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The Scriptorium

Two Mirrors

The better to see themselves. And ourselves. 1 Corinthians 2.13-15

1 Corinthians 2 (5)

Pray Psalm 119.129-131.
Your testimonies are wonderful;
Therefore my soul keeps them.
The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple.
I opened my mouth and panted,
For I longed for Your commandments.

Sing Psalm 119.129-131.
(No Other Plea: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Your testimonies, LORD are sweet; I hide them in my soul.
Your words give light unto my feet, and make my thinking whole.
I open wide my mouth to You: LORD, feed me with Your Word!
I vow that all You say I’ll do: I love Your precepts, LORD.

Read 1 Corinthians 2.1-15; meditate on verses 13-15.


1. How does the “natural man” regard the things of God? Why?

2. How does the Spirit teach those who believe?

Paul continued holding up two mirrors to the Corinthians—one of the “natural” world and one of the world of God’s Spirit. He was leading them to look into each one, side-by-side. His purpose was that they might see which of those mirrors best reflected their status.

So far, because of the divisions they allowed to fracture their fellowship, and their prideful trust in men, the Corinthians were looking more like the sinful world than the new world which Jesus is bringing into being.

Man’s wisdom counts for nothing in learning the things God freely gives us in His Word (v. 14). We need the Holy Spirit to teach us, but we must show up for class daily. And when you show up, don’t be looking instead at some views of this or that teacher, preacher, or saint, which you have tucked between the pages of your Bible. Only the Word of God has the “spiritual things” we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (v. 13).

The Spirit’s teaching method is to draw on spiritual things found throughout the Bible (v. 13), combining light and truth from here and there to reveal Jesus and lead us into God’s will. The more consistently we read and study God’s Word, and the more of it we store up in our soul, the more the Spirit will have readily available to lead us into the glory and truth of God, and we’ll be better prepared to discern truth and judge between right and wrong (v. 15).

As the Spirit does this, we look in the mirror where Jesus shines through, and we find—to our great delight—that we’re looking more like Him every day (2 Cor. 3.12-18).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The best gift ever is salvation. It is undeserved grace upon grace poured upon us through the mercy of God, the sacrifice of His dear Son Jesus, and the ever-present guarantee of the Holy Spirit. Nothing surpasses that!

But after that, the next best gift is the Word of God: “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” that pierces even to divide “soul and spirt, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4.12, 13). This Word of God was “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3.16, 17).

This is the same Word of God that we are commanded to study, and through which we are to be “diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2.15).

There is no other way to come to the knowledge of God. None.

Now I am sure if one was imprisoned for their faith, and all Bibles were inaccessible to them, that the Holy Spirit would bring to mind the truths and promises of Scripture (Jn. 16.13, 14). But those truths and promises must have at some time become dear to one’s heart, read, meditated on, prayed through, and cherished for it to be accessible to their minds and memory (Ps. 119.11, 15, 18, 27, etc., etc.).

I cannot do what Emily Dickinson does so well, and that is tell it slant, in her poetry.

I can only say this as clearly and carefully as is possible: Read the Word of God. Study it, meditate on it, pray it into your soul, cherish it, love it, adore it, memorize it, compare it to itself, and read it some more. It is The Treasure Chest of God: full of precious gifts to be honored and pondered.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119.105).
“But His Word was in my heart like a burning fire…” (Jer. 20.9).
“Your Words were found, and I ate them, and Your Word was to me
the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts” (Jer. 15.16).
“I have treasured the Words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23.12).

We, of all people, are most blessed.
God has chosen to save us; and He has given us His Word to enlighten and sanctify us.
We only need to accept these Treasures and use them for His glory.
Daily working and worshiping in His Word.

For reflection
1. The more you read and study the Bible, the more you give the Spirit room to work in shaping you into the image of Jesus. Why is this so?

2. The Spirit of God longs to teach us the Word of God. How can you improve your time with Him, listening as He teaches you the things of Jesus?

3. How does reading and studying the Word, listening as the Spirit teaches, keep us from promoting divisions in the church?

This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our hopes, the fountain of all our joys. And by his death we live. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1.17-25

Pray Psalm 119.132-136.
Pray that God will increase your overall grasp of the Scriptures, so that the Spirit has plenty of “spiritual things” to work with in teaching You His Word and drawing you closer to Jesus.

Sing Psalm 119.132-136.
(No Other Plea: My Faith Has Found a Resting Place)
Look on me, LORD, with mercy as on all who love Your Name.
Direct my steps to keep Your paths, and all Your Word proclaim.
Yes, let Your Word my shelter be; rule over all my soul,
and keep me from iniquity; my every way control.

Redeem me from oppression, LORD, from those who hate Your way,
that I may keep Your holy Word and serve You day by day.
Shine on me with Your glorious face; Your servant, LORD, am I.
So teach me by Your holy grace; Your Word to me supply.

LORD, see the world in lawlessness, how love has grown so cold.
Look down, O LORD, to save and bless; let grace and peace take hold.
Though many look on You with awe, rejoicing in Your Word,
I weep for those who void Your Law and spurn Your grace, O LORD.

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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