Q. When Paul was speaking of the natural man cannot understand the “things of God” for they are spiritually discerned, I have two questions: is the natural man just the flesh in every man or actual unbelievers and second, what exactly are the “things of God” in view here? I know many unbelievers with quite pronounced academic backgrounds who “understand” the Bible. Would love some further clarification. Is Paul saying that a non-Christian is completely incapable of understanding the Word of God?
A. If you read the verses preceding 1 Cor. 2:14 you can see that the “things of God” are the thoughts behind the words God had His servants write. Unbelievers may know a lot about what the Bible says, but they don’t understand what it means because they don’t have the benefit of this background. They don’t have God’s perspective.
As Paul said, the person without the Holy Spirit thinks the things that come from the Spirit of God are foolishness I believe he meant this as having general application. For example, in all the years I attended church before becoming a believer the Bible never made sense to me. But as soon as I was born again it began making such perfect sense that I was surprised I had not understood it before. Others have confirmed this with their own experiences. Understanding the things of God is one of the first benefits available to a new believer.