In the popular action movie The Matrix (1999) there is a scene where Neo (the savior figure) dodges several bullets. As a few nick him, he falls on his back and the “agent” walks up to him while he is still vulnerable. Because Neo was not able to dodge every bullet the agent points his gun at him, to end his life, and utters the famous line, “Only Human.”
Paul teaches the Corinthians about being “only human” in 1 Corinthians 3:1-4…
I think I actually prefer the ESV’s reading of this text, because it correctly translates the word άνθρωπος as “human” instead of “men.”
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human?” (1 Cor. 3:1-4, ESV)
It occurred to me as I was reading this text that Paul is linking the idea of being human with the idea of unchristian behavior. Today, it is quite common to hear someone justify themselves because they are “only human.” Or people will justify actions as being part of “human nature.” It seems to me that Paul believes that we should forsake our “human nature” and not rely on being “only human.” Rather, we should be being “spiritual people.”
After all, the Corinthians humanness caused them to act according to the world and prevented him from feeding them with solid food.