1 Corinthians 2 Lesson

Living in the Spirit

Chapter 2 is a relatively short chapter with two main themes: 

  1. Paul’s reliance on the Holy Spirit.
  2. The superiority of the Holy Spirit.

These will be the focus of today’s lesson.


In Chapter 2, Paul is talking about the power of words.  He is teaching the Corinthians that the Holy Spirit can shape the words of the faithful.   

What we say matters!

Our words can build people up, but they can also tear them apart.

The Bible tells us repeatedly how much our words matter.  Here are a handful of those scriptures:

  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” - Proverbs 18:21.
  • “Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” - Ephesians 4:29.
  • “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” - Proverbs 16:24.
  • “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.” - Proverbs 15:4.

We are all going to give an account one day for the words that we speak.  We need to be careful that our words are being guided by the Spirit, and not something else. 

Jesus said in the Gospel of Mathew:

“But I tell you that for every careless word that people speak, they will give an account of it on the day of judgment.” - Mathew 12:36.

As Christians, we should be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). 

This is not a burdensome command, if we are in the Spirit. 

If we are in the Spirit, our hearts will be gentle and kind. 

If we are in the Spirit, our intentions will be pure.

If we are in the Spirit, our words will show compassion and not judgment.

God will give us the right words if we follow His Spirit.    

That is the point that Paul is making when he says:

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” – 1 Corinthians 2:12-13.


The Holy Spirit is literally the Spirit of God.  When we are following the Spirit, we are following God.  The Spirit and God are one in the same. 

Earlier in the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote:

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” – 1 Corinthians 1:25.

The prophet, Isaiah, wrote:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:8-9.

When we allow God’s word and His Spirit to shape our actions and our words, we are walking in the Spirit and pleasing God.

The opposite of walking in the Spirit, is walking in the flesh.  Paul’s letter to the Galatians teaches us that the works of the flesh include:

  • Sexual immorality.
  • Impurity.
  • Indecent behavior.
  • Idolatry.
  • Witchcraft.
  • Hostilities.
  • Strife.
  • Jealousness.
  • Anger.
  • Selfish ambition.
  • Dissensions.
  • Factions.
  • Envy.
  • Drunkenness.
  • Carousing.

All these things prevent us from being in the Spirit!  It comes down to the following question:

What are our priorities?

If our priority is to serve ourselves, we will be motivated by the works of the flesh and we will not inherit eternal life.

However, if we choose to serve God and others, then we will be living by the Spirit.  This is the path that God hopes we will choose.  It leads to eternity in heaven and provides peace and comfort in a cold, sometimes hard world.  Jesus is our perfect example.  

As recorded in two of the four gospels, Jesus said:

"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” - Mathew 20:28, Mark 10:45.

What choice will you make? 

Are you going to follow the world and live according to the works of the flesh?

Or will you follow Jesus and commit your life to walking in the Spirit.  It is never too late to make the right decision! 


Pat Dermody

When I need to visit someone who has suffered a loss or been given some bad news I wonder what can I possibly say to help them. I feel inadequate. But I find when I take the time to turn it over to the Holy Spirit things are better. Instead of thinking about ME and my inadequacies I turn it over to someone more powrful who will help me help them.

Dan W

Yes--knowing that the Spirit does not contradict the Bible but actually inspired it and works through it to guide us is an important fact to help us evaluate our feelings and hunches. We often think emotionally, but thinking spiritually means we focus toward the Word of God.


Relying on the Holy Spirit can take the pressure off of us to say something wise, or witty, or profound. By relying on the Spirit and not man, we can breath easy knowing that our priorities are right with God.

Dan W

Agreed. Letting the Spirit speak through the Word rather is more powerful than all of our efforts, and is the safe way to handle the Sword correctly.

Dan W

Appreciate your insights Brother!