In some translations of the Christian Greek Scriptures this word is rendered from several related Greek words expressing the attributes of the mind, as, thinking faculties, mental perception, intelligence, reason, thought, mental state, and mental inclination, disposition or powers. Though, at times, in various translations, “mind” is used, in the same instances other translations employ the above descriptive and specific terms. In the Hebrew text, the words for “remember” and “remembrance” may be translated in certain places by such expressions as “keep in mind” and “be mindful.” In the Hebrew Scriptures, “mind” appears in some versions as a rendering of the Hebrew words which are, literally and properly, “heart,” “soul” and “spirit.”
“BE MADE NEW IN THE FORCE ACTUATING YOUR MIND”
The inclination of the mind of imperfect man is naturally toward wrong thinking. The Bible terms it the “fleshly frame of mind.” (Col. 2:18) Christians are reminded that formerly they were enemies of God because their minds had been on the works that were wicked.—Col. 1:21.
The mind of the “physical” (literally, “soulical”) man, as distinguished from the “spiritual” man, is inclined in the direction of materialistic things. The force that actuates his mind has been formed in him by the things he has been taught and has experienced. When a matter is presented to him, this force pushes or inclines his mind in a materialistic direction. Christians are commanded, therefore, to “be made new in the force [spirit] actuating your mind.” (Eph. 4:23) By a study of God’s Word of truth and by the operation of God’s spirit, this actuating force can be changed so that the mental attitude is inclined in a right direction. Then, when a matter is presented to the person, the mind will be inclined by this force toward a proper spiritual course. (1 Cor. 2:13, 15) In this process the heart also comes into play as approving and motivating the mind in receiving the right information, and in working together with the mind to achieve the getting of the new force or spirit and in making the mind over. (Rom. 12:2) A person doing this can come to have “the mind of Christ,” who was at all times actuated by the proper force, his mental inclination always being spiritual.—1 Cor. 2:16; Rom. 15:5; see HEART.
So mere knowledge or intellectual power is not enough to bring one into God’s favor. These things themselves will not make the mind over in the direction of God’s will. Jehovah says: “I will make the wisdom of the wise men perish, and the intelligence of the intellectual men I will shove aside.” (1 Cor. 1:19) It requires the help of God’s spirit to get true understanding (Prov. 4:5-7; 1 Cor. 2:11), wisdom and good sense. (Eph. 1:8, 9) The process must involve both the mind and the heart if one is to become a mature servant of God.
THE ‘LAW OF THE MIND’
The apostle Paul calls that which directs the operation of this renewed mind the law of the mind. It controls the new mind according to the “law of God,” and the new mind delights in this law. But “sin’s law” operating in fallen flesh fights against the ‘law of the mind,’ so that there is a constant conflict within the Christian. Can he be victorious? Yes, “thanks to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” God’s undeserved kindness provides, on the basis of Christ’s ransom sacrifice, forgiveness for the sins of the flesh and, additionally, the help of holy spirit. The Christian is in a situation different from that of the non-Christian, as Paul sums it up: “So, then, with my mind I myself am a slave to God’s law, but with my flesh to sin’s law.”—Rom. 7:21-25; Gal. 5:16, 17.
How does the mind win out in the battle? The apostle illuminates the matter further, saying: “Those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those in accord with the spirit on the things of the spirit. For the minding of the flesh means death, but the minding of the spirit means life and peace; because the minding of the flesh means enmity with God, for it [fallen, imperfect flesh] is not under subjection to the law of God, nor, in fact, can it be. . . . If, now, the spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his spirit that resides in you.”—Rom. 8:5-11.
THE “MIND” OF THE SPIRIT
At Romans 8:26, 27, Paul shows that, when God’s servants are praying, they may not always know exactly what they should pray for as they need to. But God knows that they desire his will to be done. He also knows what his servants need. God has in the past caused many inspired prayers to be recorded in his Word, expressing his will or mind for them. He therefore accepts these inspired prayers as being what his people should like to ask and pray for, and, accordingly, he fulfills them. God knows the right-hearted ones and also knows the meaning of the things that he caused his spirit to speak through the Bible writers. He knows what the “meaning [‘mind,’ AV] of the spirit is” when the spirit thus “pleads” or intercedes for them.
LOVING WITH THE MIND
Jehovah foretold the making of a new covenant under which the holy spirit would work to write his laws in the minds and hearts of his people. (Heb. 8:10; 10:16) In this way they are able to fulfill that upon which the whole Law and the Prophets hung, namely, to ‘love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matt. 22:37-40; Luke 10:27, 28) One must exercise love with his whole heart (primarily related to motivation and affection), his whole soul (his life and entire being) and his whole mind. This latter phrase means that God’s servants not only love with feelings, emotions and strength, but they must also exercise their minds vigorously to take in knowledge of God and Christ (John 17:3), must understand (Mark 12:33; Eph. 3:18), and must apply their minds to serve God and his purposes and share in declaring the good news. They are counseled to ‘keep their minds fixed on the things above’ (Col. 3:2), to ‘brace up their minds for activity’ and to ‘keep their senses completely.’ (1 Pet. 1:13) The apostle Peter saw the importance of ‘arousing their clear thinking faculties’ to keep in mind the things learned. (2 Pet. 3:1, 2) They must ‘keep close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.’—2 Pet. 3:11, 12.
When speaking of miraculous gifts of the spirit as exercised in the early Christian congregation, Paul emphasized the need to use the mind. He said that if he were to pray in a tongue that he could not translate, his mind would be unfruitful. Again, if he were to sing praises in the same manner, how would it help the hearer who did not understand the tongue? Consequently, he said that he would rather speak five words with his mind, in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. He then urged his brothers to become full grown in powers of understanding.—1 Cor. 14:13-20.
CHRISTIAN UNITY OF MIND
Jehovah’s servants are commanded to be “fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.” (1 Cor. 1:10; Phil. 2:2; 1 Pet. 3:8) This means, of course, being united where the interests of pure worship are involved—the important things—not in individual tastes or in minor matters that will be resolved as maturity is reached. (Rom. 14:2-6, 17) They are to be “of the same mind in the Lord” (Phil. 4:2), not to be quarreling, but to “think in agreement.”—2 Cor. 13:11.
THE MIND OF GOD AND OF CHRIST
Christians are to strive to know God better, to the extent that he reveals his mind on matters. (Rom. 11:33, 34) And they are to have the mental attitude of obedience and humility of Jesus Christ; then they will have “the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:15, 16) Paul encourages his fellow Christians to forget the things behind and stretch forward to the things ahead. (Phil. 3:13-15) Peter likewise counsels: “Since Christ suffered in the flesh, you too arm yourselves with the same mental disposition.”—1 Pet. 4:1.
DULLNESS OR CORRUPTNESS OF MIND
The Israelites at Mount Sinai, because of not having hearts fully turned to Jehovah, were dull in mental perception, as were those who continued under the Law after God, through Jesus, had abolished it. (2 Cor. 3:13, 14) They did not see that Jesus was the One pointed to by the Law. (Col. 2:17) As to men who did not approve of holding God in accurate knowledge but who worshiped created things, “God gave them up to a disapproved mental state”; they are in darkness mentally, doing all manner of unprofitable and unfitting things. (Rom. 1:28; Eph. 4:17, 18) Corrupt-minded men resisted the truth even in Moses’ time, and later such men fought true Christianity, some even claiming to be Christians, yet trying to divide and disrupt congregations. (2 Tim. 3:8; Phil. 3:18, 19; 1 Tim. 6:4, 5) With minds and consciences defiled, nothing is clean to them; therefore they talk profitlessly in an effort to deceive the minds of true Christians by trying to bring them into bondage to ideas of men. (Titus 1:10-16) For this reason it is essential for all Christians, and particularly for those in responsible positions, to be sound in mind.—Rom. 12:3; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 2:6; 1 Pet. 4:7.
The “god of this system of things,” the Devil, is responsible for blinding the minds of unbelievers to the illumination of the good news about the Christ. (2 Cor. 4:4) The danger exists, therefore, that this archenemy of God may seduce Christians by his cunning, to corrupt their minds away “from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3) Accordingly, it is necessary that Christians exhibit unity of mind and reasonableness, continuing in prayer, in order that the peace of God “that excels all thought” may guard their mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.—Phil. 4:2, 5-7.
HEALING OR OPENING UP THE MIND
Jesus restored soundness of mind to a man possessed by demons, illustrating his power to do this even to those driven insane by demons. (Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35) He also can open up the minds of those who have faith to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45) Timid persons, or those feeling inferior intellectually, can take comfort from the apostle John’s words: “We know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us intellectual capacity that we may gain the knowledge of the true one [Jehovah God].”—1 John 5:20.
Paul showed the Corinthian congregation that he was sound in mind when talking to build them up but that he appeared in their eyes to be ‘out of his mind’ (or, ‘beside himself’) when boasting about his credentials as an apostle, a thing a Christian would not normally do. But, he explains, he was forced to do this to bring them back to God, to save them from being pulled away. This was because they had looked to false apostles and were being turned in the wrong direction.—2 Cor. 5:13; 11:16-21; 12:11, 12, 19-21; 13:10.