The Natural Man Does Not Receive Divine Revelation

Natural Man in 1 Corinthians 15In the first installment, we introduced the subject of the natural versus the spiritual from the two Greek words Paul used to discussed it in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16.

We will continue that study in this article. For those of you who may not be a subscriber, you can go to the blog at to find the post.

Quickly to review, we pointed out that the natural man was the person who rejected the revelation of God and who did not have the indwelling of the Spirit of God as it was poured out on Pentecost, (Acts 2) and through the gifts imparted by the Apostles, (Rom. 1:11, 1 Cor. 1:4-8).

Before we examine the spiritual or “pneumatikos” man more in depth, let’s check out a few of the additional examples where¬† the natural man is referenced in Scripture. This will aid us in determining if we are using the term correctly in our current study.

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The Natural Man in Jude 1:19-20

Jude, speaks of mockers who had com in his day and who were mocking the saints in the church. They are described by the same term used in 1 Corinthians chapter 2.

“These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” (v. 19).

Note that Jude says they do not have the Spirit. That means they fall into the same descriptive category as those in the Corinthians letter.

The word “sensual” in our English translation is the same word (psuchkoi plural) pronounced psoo-ki-koi. (The p is silent as in psyche, psychology, etc.).

In other words Jude, like Paul, says they are “natural” men. They are fully alive, walking around in their human bodies. They are called natural because as you can see from the context, they have rejected the testimony or revelation from God. They do not have the Spirit.

Jude also says that the saints do have the Spirit. “But you beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (vv. 20-21)

The distinctions are the same as those found in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. The natural man does not have the Spirit and lives outside of the revelation of God. The Spiritual man acknowledges and receives God. Both are alive physically in body soul and spirit.

Natural ManThe Natural man versus spiritual does not mean a human body versus a non-biological spiritual one. Paul’s view of natural man and spiritual man is that one lives under the Old Covenant age, dominated by sin and death, and the other lives in the New Covenant age dominated by life and righteousness. We shall have more to say on this in the next installment.

Paul Characterizes the Natural Man As the Old Covenant Man

The natural man is identified in other letters by Paul. In Galatians 3, Paul speaks of those who had not received the Spirit of God. “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:2-3).

He continues in verse 5. “Therefore, He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”¬† From these verses, the distinction is not that of living versus dead corpses. It is those of faith (the gospel) who received the spirit and those under the law (Torah) who did not.

This identifies the natural man in 1 Cor. 2:14 and Jude 1 as one and the same, i.e. Judaizers who rejected the gospel in hope of obtaining salvation through works.