Let’s begin this segment with some clear definitions about the words we have already considered, at least in part.
The nous is the mind. It is the organ designed to house knowledge or information received through the senses. It is the organ of mental perception.1 This is the first and primary function of the mind, to be the receptacle of all sense’s information received, from outside the body and from within the body.
The phronema are the things received from outside the body or from within the body. These things will consist of thoughts, ideas, concepts, feelings, desires, emotions, motivations: all that is received through or by the senses.
The kosmos is the arrangement or the system of the world. If we consider this concept in music it would be the orderly arrangement of the notes to produce a specific series of sounds, which would then result it what we call a song.
Context, as always, is important with kosmos. There have been two systems the world has operated under since Genesis 1:1. The first system was ordained by and arranged by God Almighty. At the end of Genesis chapter one God viewed that system, that arrangement and declared it was, “very good.” However, in Genesis chapter three, with the sin of Adam, the world was placed under a new arrangement and the world has operated under that same system since that time.
Many times, you hear people speak frightfully of a new world order coming to harm us. Our world order, kosmos, will change in the future but not until Christ returns. The world order we have had since Genesis three is still in place and will remain in place until the return of our Lord and Savior. A child of God would look to the next world order with joyful expectation because that world order will be led by Christ.
This series of teachings is based on God’s Word, not politics, or science, or medicine, or religion. This is not an examination of, nor a study of, the functions of the brain. We’ll leave the hippocampus and the amygdala; the working memory and the implicit memory up to the doctors and scientists. We are concerned with what God says in His Word about the mind. We want to understand more about what God says about the functions and the functioning of the mind.
Obviously, the brain that God designed for man is wonderfully and awesomely made.3 Now we are looking for a better understanding of a portion of that brain. We are concerned with the mind.
Once a person is a child of God, he wants to get a better diet of the phronema his mind is receiving. We can’t stop the world from bombarding us endlessly with its phronema, but we can introduce a godly feast of phronema by going to the Word of God daily.
For they that are after the flesh do mind [phroneo] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
If your diet consists of phronema from the world, then that is what you will act on. The word mind in this verse is phroneo, the verb form of phronema. Remember, phronema is the noun, it identifies, while phroneo is the verb and is declaring action.
If the only phronema you are receiving is from the world, then the resulting actions will be worldly, your actions will be ungodly. But my mommy always taught me to be forgiving and I endeavor to live by that rule. You may have learned that from mommy, but the concept is not worldly, it is phronema introduced into the world from the heart of God.
Adam and Eve learned the concept of forgiveness when God forgave them in the Garden after they sinned. There are godly concepts in the world, but they didn’t come from the world. When I speak of the things of the world, I am speaking of how the system or arrangement of the world has taught concepts and ideas that are contrary or opposed to what God has said.
For example; God said don’t seek vengeance, vengeance is His. Meaning do not look to get even, God will take care of judgment. But the world teaches, get your pound of flesh. Sometimes the world will convince a person to “get them before they get you.”
God teaches you to be humble and meek to His Word. Seems like a simple request since we are talking about the One who has the power and wisdom to Create the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them. But the world teaches pride and arrogance. Only bend the knee if the other guy can break your knee and even then, look for an opening to rebel and overcome.
The concepts and thoughts of the world will always be contrary or in opposition to the thoughts of God.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Sometimes the changes to God’s thoughts are obvious; other times they are very subtle. A child of God must learn to be sharp with the phronema he allows into his nous.
Back to Romans 8:5. The figure of speech ellipsis is also used in this verse. Ellipsis is also known as the figure Omission because some word or phrase has been omitted to bring emphasis to that word or phrase.
For they that are after the flesh do mind [phroneo] the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Mind or phroneo is used in the first part of the verse but skipped in the second half of the verse. That is the figure ellipsis to bring emphasis to minding or acting on the things of the spirit. Also, this verse has the figure of speech antithesis, the setting of two thoughts or ideas against each other to bring emphasis to the contrast.
God continues the subject of minding the flesh or the spirit in the following verses.
For to be carnally minded [phronema] is death; but to be spiritually minded [phronema] is life and peace. Because the carnal mind [phronema] is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Three times in these two verses God uses the word phronema.
The carnal mind, the mind that stays with the phronema of the current world order is death. The spiritual mind that rejects the worldly influence and gets a new spiritual diet of phronema is life and peace.
My mommy use to say to me, confess your sins to the priest or God won’t forgive you. She meant well, but the concept is worldly, not godly. Does the thought direct you back to God, does it give glory to God? This previous thought gave glory and power to a priest.
Remember 1 John 2, we looked at it in an earlier teaching concerning kosmos.
1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world [kosmos], neither the things that are in the world [kosmos]. If any man love the world [kosmos], the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world [kosmos], the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world [kosmos]. And the world [kosmos] passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
Six times in three verses God uses the word kosmos. The current world order is in the hands of God’s enemy that is why God said in Romans 8:7, “the carnal mind is enmity against God.” Enmity means hostility.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world [kosmos], and not after Christ.
The phronema from the world; the thoughts, the emotions, the ideas, the concepts, are all hostile to God, His Family, and His Word. A child of God needs to find a new diet, a new place to find nourishment for life and living; for soundness of mind.
The philosophies of men, survival of the fittest, man evolved from apes, science has eliminated the need for a God; they are deceitful and vain. Traditions of men; women must remain silent and cannot teach a man. Why? Did God forget to give women His gift of holy spirit? What do eggs, rabbits, and baskets of candy have to do with the resurrection of Christ?
Beware means to stay sharp, keep your eyes open, stay on your toes. One of the previous examples eliminated half of the Body of Christ due to gender fixation. Another example eliminated God!
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world [kosmos], why, as though living in the world [kosmos], are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
The religious leaders of his day asked Jesus why his disciples didn’t follow their traditions? Jesus asked the Pharisees why their traditions transgressed the commandments of God?4
It’s easy to get caught up in the rudiments of the world if you aren’t aware of the phronema of God. But a steady diet of God’s phronema makes the child of God sharp, aware, and free from the bondage of fear and oppression.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection [phroneo] on things above, not on things on the earth.
What a child of God should do is set his phroneo on things above, and not on the things coming from the system of the worldly arrangement. Remember a verse we read in the last teaching when Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees and he said, you are of this kosmos, but I am not of this kosmos.
Some knowingly walk in a manner that is against God, but most promote the thoughts of the world with no awareness they are contradicting their heavenly Father.
Consider a record in Matthew.
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
All the statements by Jesus in this verse are God’s words from the Old Testament. Jesus knew what was coming because he knew the words of God. When it became time to prepare his disciples for what was coming, he began to teach these things.
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
The Greek word for rebuke is epitimao. Bible Hub defines epitimao as, “to censure.” Strong’s Lexicon defines epitimao as, “to rebuke, chide, admonish, warn.”5
K. Wuest says of epitimao, “In classical Greek its predominating sense is that of severe, strenuous reproach for unworthy deeds or acts.”6
In Mark chapter 1 Jesus uses this word epitimao to tell a devil spirit to be quiet. This is the word Peter uses to correct Jesus when he said he was going to suffer, be killed, and raised from the dead.
But he [Jesus] turned, and said unto Peter, get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest [phroneo] not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Jesus used words like these spoken to Peter one other time in his life.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world [kosmos], and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Peter wasn’t a bad man, Peter wasn’t evil, Peter simply elevated the words of the world over the words of God and Jesus wouldn’t allow the thoughts, the phronema from the world to have a place in his nous.
Jesus did the same thing with the temptations in the wilderness, “Get thee hence, Satan” or “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Both bring you to the same place. A resounding, NO! to the phronema of the world, even from the lips of a disciple Jesus loved.
Just prior to this exchange with Jesus and Peter the two of them had a very different exchange concerning the identity of Jesus.
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
By revelation Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ, the son of the living God, and Jesus acknowledged Peter received this knowledge by revelation from God.
A child of God not only has to pull down the strongholds of worldly knowledge that has elevated itself in his own mind, he will also have to handle worldly knowledge that has elevated itself in the words of people he loves, people that are close to him.
Out of love and care and concern others will share with you the thoughts and emotions of the world without even considering that they are contradicting God’s Word. Contradicting God isn’t their intent; but to comfort you.
Here is a literal for our theme verse of 2 Corinthians 10:5:
Demolish your human logic from the high position to which you have lifted it vertically against the knowledge of God which you have known by experience; be wise, lead captive everything to Christ which you have attentively listened to and heard.7
We are not here to get in another person’s face and say, “get thee behind me, Satan.” Why Jesus choose those exact words for his confrontation with Peter I have no idea. You can remind someone that the Word of God has something different to say. Or maybe teach them for the first time that God made a promise and you are following that promise. But you aren’t responsible for the strongholds of worldly logic in the mind of another person.
My first responsibility is to demolish the strongholds and fortresses within my own mind, and I do that by beginning to build God’s Word in my mind, my nous. I find new phronema to feed upon, to feast upon. One word, one verse at a time; working toward a desire to be God inside minded.
Perhaps Peter needed such sharp words to get his attention, again I don’t know. But I know Peter bounced back from the reproof of Jesus and just a short time later stood toe to toe with the same men who orchestrated the death of Jesus and without an ounce of fear told them, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” 8
Let this mind [phroneo] be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Not the exact same thoughts as Jesus, you and I can’t do the things God’s Word told him to do. But what Jesus held in his nous. What Jesus held in his nous was the thoughts of God, the phronema of God; this we can do.
1 Corinthians 2:16
For who hath known the mind [nous] of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind [nous] of Christ.
It’s a different day, a different administration, we have a different message. Our message is in the epistles of Romans through Thessalonians. We have Christ in us and the ability to hold the phronema of God addressed to us, we have the nous of Christ. We are designed by God, to know, to understand, and to proclaim His Word; just like Christ.
Enjoy your new diet.
1. Walter Cummins in his class on The Renewed Mind.
2. Special Edition Time Magazine, The Science of Memory, Copyright 2018, 2019 Meredith Corporation, introduction, Why We Remember by Eileen Daspin
3. Psalm 139:14
4. Matthew 15:1-9
6. Kenneth Samuel Wuest (1893 – December 27, 1961) was an Evangelical Biblical Greek New Testament scholar of the mid-twentieth century.
7. Walter Cummins, Biblical Scholar wrote this literal according to usage.
8. Acts 5:29
©Auxano Ministry 2020
All verses are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.