What is A “Nous?”

James H. Cagle
pastorjameshcagle@yahoo.com

The word “nous” isn’t a new word.  It’s actually very old.  In my 1890 edition of Columbian Cyclopedia I’m told it dates back to Platonic philosophy and is “that living effluence from the original Reason which in the beginning imaged that Reason and was the archetype of all things created by it.”

“Nous” is a Greek word meaning “responsible intellect.”   Nous is any sensual or cognitive perception, the ability to grasp and understand things.

For the Christian the nous would mean forming a mature responsible intellect by disciplining the mind and bringing the mind and thinking into line with the Bible in order to form the “mind of Christ.”  Jesus Christ had this responsible intellect.  He spoke only what God told him to speak and did only the works that God told him to do, (Jn.12:49).

A person can be chronologically very old but having never developed a mature responsible intellect, or nous, will continue to be guided by their intuition, impulses, emotions or feelings as they did when they were children.  They are those children in the adult age group we find cannot be rational.

Paul addresses this mental development and says, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor.13:11 KJV).  A child is very irresponsible in their thinking and behavior.  If this is true of an adult it’s because they’ve never worked toward developing that nous.

Paul refers to this in Hebrews 5:12-14.  The Christians he was referring to were still on the milk of the Word, when in the spiritual order of things they should’ve been on the meat of the Word.  They were still very shallow in their thinking and discerning and on the basic or elementary elements of God’s Word when they should have been on the deep and profound things of God’s Word.  The reason for that was their “senses” (mental powers of discernment) had not been “exercised to discern both good and evil.”  They knew the facts but did not have a mental grasp or understanding of them and could not explain them.

So we can see by this that we’re not given a nous as a gift from God but we must develop it ourselves and we develop it as we use it and obey God in our thought life and discipline it by bringing “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor.10:5b KJV).

Could all the chaos and confusion and foolishness, and childishness, and nonsense in religion and politics and everywhere else we look be due to the fact that the majority of people never learn how to think like mature adults, and form a nous, but instead think like children and make their choices based on their feelings?  I would answer yes to that question.  And sadly the problem’s only getting worse.

We Forgot

We said we’d never forget,
But it’s obvious that we did.
We forgot the terrorist of 9/11,
And all the killing that they did.
We forgot their goal and purpose,
Was the destruction of our land.
The ones who hated us on that day,
Are now governing in our land.
We said we’d never forget,
The thousands of lives that they took.
On the day of their horrific attack,
And through the years that cancer took.
We said we’d never forget,
The hatred that they showed t’ward us.
And the religion that they embrace,
That makes them so murderous.
We said we’d never forget,
But we have, it’s plain to see.
We put them in our government,
To weaken us through laws and policies.
We said we’d never forget,
Our enemy’s terror of that day,
And the threats they made against us,
That are still just as real today.
We said we’d never forget,
But it’s clear we don’t remember,
All the death, pain, and suffering,
They caused us that September.
We must not ever forget,
Our enemy’s plans remain the same.
To conquer, enslave and destroy us.
And all this they do in their god’s name.
We said we’d never forget,
The rapes and murders they’ve committed,
And all the families they’ve destroyed.
Wake up! Or we’ll see it repeated.
It’s obvious that we forgot.
We must remember and be brave.
And take our enemy more seriously,
If our great country we would save.
We said we’d never forget,
But it’s very clear that we forgot.
If we stay passive and complacent,
Soon our country we’ll have-not.
We said we’d never forget.
But it’s very clear that we forgot.
And while we say and still do nothing,
We’re conquered without a single gunshot.

James H. Cagle

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