New Testament Word Studies – Nous

‘Nous’, is ‘MIND’ in the sense of the intellect, the reasoning faculty, the understanding. When Paul exclaimed ‘Who hath known the mind (i.e., intellect and intellect in action, the dunking and planning) of the Lord’, ? Rom. n. 34, he had been surveying God’s ways in history and redemption and had seen behind them evidence of the same massive wisdom and skill as Isaiah had perceived in creation, Isa. 40. 13. Similarly, ‘We have the mind of Christ’, 1 Cor. 2. 16, means, not that we have the lowly attitude of Christ depicted in Philippians 2, but rather that in possessing the Spirit of God we have the very intelligence of Christ so that we may ‘know the things that are freely given to us of God’ and be able ‘to judge all things’. The believer’s intellect and understanding need proper use and development just as does his heart. It was the disciples’ intellect that the Lord opened so that they might understand the Scriptures, Luke 24. 45. It is by the renewing of our intellect that we are transformed, Rom. 12. 2. Perhaps in no matter is it more important to exercise our reasoning faculty properly than in the question of the right use of spiritual gifts. ‘If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth but my intellect is unfruitful … I will pray with the intellect also … Be not children in mind (phrenes, a word similar in meaning to nous) … but in mind (phrenes) be adult’, 1 Cor. 14. 14, 15, 20. Let it be said at once that a wrongly used intellect is a bane in spiritual things. Some Paul describes as ‘… vainly puffed up by his fleshly intellect and not holding the head …’, Col. 2. 18, 19. But true reason will realise and gladly own that there are many things that pass its powers of comprehension, not least among them the peace of God that passes all intellectual understanding (nous) and analysis, Phil. 4. 7.

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