1 Corinthians 2:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Corinthians 2:15, NIV: "The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,"

1 Corinthians 2:15, ESV: "The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one."

1 Corinthians 2:15, KJV: "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man."

1 Corinthians 2:15, NASB: "But the one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no one."

1 Corinthians 2:15, NLT: "Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others."

1 Corinthians 2:15, CSB: "The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, and yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone."

What does 1 Corinthians 2:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

No Scripture is intended to be read devoid of context. Some statements, more than others, are easy to misinterpret or abuse when cut away from their surrounding text. This verse presents that danger.

Paul has written that only those aided by God's Holy Spirit have the capacity to understand spiritual things, including God's plan of salvation through faith in the crucified Christ (1 Corinthians 2:14). Those not helped by God's Spirit simply cannot comprehend spiritual truth. They can grasp things intellectually (Romans 1:18–23; James 2:19), but that does not mean they can attain spiritual understanding. They don't have the capacity to understand or believe anything beyond the material world (Isaiah 55:8–9).

The word translated as "judges" or "appraises" here is from the Greek root word anakrino. This is related, but not identical, to the word used when Jesus said "do not judge" in Matthew 7:1. In this context, the meaning is that of "investigates" or "examines." Paul seems to be saying that a spiritual person, given the ability to see and understand spiritual things, can examine everything. That is, spiritual people can assess both things of the material world, known by human wisdom, and spiritual things only known with the help of God's Spirit.

For the same reason, the spiritual person cannot be correctly examined or investigated by those who do not have the help of the Holy Spirit. Non-believers are not able to truly see the spiritual part of that person (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Some interpreters understand the word "judges" the same as in other passages. Within a certain context, such interpretation is parallel to the idea of discernment or examination. Spiritual people, those with God's Spirit, have the capacity to apply "right judgment" (John 7:24) because they see clearly both the physical and spiritual realities. That spiritual person, though, has already been judged by God, leaving no room to be judged by anyone else, especially those who are not spiritual.