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Mechanics of the Mind

THE NOUS



The mind is the organ of mental perception. Perception is defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary as, “the quality of being aware of things through the physical senses.”1 From the moment we are born until the moment we take our last breath; the mind receives and distributes all the information the senses provide. 

The Greek word for mind is; nous. Within the nous are many sections responsible for the different actions or functions of the nous. The reasoning will be considered when we study the Greek word logizomai. The heart of the mind is the kardia. The thought patterns can be seen with the Greek word sumballo. All these sections, and others, will be discussed and studied as we go through this series on Mechanics of the Mind.

However, the first Greek word we need to discuss in understanding the nous is phronemaPhronema is defined by Strong’s Lexicon and Concordance as, “the thought, that which is in the mind.”2 Precept Austin says of phronema, “refers to the content or thought patterns of the mind rather than to the mind itself.”3 John Gill, in his commentaries of the Bible said, “includes the best part of corrupt man; the mind, the understanding, the judgment, the will, the affections, the thoughts, the reason, and reasoning's of man.”4 Coffman's Commentaries says of phronema, “The "mind" that Paul had in view here is the rebellious and perverse spirit of man's inner self;”5 Blue Letter Bible defines phronema as, “what one has in the mind, the thoughts and purposes.”6

The Koine Greek language, the textual language of many Biblical manuscripts, does not have a word recognized by Christianity for all the knowledge the senses send to the nous. But it can be seen by the multitude of definitions of phronema that it is speaking of the thoughts the mind is receiving from the world outside of the body. It would also be speaking of the sense’s knowledge received from within the body, such as hunger pangs, or sleepiness, or physical pain.

Phronema is a neuter noun. As a noun, it identifies a thing, in this case thoughts. It is interpreting what the mind is receiving; phronema is how we understand the world around us. The Greek word from which we receive phronema is phroneo which is a verb. As a verb phroneo is speaking of action rather than identification. Phroneo is telling us what to do with, or what we do with these thoughts we are receiving. Therefore, the best word to identify the incoming data from the senses is phronema. The information the mind is receiving is knowledge.

From the moment we are born until we take our last breath our mind is receiving phronema from within the body and from outside of the body. All this information the mind is receiving will either be spiritual or carnal in nature. That which promotes the words and the will of God is the spiritual knowledge. All that represents the world and the things of the world is carnal knowledge.

The average person has little to no direct knowledge of God or His Word so that he can differentiate between spiritual and carnal knowledge. For example, the Bible teaches us that God is Love. The world also teaches people about love. What are the accurate statements about love that are spiritual verses carnal?

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.”7 Is this carnal or spiritual?

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”8

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.”9

Without a knowledge of God’s Word we cannot separate between spiritual and carnal and that is a separation we must make if we are to demolish those imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

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.

All six times in these three verses the Greek word for world is kosmosKosmos is the order or the arrangement of the world; kosmos is speaking of the ways of the world, the arrangement of the world. When Frederic Chopin composed a musical piece, he arranged notes in a certain order, notes that were meant to follow a set pattern; this is kosmos in music. Strong’s defines kosmos as orderly arrangement. While HELPS Word-studies defines kosmos as an orderly system. Blue Letter Bible and Thayer’s define kosmos as a harmonious arrangement. In other words, it is the current order or arrangement of our world that is trying to lead mankind away from God. God didn’t do this to test us or to fool us. God set the original arrangement, the original order of our kosmos back in Genesis chapter one, then said in verse 31 that what He saw was very good. Then God gave the dominion of that kosmos to Adam. Adam then surrendered that dominion to God’s enemy when he sinned in Genesis three.

Luke 4:5-6
And the devil, taking him [Jesus] up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world [oikoumene = the inhabited world] in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered [surrendered] unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Romans 5:12
Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world [kosmos], and death by sin; and so, death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Therefore, God’s Word identifies the Adversary as the god of this world.

2 Corinthians 4:4
In whom the god of this world [aion = age] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Adam surrendered our world to the Devil and now the Devil directs the course, the order and arrangement of the things of our world. That is why 1 John 2 directs those who believe God to reject the things of the world.

Ephesians 2:2
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world [kosmos], according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 

The Adversary is called the “prince of the power of the air” and it is he who works within mankind to disobey God. The Adversary worked within all of us to disobey God but now as children of God we have the right and the power to reclaim the nous with spiritual knowledge.

How old were you when you finally heard God’s Word? At what age did you turn to God’s Word to change the phronema entering your mind, your nous? How many years did your mind, your nous, feast upon the world’s phronema? How strong are the fortresses that carnal knowledge built in your mind? Even now, as a child of God the world order [the kosmos] bombards your mind every minute of every day with thoughts, concepts, ideas, emotions, feelings that are contrary to God’s Word. Without a steady diet of God’s Word for the nous we are unable to separate the spiritual from the carnal. We need to have some spiritual Thanksgiving feasts to get the phronema from God into the nous. The great thing about God’s Word; you can never eat too much!

When facing the Pharisees of his day Jesus had this to say;

John 8:23
And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world [kosmos]; I am not of this world [kosmos].

Many men are of, or from, this kosmos, this arrangement; meaning they follow and adhere to the order the Adversary has introduced. They are blown about with every new fad or social convention. Jesus Christ was not! He walked and spoke according to the words and heart of his Heavenly Father. We were Adam’s children by birth; subject to and bound to the phronema of this world. Like Jesus Christ, we are not of this kosmos.

We are God’s child by choice and as a child of God we have been freed from the bondage of the carnal phronema the Adversary has introduced to distract and turn mankind away from the One True God. The Devil is building unbelief in the heart, the kardia, of every man, woman, and child on the face of the planet by the phronema he has introduced into society. We teach our children not to lie and then, in front of the children, have our wife answer the phone to say we are not at home; “Yea, he must have forgotten his phone.” We use sick days to play "hooky" from work. We say one thing when facing our neighbor and something different at home behind closed doors. I understand all these, and so many others are minor things, yet each teaches our children a lesson.

God’s children get to choose a completely different set of phronema. But again, it is our choice; God will not force or compel you to feed upon His Word; to live by the ethic or principles of spiritual knowledge.

Romans 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present [paristemi] your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world [aion = age]: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind [nous], that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Verse one implores us to present our bodies; present is the Greek word paristemi. It is composed of two Greek words, para which means alongside of and histemi which means to stand. Literally God implores His children to stand alongside of Him, to paristemi. Consider this concept, you can stand alongside of God Almighty! 

We do this by renewing our nous

The nous has been receiving carnal knowledge that is contrary to God since the day we were born. Some seems harmless, like “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” Some is known to be harmful; “the ends justify the means”. One is prideful and the other uses people; both are carnal.

Now we can change the knowledge the kosmos has demanded we follow.

Ephesians 4:22-32
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing, which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Sounds like a tall order, sounds like a lot of work. Any time God’s Word tells you to put off or to put on, it is work. Renewed mind is work because the carnal knowledge you have lived by has built fortresses of false knowledge and ungodly principles that will fight to maintain their stronghold.

This is how your nous works. It receives knowledge [phronema], it builds habit patterns [sumballo], it puts things in your heart [kardia]. Without God’s Word you develop ungodly reasoning [logizomai] to justify your actions or inaction. America didn’t show up on the shores of Europe in 1941 and Hitler simply folded and said, “I’m sorry.” He had to be rooted out, driven out, defeated. When Jesse Owens stood at the start line for the 100-meter sprint the other competitors didn’t walk away saying, “I give up.” He had to run the race, he had to give it his all and against all odds he won four gold metals in the 1936 Olympics. In both examples there had to be much preparation and work before they could even stand against their adversary, their opponent.

Renewed mind is work, hard work because you are going against the ordered system of the world, there will be resistance from within and without. But, let me tell you, no man or woman has ever been less or ever stood taller than when they stand alongside of God, paristemi.

Colossians 3:12-17
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity [the love of God], which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

If your body was a Temple, like the Temple of Israel, your mind would be the Holy of holies. Allow no profane thing to enter your Holy of holies.

Arthur Fletcher 10, was the man that said, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”11 He spoke with the heart and wisdom of God.

Still, some will make the decision to not renew their mind. Whatever the reason, the decision will be made to remain static. At that point God will do His utmost to work within that person to remember the end of Romans chapter 8; who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect, it is God that gave justification; who is he that condemns you, Christ that died for you; nothing shall be able to separate one of God’s children from the love He has for each of His children in Christ Jesus.

Renewed mind is our key to power in this day and age. However, it is not the key to God’s heart of love for you. You utilized that key the day you confessed Jesus as Lord and believed God raised him from the dead.
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1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/perception
2. https://biblehub.com/greek/5427.htm
3. https://www.preceptaustin.org/romans_86-8
4. https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/8-6.html
5. https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/8-6.html
6. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G5427&t=KJV
7. Friedrich Nietzsche - https://www.developgoodhabits.com/wise-quotes
8. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a New International Version
9. William Shakespeare, taken from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
10. Arthur Fletcher is the former head of the United Negro College Fund. He also worked in the administrations of four Presidents.
11. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4757704

All verses quoted in this teaching are from the King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted. © Auxano Ministry 2020