Aiming the Mind: A Key to Godly Living -- By: George J. Zemek, Jr.

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 05:2 (Fall 1984)
Article: Aiming the Mind: A Key to Godly Living
Author: George J. Zemek, Jr.

Aiming the Mind: A Key to Godly Living

George J. Zemek, Jr.

The Bible is a persistent witness to the fact that behavior flows from a noetic wellspring. Noetic depravity, expressed by various terms and idiomatic combinations in both testaments, necessitates a redirection of mans faculties. Repentance establishes an initial reorientation; however, the Scriptures stress that the key to a godly life-style is a sustained spiritual mindset. This is the focal point of Biblical ethics.

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The Noetic Malady

The noetic effects1 of the Fall are attested on nearly every page of the Holy Scriptures. If one fails to take seriously God’s infallible diagnosis of this malady, attempts at treatment will be at best directed only to symptoms and the result will be fatal.

A Survey of Noetic Terminology

OT Terminology

The concept of “mind” in the OT is conveyed in certain contexts by רוּחַ, נֶפֶשׁ, and בָב/ב.2 All but the last should be considered secondary terms because of the infrequency with which they are used in contexts in the Hebrew Bible where this English translation value is appropriate.


Rarely…רוּחַ is used of the seat of mentality.”3 A survey of usage based on a Hebrew concordance along with LXX renderings (where πνεῦμα is not used to translate רוּחַ)4 justifies special usage categories for רוּחַ as the seat or organ “of mental acts” and “of the will.”5 Renderings of “mind, disposition, temper, mood, disposition of mind,”6 etc., are found in contexts associating רוּחַ with attitude of mind and/or volition.7 For example, the Lord says in Ezek 11:5, “I know your thoughts”8 [וּמַעֲלוֹת רוּחֲכֶם אֲנִי יְדַעְתִּיהָ]. Later in Ezekiel, God says, “And what comes into your mind [וְהָעֹלַה עַל־רוּחֲכֶם] will not come about, when y...

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