The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 2:15 Explained

1 Corinthians 2:15

KJV: But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

YLT: and he who is spiritual, doth discern indeed all things, and he himself is by no one discerned;

Darby: but the spiritual discerns all things, and he is discerned of no one.

ASV: But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man.

What does 1 Corinthians 2:15 Mean?

Verse Meaning

In contrast to the natural man stands the spiritual (Gr. pneumatikos) man. He or she is a mature Christian (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:1). One of the things the spiritual person is able to do is appraise or make judgments (Gr. anakrino) regarding all things. In other words, the spiritual person has discernment. This affects his values and decisions. For this very reason he is a puzzle to the natural man. The profane person cannot understand holiness, but the holy person can understand the depths of evil. Even carnal fellow believers cannot fully understand the spiritually mature person. That is all right, in one sense, because the spiritual person"s judge is ultimately God, not other people. [1]
This verse is not saying believers are responsible only to God but that the Christian is answerable to God alone ultimately (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:3-4). Paul recognized the value of church discipline ( 1 Corinthians 5:3-8), constructive criticism ( 1 Corinthians 11:17-18), and self-judgment ( 1 Corinthians 11:31) as having immediate value.

Context Summary

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 - God's Wisdom Spiritually Revealed
The perfect are those who are full grown and matured in Christian experience. They need strong meat. For them there are blessed unveilings of the secret things of God, such as the profoundest thinkers of this world have never reached. The words in 1 Corinthians 2:9 must not be applied to heaven alone; in their first intention they belong to us in this mortal life. The human eye that has seen the fairest of earth's things, and the ear that has heard the sweetest strains of human melody, have never experienced the depths of enjoyment of those who have found the love of God in Christ. They who know Christ should not be content with the mere rudiments of the gospel, but should follow on to know those deeper things which evade men who are merely clever, but are revealed to those who are really good.
There are two types of men. There is the spiritual man, whose spirit is the temple and dwelling-place of the Spirit of God. He knows the thoughts of God, because he has a living union with the eternal Mind. And there is the natural man, possessing merely the intellect and conscience of ordinary humanity. [source]

Chapter Summary: 1 Corinthians 2

1  Paul declares that his preaching,
4  though it bring not excellence of speech, or of human wisdom,
5  yet consists in the power of God;
6  and so far excels the wisdom of this world, that the natural man cannot understand it

Greek Commentary for 1 Corinthians 2:15

Judgeth all things [ανακρινει παντα]
The spiritual man There is a great lesson for Christians who know by personal experience the things of the Spirit of God. Men of intellectual gifts who are ignorant of the things of Christ talk learnedly and patronizingly about things of which they are grossly ignorant. The spiritual man is superior to all this false knowledge. [source]
He himself is judged of no man [αυτος δε υπ ουδενος ανακρινεται]
Men will pass judgment on him, but the spiritual man refuses to accept the decision of his ignorant judges. He stands superior to them all as Polycarp did when he preferred to be burnt to saying, “Lord Caesar” in place of “Lord Jesus.” He was unwilling to save his earthly life by the worship of Caesar in place of the Lord Jesus. Polycarp was a πνευματικος — pneumatikos man. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for 1 Corinthians 2:15

1 Corinthians 14:24 Is judged [ανακρινεται]
Is tested. Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 4:3. [source]
1 Corinthians 9:3 To them that examine me [τοις εμε ανακρινουσιν]
See note on 1 Corinthians 2:15; note on 1 Corinthians 4:3. The critics in Corinth were “investigating” Paul with sharp eyes to find faults. How often the pastor is under the critic‘s spy-glass. [source]

What do the individual words in 1 Corinthians 2:15 mean?

He who [is] however spiritual judges - all things he himself by no one is judged
δὲ πνευματικὸς ἀνακρίνει τὰ πάντα αὐτὸς ὑπ’ οὐδενὸς ἀνακρίνεται

  He  who  [is] 
Parse: Article, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
δὲ  however 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
πνευματικὸς  spiritual 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πνευματικός  
Sense: relating to the human spirit, or rational soul, as part of the man which is akin to God and serves as his instrument or organ.
ἀνακρίνει  judges 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀνακρίνω  
Sense: examine or judge.
τὰ  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πάντα  all  things 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Neuter Plural
Root: πᾶς  
Sense: individually.
αὐτὸς  he  himself 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Nominative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
οὐδενὸς  no  one 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: οὐδείς 
Sense: no one, nothing.
ἀνακρίνεται  is  judged 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀνακρίνω  
Sense: examine or judge.