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A Sound Mind is Mandatory

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Most people have been brainwashed into the idea that mental illnesses exist, must be treated, and must be considered worthy of support and kindly coddled. Is this biblical? I don’t think so. No matter what circumstances we are in, or what forces try to make us unstable, we are our own masters under God.

2 Timothy 1:7

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

This single text does not tell us a sound mind is a choice of an alternative way of living. It is an imperative. It is something we MUST have… a ‘sound mind’.

What is a “sound mind”? Two words in English but one word in the Greek – sōphronismos, a noun. The root word is sōphronizō, a verb. The noun is an admonishment, a demand to ‘soundness of mind’. This involves moderation in all things and self-control/self-discipline/correction. Based on the word sophron, it means ‘the saving of the mind’. The shortened version means to stay safe, and to be sober (nothing to do with alcohol!). The verb means to curb one’s sinful thoughts and actions, to restore to your senses, to be held to one’s duty. In this we see that the person has ‘gone off the rails’ in his mind and is recalled back to reality, truth and holiness. This includes training one’s mind to use sound judgment and prudence.

The Mind

Generally speaking, the ‘mind’ (in this case, ‘nous’) is very difficult to quantify and qualify, but we can say certain things about it. The mind reflects on consciousness. It is a collective term for perception and understanding, feelings, emotions, judgments and determination. The ‘mind’ causes us to ‘know’ the things of God, which gives us understanding of them. These ‘things’ include His will, counsels, thoughts, ‘mind’, our acceptance of Christ as God. In the Christian it is contrasted with the flesh and sin, both of which dominate a person who fails to follow the Lord (by ignoring a sound mind). It also speaks of the determination of a believer to stand fast even in bad circumstances, whether these are perceived or actual.

Another noun for ‘mind’ is dianoia. It tells us that the (sound) mind thinks through, meditates, and reflects well on moral issues. The opposite of this is a perverted (wrong) sense of morality and action. The biblical sense means to have the mind renewed by the Holy Spirit. More words are used to describe ‘mind’, which can be either holy or carnal (as in phronema, for example), there being either the ‘mind of the Spirit’ or the ‘mind of the flesh’. Phronesis leads to right thinking and results, and phroneo refers to reasoning, rather than unreasoned opinion. There are other words to consider, but what we have referred to is enough to give the gist.

Expansion of ‘Sound Mind’

We are to remember and “stir up” the “gift of God”, the charisma which are inside us (faith, holiness, knowledge, Christian virtues, etc.). These charisma are in every believer. Once we have these charisma we no longer have the “spirit of fear”, deilia, that is common to all who are unsaved. That is, timidity of mind implying failure, fearfulness (as in, say, depression and anxiety), and its result, cowardice in the face of life itself. This is interpreted in a bad sense, for it is not given by God.

This means that those who claim to be godly and yet suffer a supposed ‘mental illness’ are acting outside God’s permission and acceptance. So, God has NOT given us the spirit of fear - what today is called ‘mental illness’. In particular, this spirit of fear leads to bad thoughts and actions, as in, say, BPD. Such conditions, accepted by secular authorities, is unacceptable to God and contradicts the concept of a ‘sound mind’, and causes deterioration of the faculties of thinking and morality.

The text tells us that whilst this is all condemned by God, though modern men and their ‘experts’ tell us it is all part of our humanity, to be accepted, we have been given the opposite – power and love, dynamis and agape. The very juxtaposition of these words means these latter are NOT found in those of unsound mind. Coupled to these two products of charisma is the “sound mind”. Thus, spiritual power, genuine love, and a sound mind, all go together, in opposition to the humanised idea of unsound mind. Much more can be said interpretively.

What it comes down to is this – God EXPECTS and DEMANDS us to have a sound mind. If we show an unsound mind it means we have settled instead for the opposite of what a sound mind involves. This causes us to live with sinfulness rather than with truth and holiness. The person who claims to be ‘holy’, ‘loving God’ and so on, and yet who has an unsound kind, is displaying gross ignorance, for God has given us a ‘sound mind’ along with genuine love and genuine power. An unsound mind is not acceptable to God because it denies the dynamis He has given us! The person, then, is either living as God demands, or he/she is living unrighteously. An unsound mind is NOT righteous, so to suggest someone with an unsound mind can possibly be holy and righteous at the same time, is an oxymoron. The two states are incompatible!

But, as always, it is not the existence of incompatibility that should concern us, but the refusal of one who is living with it to recognise sin and to repent of it, casting aside all the sin that goes with it. That is, we all sin, but what God looks for is our understanding, that we are being sinful and must repent. Without this, we will continue in sin and reject His demands. ALL Christians MUST show the world we are different, and this is impossible if all we show is failure and an unsound mind.

© August 2020

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom