Are You a Carnal Christian?

What happens when you don't read, listen, or learn from the Bible after you become a Christian? The apostle Paul confronts this very issue within church of Corinth. Paul recognized that the divisive problems of the church were rooted in education and spiritual growth, because the church misunderstood the gospel and did not fully comprehend the implications of Christ's death and atonement for mankind's sin.

And I, brothers, was not able to speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to fleshly (sarkinos) men, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are still not able, for you are still fleshly (sarkikos). For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly (sarkikos), and are you not walking like mere men? (1 Cor 3:1-3, LSB)

1. In the above passage, a lexicon was used to find the Greek words used for the English word "fleshly." Do you notice that the root word "sark" is in the Greek terms "sarkinos" and "sarkikos?" When the Greek term "sark" is translated into Latin, it becomes "carne", which is where the English word "carnal" comes from.

Using a Bible Dictionary, look up the meaning of "carnal." For example search online for "studylight holman" and look up the word "carnal."

2. What does "milk" figuratively represent? Share your observations of what it is intended to do. How does it apply to your life?

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, and like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (1 Pet 2:1-3, NASB)

3. What do you observe in this passage? Define "word of righteousness." How does this help you understand what a "fleshy" Believer is? Discuss your thoughts! Ultimately, how will you account for your life before God?

Concerning him we have much to say, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become poor listeners. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the actual words of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil. (Heb 5:11-14, NASB)

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