Spiritual - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words


[ A-1,Adjective,G4152, pneumatikos ]
always connotes the ideas of invisibility and of power. It does not occur in the Sept. nor in the Gospels; it is in fact an after-Pentecost word. In the NT it is used as follows:
(a) the angelic hosts, lower than God but higher in the scale of being than man in his natural state, are 'spiritual hosts,' Ephesians 6:12;
(b) things that have their origin with God, and which, therefore, are in harmony with His character, as His law is, are 'spiritual,' Romans 7:14;
(c) 'spiritual' is prefixed to the material type in order to indicate that what the type sets forth, not the type itself, is intended, 1 Corinthians 10:3-4;
(d) the purposes of God revealed in the gospel by the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:13, and the words in which that revelation is expressed, are 'spiritual,' 1 Corinthians 2:13, matching, or combining, spiritual things with spiritual words [or, alternatively, 'interpreting spiritual things to spiritual men,' See
(e) below]; 'spiritual songs' are songs of which the burden is the things revealed by the Spirit, Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 'spiritual wisdom and understanding' is wisdom in, and understanding of, those things, Colossians 1:9;
(e) men in Christ who walk so as to please God are 'spiritual,' Galatians 6:1; 1 Corinthians 2:13 [but See
(d) above], 1 Corinthians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 3:1; 1 Corinthians 14:37;
(f) the whole company of those who believe in Christ is a 'spiritual house,' 1 Peter 2:5;
(g) the blessings that accrue to regenerate men at this present time are called 'spiritualities,' Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:11; 'spiritual blessings,' Ephesians 1:3; 'spiritual gifts,' Romans 1:11;
(h) the activities Godward of regenerate men are 'spiritual sacrifices,' 1 Peter 2:5; their appointed activities in the churches are also called 'spiritual gifts,' lit., 'spiritualities,' 1 Corinthians 12:1; 1 Corinthians 14:1;
(i) the resurrection body of the dead in Christ is 'spiritual,' i.e., such as is suited to the heavenly environment, 1 Corinthians 15:44;
(j) all that is produced and maintained among men by the operations of the Spirit of God is 'spiritual,' 1 Corinthians 15:46.

"The spiritual man is one who walks by the Spirit both in the sense of Galatians 5:16 and in that of Galatians 5:25, and who himself manifests the fruit of the Spirit in his own ways.

"According to the Scriptures, the 'spiritual' state of soul is normal for the believer, but to this state all believers do not attain, nor when it is attained is it always maintained. Thus the Apostle, in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, suggests a contrast between this spiritual state and that of the babe in Christ, i.e., of the man who because of immaturity and inexperience has not yet reached spirituality, and that of the man who by permitting jealousy, and the strife to which jealousy always leads, has lost it. The spiritual state is reached by diligence in the Word of God and in prayer; it is maintained by obedience and self-judgment. Such as are led by the Spirit are spiritual, but, of course, spirituality is not a fixed or absolute condition, it admits of growth; indeed growth in 'the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,' 2 Peter 3:18, is evidence of true spirituality." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 308-319.]

[ B-1,Adverb,G4153, pneumatikos ]
"spiritually," occurs in 1 Corinthians 2:14, with the meaning as
(j) above, and Revelation 11:8, with the meaning as in
(c). Some mss. have it in 1 Corinthians 2:13.


(1) In Romans 8:6, the RV rightly renders the noun pneuma "(the mind) of the spirit," AV, "spiritual (mind)."

(2) In 1 Corinthians 14:12 the plural of pneuma, "spirits," RV, marg., stands for "spiritual gifts" (text).

(3) In 1 Peter 2:2, the RV renders logikos "spiritual."

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words