Studying Paul and the Mind, Step 2

(I hadn’t really intended for this to be a demonstration of exegetical method, such as it is.  But that appears to be what I’ve wandered into doing.)

Looking at the textbase from yesterday, I think I have THREE categories rather than two. Or maybe two categories with one significant subcategory.

  1. Bad thinking goes with bad living; references to a corrupted mind/heart as part of a corrupt lifestyle, either result or cause.
  2. Good thinking goes with good living; references to a renewed mind/heart as part of a Spirit-led lifestyle, either result or cause.
  3. Christians being “of the same mind” (i.e., united) by the Spirit.  This is a subgroup of #2.

This third group of passages includes:

  • Phil 2.1-5 (have the same mind; have the same mindset toward one another that Jesus Christ had);
  • Phil 4.2 (Euodia and Syntyche must τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν, “think the same thing”);
  • Rom 15.5 (Paul prays that God will δώη ὑμῖν τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν “give to you to think the same thing”, i.e., give the Roman Christians the ability to live in harmony with each other by being of the same mind);
  • 1 Cor 1.10 (Paul asks the Corinthian Christians to be united ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ νοΐ καὶ ἐν τῇ αὐτῇ γνώμῃ “in the same mind and opinion”).

No doubt I’ll find other examples.  But this is enough to show that a separate category or subcategory exists.

But my focus is on group two, not group (or subgroup) three.  Excluding the passages about unity, what are the passages that speak of discipleship as coming from things that God does in the believer’s mind?

So far, I have these three:

Romans 12.2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 4.22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Colossians 3.1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

The next two steps are:

  1. Find more passages in Paul’s letters that center on this idea.
  2. More clearly define the commonalities between the texts in this group.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s