity, unforgiveness, greed, and disobedience to the commands of God for Christians in general?
How can you prepare yourself for tough-minded holiness in the spiritual battle?
Prov. 23:7 How does what a person thinks affect him?
Since what a person thinks is what/who they are, what should we do so that we become the way God wants us to be, Josh. 1:8; Psa. 119:11, 15, 23, 48, 97, 99, 148?
Are you meditating on God’s Word, the Bible?
If so, how often?
How often do you think would be good – Psa. 1:2?
Matt. 10:34 What does Jesus tell His disciples not to think?
How could wrong thinking in this area have affected Jesus’ disciples?
If you thought that Jesus came to bring peace on the earth and then you, as a Christian, experienced conflict with others (Matt. 10:35-36) because of your Christian position/values/actions, would you have become disillusioned or depressed, and why?
So do you see that how you think vitally affects you as a person?
Matt. 17:24-27 Does Jesus try to get His disciple Peter to think, and why?
Is it important for Christians to think through issues and situations so that they will act or respond properly (in a godly, Christ-like way) and not offend people unnecessarily?
Why (1 Cor. 9:19-23)?
Rom. 12:3 How are each of the Christians at Rome told not to think and to think?
Do you have an inflated view of yourself?
[Because each member of the Christian body (church) functions to serve the Christian body (fellow Christians) and each has a differing function, therefore, we all (Christians) need each other to grow and minister to others most effectively. Therefore, it’s important to think soundly about oneself and to evaluate properly God’s gifts and their uses – Rom. 12:3-8. (The measure of faith given by God corresponds to the task given each believer.)].
Do you think that you are a self-sufficient Christian and either don’t need anybody else or can teach, train, and evangelize the world by yourself?
Rom. 14:2-3, 14
To the Christian who thinks that some kinds of food (i.e., meat, etc.) are unclean (see Lev. 11; Acts 10:12-15 – impure according to Jewish ritual law), to him those foods are unclean. Why would something (i.e., food) that is clean (Rom. 14:20; Acts 10:15, Mk. 7:18-19) be considered unclean just because a Christian thought it was unclean (see Rom. 14:23)?
Can you see how important your thinking is to living the Christian life?
[Even some things that are not wrong to do according to the Bible, God’s Word, can become wrong to the person who thinks that they are wrong – Rom. 14:23.].
1 Cor. 14:20 What were these Christians told not to be children in, but to be mature in?
[Childish thinking is self-centered, short-sighted, and seeks immediate gratification.].
Is your thinking childish or mature?
How do you know?
How can a Christian develop mature thinking (Psa. 119:99)?
Are you continually meditating upon and studying God’s Word, the Bible, so as to properly understand, interpret, and apply it?
1 Cor. 10:6, 11-12
What should a Christian who thinks that he’s above (safe from) committing a particular sin do?
Do you think that you are so strong of a Christian that you’d never give in to a particular sin, and why?
Gal. 6:3 When does a person deceive himself?
Have you ever been deceived into thinking that you’re above failure, error, or sin?
Or, have you ever thought that you’re a really good Christian because in comparison to the people around you, you stand out as being more knowledgeable about the Bible or more disciplined in not committing the external, observable sins that they do?
How should you think about yourself (Gal. 6:4; Rom. 12:3)?
Jas. 1:26 Who deceives his own heart and has a worthless religion?
Do you consider yourself religious/spiritual?
If so, do you ever engage in gossip, slander, swearing, dirty jokes, belittling other people, etc.?
Do you still think that you are a religious/spiritual person?
What did Peter say to Simon, who thought that he could obtain the gift of God (the God-given apostolic sign of acceptance into salvation in the giving of the Holy Spirit with the laying on of the apostles hands) with money – Acts 8:20?
Have you ever had wrong thoughts about the Christian life, the ministry, or the gifts of the Holy Spirit?
For example, have you ever wanted to speak in tongues; get a revelation directly from God; heal someone by laying your hands on that person and declaring them healed; prophesy; or perform a miracle – even though all of these spiritual gifts no longer exist in this period of history (since they ended by AD 100 or earlier)?
How can you have right thinking rather than wrong thoughts about these or any other biblical issues (see Acts 17:11; Psa. 119:99, 160)?
Matt. 17:25; 18:12; 21:28; 22:42-43; Lk. 10:36; 12:56; 1 Cor. 14:20
What does Jesus or Paul encourage, in common, all these people to do?
Lk. 12:22-23; Jn. 8:47; 13:11; Titus 1:5
On the basis of what, in common, does Jesus or Paul base his conclusions?
What do both sets of passages tell you about the importance of thinking, analyzing, and reasoning?
2 Cor. 10:3-5
The weapons (God’s Word and prayer – Eph. 6:17-18; Heb. 4:12) of the Christian are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (i.e., humanistic: philosophies, eloquence, and learning opposed to Christ and the gospel).
[Paul is destroying/demolishing speculations (erroneous human opinions; arguments) and every lofty thing (pretension; Judaic self-righteousness & humanistic philosophic opinions) raised (that sets itself) up against the knowledge (truth) of God, (the truth of the gospel).].
How or for what purpose does Paul say that he takes every thought captive?
Are you renouncing dependence on your own understanding (Prov. 3:4-5; 1 Cor. 1:18-25) and submitting instead to the teachings of Christ (i.e., Jn. 3:3, 7, 14-15; 6:47; 11:25-26; 14:6) for your salvation?
Are you taking all of your thoughts about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, man, your purpose in life, how you should spend your time and money, etc. captive to the obedience of Christ (obeying His teachings)?
Psa. 119:9 How can a young person keep his life/way pure?
And how are we to keep our lives pure according to God’s word (Psa. 119:11)?
Are you treasuring/hiding God’s word in your heart/mind so that you don’t sin against God?
Do you have a Scripture memory program, whereby you are systematically memorizing key verses out of the Bible?
If so, what is it?
Or, are you reading through the whole Bible again and again in order to constantly review and refresh your memory of God’s truths?
If so, how often?
By now, it should be obvious that our minds/thoughts are an important part of our being in order to live the Christian life properly (biblically, godly, spiritually), and that God’s Word, the Bible, plays a major role in renewing/programming our minds/thoughts to be where God wants them to be, so that we can live and worship right.
What do you plan to do now that you know what God thinks about your mind/thoughts?
Will you spend a lot more time reading, studying, meditating upon, and memorizing God’s Word on a daily basis?
If so, when will you start?
In the following passages, what shows that God wants us to use our minds (be logical, reasoning, thinking, explanatory, analytical)?
- Matt. 22:37
- Isa. 1:18
- Acts 17:1-4; 18:4
- Acts 17:11
- Acts 19:8-10
- Acts 11:2-4
- Luke 1:1-4
- Luke 24:27, 32; Mk. 4:34