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1 Corinthians 14:20 meaning...

In this verse, the Apostle Paul addresses the Corinthians with profound wisdom, encouraging them to approach their faith and understanding of God's message with maturity. As we delve into the meaning and significance of this verse, we can uncover valuable insights that remain relevant to our spiritual journey today.

  • Maturity in Thinking

Paul begins by addressing the Corinthians as "brothers," highlighting the familial nature of the Christian community. He urges them not to remain as "children in thoughts." Just as children grow and develop over time, so should our spiritual understanding evolve. Paul is emphasizing the importance of intellectual and spiritual growth within the context of faith.

The phrase "yet in malice be babies" draws a striking contrast. Paul suggests that while believers should be like infants when it comes to harboring ill intentions or malicious behavior, they should be anything but immature in their thinking. This highlights the distinction between childlike innocence and childlike immaturity.

  • Balancing Innocence and Wisdom

The verse continues with the injunction to "be mature in thoughts." Here, Paul encourages a balanced approach between childlike innocence and mature wisdom. While innocence allows us to approach God with a pure heart, wisdom enables us to grasp the deeper truths of His Word. This balance is crucial for a holistic Christian life.

Paul's words echo the sentiment of Jesus Himself, who said, "Truly, I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) This isn't an invitation to remain childish in our thinking, but rather an encouragement to cultivate childlike trust, humility, and sincerity in our relationship with God.

The significance of this verse extends to our daily lives as believers. It prompts us to reflect on the way we approach our faith and spiritual growth:

  • Intellectual Engagement: 
Paul's words remind us that faith isn't a stagnant or simplistic concept. We are called to engage our minds, study the Scriptures, and seek deeper understanding. A mature faith doesn't shy away from questions but embraces them as opportunities for growth.

  • Discernment: 
The call to be "mature in thoughts" implies discernment. We are urged to differentiate between what aligns with God's truth and what doesn't. This requires not only spiritual insight but also the ability to think critically in a world filled with diverse ideas.

  • Holistic Spiritual Growth: 
Paul's message encourages us to grow both spiritually and intellectually. A well-rounded believer is one who not only nurtures their spirit through prayer and worship but also expands their knowledge of God's Word and its relevance in today's context.

  • Humility: 
Embracing maturity in thoughts goes hand in hand with humility. The more we learn and understand, the more we should recognize the vastness of God's wisdom and the limitations of our own. This humility keeps us open to learning and receptive to correction.

  • Childlike Trust: 
While seeking maturity, we must retain the childlike trust and wonder that draw us closer to God. Just as children trust their parents, we are called to trust our Heavenly Father without reservation, knowing that His wisdom surpasses our understanding.


1 Corinthians 13:11: "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things." This cross-reference emphasizes the progression from childhood to maturity in various aspects of life, including faith.

Hebrews 5:14: "But solid food is for full grown men, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil." This verse highlights the concept of spiritual maturity leading to the ability to discern between good and evil.

In conclusion, 1 Corinthians 14:20 invites us to embrace a mature approach to our faith, one that combines intellectual growth with childlike trust. It encourages us to be diligent students of God's Word, seeking wisdom and discernment in all matters. While the verse calls us to put away immaturity in our thinking, it also reminds us to maintain the innocence and trust of a child in our relationship with God. As we navigate the complexities of life, let us heed Paul's exhortation to be mature in thoughts, holding onto the delicate balance between wisdom and wonder.

1 Corinthians 14:20. Don’t be children in thoughts, yet in malice be babies, but in thoughts be mature.


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