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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Who Is the Natural Man? Who Is the Spiritual Man?

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Don Stewart
Scripture speaks of two different types of people-the natural man and the spiritual man. What is the difference between the two?

Natural Man

The Bible speaks of the natural man as the person who has not received Christ as Savior.

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14).

1.Operates On Human Wisdom

The natural man may be defined as an individual who operates entirely on human wisdom. This is due to the fact that they have not made a commitment to Jesus Christ. They have not experienced the new birth and do not have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. Because the natural man does not have the Spirit of God living in them, they do not understand or welcome spiritual truth. It is foolishness unto them. The unbeliever cannot understand how a person who died 1900 years ago can have any meaning with the way they are living today.

2.No Real Understanding Of Bible

They do not receive or welcome the message of Scripture. Their reaction to the message of the gospel is that it is foolishness, ridiculous.

3.Does Not Have The Proper Equipment

Unsaved humanity does not have the proper equipment to make proper estimate of spiritual truth. As stars are telescopically discerned, and germs are microscopically discerned, the Bible is discerned by the Holy Spirit. It would be like a blind person judging an art contest.

Many sincere and educated people admire the Bible as literature and extoll its moral teaching-but they miss the real spiritual message of the Bible that salvation is only through the person of Jesus Christ.

Miss The Purpose

These same people may acknowledge Christ as a wonderful teacher or example but they miss the real purpose of why He came into the world. Paul wrote.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1:15).

4.Spiritual Blindfold

The Bible says the unbeliever has a spiritual blindfold on.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:3,4).

Spiritual Man

In contrast to the natural man is the spiritual man.

Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else's scrutiny (1 Corinthians 2:15).

The spiritual man is one who is characterized by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Bible encourages believers to let the Spirit lead them.

Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts (Ephesians 5:18,19).

The spiritual man produces the fruit of the Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things (Galatians 5:22).


Before a person becomes a Christian, Scripture calls them the natural man. They have no ability to worship or serve God. After salvation a believer can be led by the Spirit or be a spiritual man.

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