Paul stays on the same theme of wisdom from verse 6-9 and accentuates the Spirit’s activity:
“10 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”
This wisdom of God is evidenced in Christ’s life which is revealed to believers by the Spirit who searches and knows the depths of God. Don’t miss this, only God knows the depths of God and by human analogy (v.11) we see here that the Spirit of God is God. That’s why He can reveal God’s thoughts. He is the third person of the Triune God.
How can this be? Consider our human interactions, each of us choose to reveal or to hide our thoughts when conversing. This attribute of thought and communication is one that reveals what it means to be human. Similarly, the divine being reveals His thoughts through language and this to whomever He wills. It’s God the Holy Spirit who reveals God the Father’s plans and purposes.
Paul affirms that the Spirit believers have received is the same Spirit who is God who reveals God’s purposes to us. These are the things which have been freely given to us and contextually is the gospel message of Christ crucified.
Moreover, Paul accentuates that the Spirit is the one who gives God’s divinely sanctioned spokesmen the words to speak and to teach to the church. This comes not from human invention or wisdom, but through the Spirit’s wisdom and thoughts through human language. But a major problem obtains for not all people believe and thus accept these thoughts in words:
“14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Paul points out that a “natural man” or one un-regenerated has an epistemological problem and therefore lacks discernment. That is, the thoughts of God which are given through human language are rejected by the unbeliever because they are operating under this world’s wisdom. They think the message is foolishness (implying they understand it) but reject it because they don’t trust/believe that it’s true. There’s a veil blinding the unbeliever here from seeing and treasuring Christ.
Yet, Paul says that he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet is himself appraised by no one (v.15). He is making a comparison between the regenerate and unregenerate soul, between the believer and the non-believer, between the wise and the foolish. The implication here is not about “smarts” but about “grace”. That is, unless there’s the Spirit’s aid to see, one won’t see, value, or embrace the wonder of the cross. Paul grounds this from a quote out of Isaiah whose larger context declares the Creator’s incomparable majesty, might, knowledge, wisdom, and benevolence.
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance And the hills in a pair of scales? 13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? 14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?” (Isa. 40:12-14)
Paul is disrobing the wisdom of this world when compared to the Creator’s wisdom and puts an exclamation on this thought when he says, “But we have the mind of Christ”. What is the significance here?
I think Paul is telling believers that God’s thoughts revealed to us through God’ Spirit, are the exact thoughts that Christ the Son of God possess (this is a clear pointer to Jesus deity and the Spirit’s deity). Thus, the knowledge and wisdom of the Creator freely bestowed on the believer is the prized possession. This “foolishness” and “stumbling block” of the cross is truly astounding.
Paul is declaring to the Corinthian church and to the world that this message originated with God the Creator and has now been revealed to humanity in plain language by the Spirit’s activity, not the creatures. Another way of putting it is that the message of the Gospel is not a fabrication of fiction, but a revelation of true reality, this reality is the un-created Creator, who sustains His good creation.