1 Corinthians 2 Lesson

Living in the Spirit

Chapter 2 is a short chapter with two main themes: 

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

We will look at these one at a time in more detail for today’s lesson.


In Chapter 2, Paul is teaching that the Holy Spirit can shape the words of the faithful

Sounds good, right?  Not so fast.  Before any of us can have His Spirit in us to help shape our words and actions, we need to first acquire the Holy Spirit.  But how do we do that?  

The Apostle Peter explains how to acquire the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts:

  • “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38.

So when we repent and are baptized we receive the Holy Spirit.   Now just because we have access to His Spirit, does not mean we are always smart enough to follow it.   We can still be stubborn and want to do things our own way.   But when we stop and meditate on God’s word, we can be confident that God’s very spirit can shape the words that come out of our mouths.

This is important because what we say matters! Our words can build people up, but they can also tear them apart.

The Bible tells us repeatedly how powerful our words can be, and how careful we need to be with our speech. Listed below are four examples of such scriptures:

  1. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” - Proverbs 18:21.
  2. 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.
  3. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” - Proverbs 16:24.
  4. 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, because:

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, not judgment.

God will give us the right words to speak only 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 the Spirit of God!  When we are following His Spirit, we are following God.  The Spirit and God are the same. What could be more superior than that? 

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 Spirit to shape not only our words but our actions, we are following the Creator of the world! There is nothing or nobody superior to God.

Knowing that, why would anyone choose to follow anyone or anything other than God?

The answer to that is because of the temptations of the flesh. Satan uses the temptations of the flesh to distract and dissuade us from following God.

When we walk “In the flesh,” we are doing the exact opposite of walking “In the Spirit.”

In The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5:19-26), Paul wrote down what the works of the flesh are. These include:

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

Any one of these things can prevent us from being in the Spirit!  It comes down to the following question:

What are our priorities?

If we want to seek only to please ourselves, we are choosing not to follow Jesus and we are wasting the opportunity to be led by God’s own Spirit.

However, if we choose to serve God and others, then we will have His Spirit to shine a light onto the path that we are called to walk!

The path is ready to be chosen. But it is up to each of us to make the right choice.

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 get back on the path that leads to salvation!


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!