Carnal is an important concept in the Bible, but what does it really mean? In this article, I will explain what carnal means in the Bible, explore its significance and significance for the scripture, and outline its application for those of faith. As believers, understanding the meaning behind this word is vital to building a stronger relationship with the Lord.
In Biblical terms, carnal is defined as “of or pertaining to the physical body or senses, as opposed to the spiritual or intellectual nature.” This description hones in on a crucial implication of the word: that the physical body, and its associated senses, have an eye-opening purpose associated with them as connected with our faith. The physical parts of us have a direct bearing on how we believe, see, and act. The Apostle Paul recognized this in one of his epistles, stating, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Carnality, then, is not a roadblock to spiritual life, but a reminder of the importance of controlling the body and its impulses.
It’s important to remember that there is a difference between our physical and spiritual lives. The physical senses are meant to be tools in experiencing our faith and should not overshadow our true relationship with the Lord. At the same time, our physicality points us to the spiritual, just as lightbulbs illuminate a dark room. Carnal reasoning, however, leads us astray, distracting us from our spiritual pursuits. The Bible warns against the pitfalls of carnal thinking, proclaiming in Proverbs 6:32, “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.
So how can believers put this into practical application? In terms of our relationship with the Lord, it is important to recognize that the physical body and its associated senses serve a purpose. Through prayer, scripture, and self-control helped by the strength of the Holy Spirit, carnal reasonings can be put aside in order to meet the Lord in a spiritual realm. Furthermore, when engaging in activities and decisions that can potentially lead to sin, self-control is of the utmost importance. As believers in the Lord, we must remember that the carnal body is a tool that should not be used for anything less than bringing honor and glory to the Lord.
Carnal in the Bible Scriptures
The Bible scriptures provide insight into our faith journey through what carnal means and how we should use it in our lives. In Romans 7:14, we see that “the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.” Here, our physicality and its associated desires are framed as sin. One must put the power of the Spirit before the desires of the body and flesh. This is especially applicable to those who are still learning and seeking to understand the Lord’s instruction. As we learn more and grow in faith, it is helpful to remind ourselves of the authority of the Bible and the power of the Holy Spirit, as outlined in John 6:63: “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”.
Battles between the flesh and the spirit are a common motif throughout the Bible. Mark 7:20-23 clarifies the importance of the spiritual over the physical: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.” This articulates a harsh distinction between our spiritual life and our physical life, and implies that if one indulges in carnal desire then they are also indulging in sin.
Finally, we can turn to 1 Corinthians 9:27, which states, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” This is an especially strong reminder to recognize the importance of restraining our physical senses, reaping the rewards of the spiritual journey rather than the temptations of the carnal.
Carnal in the Bible and the Believer
Conflicts between the body and the spirit are a central theme of the scriptures, and our understanding of carnal is integral to living a life of faith. To adhere to the Lord’s plan of purity and holiness, we must understand the importance of our physicality and the power of the senses. The physical world can be distracting, but as believers, it should serve as a reminder that if we are guided by the power of the spirit, we will be unstoppable.
By striving to use our physical senses toward the service of the Lord, we have the chance to experience enhanced peace, joy and insight. This can be done through seeking spiritual understanding of the word, and attempting to live not just by the letter of the law, but also the Spirit that guides it. We can also use our physical bodies as an inroads to understanding Jesus, who is the path to righteousness according to Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”. Jesus is living proof that by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our physical bodies, we can reach higher heights of peace and love than ever before.
The Role of Prayer and Self-Control
To control the physical senses, prayer and self-control are two of the most helpful weapons. It is important to remember that these tools are available to us in our journey of faith. Prayer is one of the most effective ways of accessing the help of the Holy Spirit. It is also a great way to ask for guidance in exercising self-control to overcome temptation. Also, as James 1:5-6 explains, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” In other words, by utilizing the help of prayer and self-control, we can reach a deeper understanding of our faith and how to use the physical senses to access it.
Carnal in the Bible: Applying for Our Lives
Understanding what carnal means in the Bible is a key factor in living a life of faith. It is not enough to have faith in the Lord; we also have to take action and use our physical senses in obedience to His plan. We must be mindful of the power of the body and senses, and strive to maintain self-control and seek understanding. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind the ultimate truth revealed in Philippians 4:13: “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” The power of the Lord is stronger than any carnal desire and we can rely on His strength to guide us on a journey of Heavenly transformation.
Accessing the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit plays an essential role in understanding carnal and its implications for us as believers. The prophetic power of the Holy Spirit helps us access higher levels of knowledge and wisdom. Acts 1:8 states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Accessing this power helps us in our battle against physical temptation and is a crucial tool for aiding our spiritual transformation.
To follow in the footsteps of faith, it is essential that we understand the power of the body and senses, and use our physicality as a tool for understanding the Lord. We must strive to control our physical senses in the pursuit of the spiritual, and rely on the power of the Lord to join in His journey of transformation. By doing this, we can live a life of faith and ascension to a heavenly existence.
The Purpose of Our Physical Bodies
Hope is always available to us in our struggle to understand our physicality, and how to use it to access the Lord. Romans 12:2 articulates this, proclaiming, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” By allowing the Lord to access our senses through self-control and prayer, we are gifted the chance to engage in His divine plan. Furthermore, Romans 8:19 reminds us of the importance of evolution in relationship to our faith, proclaiming, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” Through our physicality, we are enabled to journey along with the Lord and to meet Him in a spiritual realm.
Conclusion and Summary
Carnal is an important concept in the role of living a life of faith. In order to harness the power of the Spirit and understand the implications of the physical body in our faith journey, we must recognize the importance of prayer and self-control. We can look to the Bible scriptures as guidance on this topic, using the verses, teachings and stories as tools to understanding ourselves and the Lord. Additionally, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit can help us access higher levels of knowledge and understanding, allowing us to journey along with the Lord in a heavenly transformation.