The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 162 of 210
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So here we have the state of unbelievers whose understanding is darkened, whereas by
way of contrast the prayer in chapter 1: is for "the eyes of your understanding being
enlightened, that ye may know ..." (Eph. 1: 17, 18).
But the Greek word used more frequently is nous, which is sometimes translated
"understanding", but more frequently rendered "mind".
In Eph. 4: 17 we quoted the phrase "the vanity of their mind", and once again we
have a contrast as we read:
"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph. 4: 23).
Paul in his epistles does not hesitate to warn against those whose minds are corrupt or
defiled. Here are some brief extracts:
"Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth" (I Tim. 6: 5).
"So do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the
faith" (II Tim. 3: 8).
"But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure: but even their mind
and conscience is defiled" (Titus 1: 15).
"Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind" (Col. 2: 18).
"God gave them over to a reprobate mind" (Rom. 1: 28).
In Rom. 7: 14-25 Paul describes the strife between the flesh and the spirit. He often
did things that he did not want to do, and the good things He wished to do, he failed to
do. He found a law that when he would do good, evil was present with him (21). He
delighted in the law of God after the inward man, but in verse 23 he says that he saw
another law in his members, warring against the law of his mind. Later he says, "So then
with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin" (25).
In Rom. 12: 2 Paul gives some practical advice. We should not conform to the
fashion of this world, but we need to be transformed so that we know what is the will of
God. Our desire is to live according to His will. So our minds must be renewed. The
whole verse reads thus:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your
mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Two other references to understanding (mind, nous) may be mentioned.
Luke.xxiv.45, after the record of the walk to Emmaus, when the risen Christ revealed
Himself to the two disciples, we read that the disciples met in a room in Jerusalem and
again Christ Jesus appeared. After speaking to them and explaining the Scriptures, He
opened their understanding (minds) that they might understand the Scriptures.
The other reference is to the peace of God which passeth understanding:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with
thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all