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1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? 


Paul, speaking very plainly to the Corinthian church, gives two different paths.   

Spiritual and carnal are the two ways he called the Corinthians on. He informed them that he could not speak to them as spiritual people but as carnal.   

One distinguishing factor between spiritual and carnal is found in what spiritual people are able to receive. Spiritual people can receive sold food. This indicates that people who have matured spiritually can handle a different level of teaching. Just as a newborn cannot eat solid food, spiritual babies cannot take any more than very basic doctrine.   

Paul states that spiritual babies in Christ are carnal. Carnal means flesh or fleshy. People who have not matured spiritually are ruled by their flesh nature.   

So, spiritual people act differently than carnal people. Carnal people get involved with envy, strife, divisions, at least these believers in Corinth did. These are all works of the flesh. And if we let our flesh nature lead us, we can wind up in some bad places.   

The church in Corinth had become caught up with the ministers they identified with. They were saying I am of Paul, or Apollos, or Peter. Paul addressed this error in the first chapter. Now he states that if they were identifying with Paul or Apollos, they were carnal, flesh ruled, babies in Christ.   


In reading this chapter, we see two paths. The spiritual person who identifies with Christ receives stronger teaching and is not ruled by the flesh.   

The carnal path is living as an unchanged person. So, someone who is flesh ruled, though thoroughly saved, is living as if they had never been changed. This has thrown people. They see someone who has confessed Christ, but their lives do not change, and so their salvation is called into question. 

Paul did not say these envious, strife-filled Corinthians were not saved. He said they were carnal and living like unchanged men, like the world that did not know God.   

The great news is that we can grow and develop into strong spiritual people. Growth and maturity are available, not automatic.   


Thank You, Lord, for saving me and helping me to grow up in Christ.