Body, Soul and Spirit
1 Thessalonians 5:23 "And the God of peace sanctify
you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be
preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ." Man is a tripartite being, not only is this
verified by the word directly, it is also confirmed by types and
similitude indirectly. We will see this more in detail later.
Notice the divisions in this verse—and the specific order
(1) spirit (2) soul and (3) body. There are many affirming
pictures in creation and biblical truth conclusively
demonstrating MAN IS THREE PARTS eg. Sun, Moon,
Stars…Three Courts in Tabernacle …Three
Priesthoods…Three Feasts of Israel…Three Heavens
…Three Hells …Three Natures …Three in one
The spirit is the part of man that gives him God consciousness
through his mind (Ephesians 4:23). The soul reveals to man his
self consciousness through his heart and the body identifies man
with world consciousness through his flesh. When God created Adam
He formed his body from the dust of the earth then breathed into
his nostrils and Adam became a living soul which was then about
to be made subject to the ultimate control of God by the
Satan convinced Adam at that point that he did not need to
subject his soul to Gods Spirit input, Satan suggested, simply by
eating of the FRUIT OF THE TREE of the knowledge of good and evil
Adam and Eve could have the benefits and blessings that God
enjoys without interference from God as they would be equal to
This presents a frightening scenario to us that have serious
ramifications with alarming consequences. Adam did all that he
did while he lived on earth (named the animals etc) by the power
of his soul (as he was not a quickened Spirit like the second
Adam … Jesus, he was just a living soul - 1 Corinthians 15.45).
Adam was only acting out of soulish power not Spiritual
power, yet he was capable of producing very similar results. It
shows us we can replicate supernatural works by soul power
without God or perform those same supernatural tasks by the
Spirit with God. Note the source of the power is totally
different. Soul power is from within a man and is open to
influence by the demonic, where as Spirit power is from God and
is directed by His will alone.
Because Adam sinned, he short circuited Gods intention to make
him a Spirit being led by the Spirit doing only good (Romans 8.5)
, thus he remained a soul man led by emotion, lust, reason,
and selfish desire influenced by evil spirits working through the
soul and thereby performing only evil. Good is derived from God.
Evil is derived from Devil. Remember doing good things is not
necessarily doing Gods will (even our righteousness is as filthy
rags in Gods sight). Jesus came to restore what was never
accomplished in the first man Adam because of sin and
disobedience. Eph 2:1-5 - namely that man could now become
complete in Christ and receive the quickening through new birth
from above (John 3:5).
Obviously this explains why Jesus said it is not the gift upon
a man that accomplishes a task by which you evaluate a mans
ministry, but by the source from which he draws upon evidenced
through the style of life he lives and the day to day manner of
his conduct and piety. Adam with no quickened (living) spirit was
a walking dead man. He was alive in the realm of the soul but
dead to the realm of Spirit.
Job 32:8 "There is a spirit in man..."
Ephesians 2:1 "And you hath he quickened, who were once
dead in trespasses and sins;"
Romans 8:11 "if the Spirit of him that raised up
Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from
the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that
dwelleth in you" Romans 7:9 "For I was alive
without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived,
and I died."
When Paul was a child, (prior to reaching the age of
accountability, which varies from child to child), his spirit was
alive. Once he had knowledge of the law and realized that his
wrong was sin against God, his spirit died, innocence was gone
(Romans 7:9) and he needed to be born again quickened by the
Spirit (John 3:7).
The book of Romans explains a viewpoint concerning the
destination of a child that dies in innocence. Such a child has
no knowledge of God’s law and "...where no law is,
there is no transgression." (Romans 4:15). Therefore
where there is no transgression there is no sin, "...for
by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20).
Consequently sin is not imputed to the child’s account
(Romans 4:8) and he does not need saving by reason of his
innocent state. However when innocence is gone and a knowledge of
right and wrong is known (what we call age of accountability),
then the quickening of the Spirit is needed to open our eyes to
the Spirit realm and to Gods plan of salvation. WE MUST BE BORN
Adam and Eve needed no covering (Genesis 3:21) before the fall
because they had no knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:5).
When man’s spirit dies he must be born of the Spirit (John 3:6-8)
by the new birth (I Peter 1:23). He must be born again. So
goes the old saying; Born once die twice (Revelation 20:14), born
twice die once.
In conclusion, the dead spirit in man needs to be quickened
(Ephesians 2:1) by the Holy Spirit that seals (Ephesians 1:13)
the born again Christian and also indwells him (I Corinthians 6:19)
"unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).
The soul is the real you. The body is just a vehicle that
transports the soul from place to place (II Corinthians 5:1-4).
Job said to God "Thou hast clothed me with skin and
flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews" (Job 10:11).
The "me" in the verse is the soul.
Matthew 16:26 "For what is a man profited, if he shall
gain the whole world, and loose his own soul?"
Luke 9:25 "For what is a man advantaged, if he gains
the whole world, and lose himself..."
Notice the obvious substitution of "soul" in Matthew
for "himself" in Luke. This same thought is in the book
of Galatians 5:16-17 "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall
not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against
the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are
contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things
that ye would."
The "ye" in the passage is the soul— the real
you that is caught in the struggle of Spirit and (body).
James 1:21 "Receive with meekness the engrafted word,
which is able to save your souls."
Genesis 35:18 "Her (Rachel’s) soul was in
departing..." I Peter 4:19 "Let them that
suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their
souls to him in well doing,….." Psalms 66:8-9
"O bless God, ye people, make the voice of praise to be
heard: Which holds our soul in life..." Psalms 97:10
"[H]e preserveth the souls of his saints..." I Samuel 25:29
"The soul of my lord (David) shall be bound
in the bundle of life with the LORD thy God". cf.
II Timothy 1:12 Job 33:18 "He (God) keepeth back his
soul from the pit..."
God saves and preserves the soul of man - let’s trace
exactly what happens when a man is saved: Ephesians 1:12-13
"That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first
trusted in Christ (cf. Matthew 12:21). In whom ye also trusted,
after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your
salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed
with that holy Spirit of promise..." Colossians 2:10-12
"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all
principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the
circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the
sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: "Buried
with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through
the faith of the operation of God..." (cf. Psalms 28:5).
2 Corinthians 5:1 describes the operation of God making a
heavenly tabernacle for us. The greek translation of house, or
tabernacle in this instance is ‘Oiketerion’.
"Spiritual body or house not made with human hands
(Colossians 2) separates the spirit and soul from the body
(Hebrews 4:12) by the word of God. Therefore at death the soul
and spirit of a saved man goes up to be with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:8)
fortifying the scripture that says "For
me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
On the other hand a lost man has not had the operation of God
that severs the soul and quickens the spirit, therefore at death
his body goes down into the grave and his soul continues downward
to hell (Luke 16). There is an interesting verse of scripture
that relates to the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:1 regarding this
word OIKETERION. It is found in JUDE 6 - it states that the
angels which did not guard, respect or honour their given
position, power, rank or rule when they were demoted, they not
only lost their position but had to hand back their OIKETERION -
their spiritual house, habitation, literally their
"body" which makes them bodiless spirits. No wonder
they seek habitation in a human body that they may express their
cravings and lusts through.
Romans 7:18 "I know that in me (that is, in my
flesh,) dwelleth no good thing..."
Romans 7:24 "O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from the body of this death?"
Ephesians 4:30 "Grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption." Romans 8:23
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have
the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our
body." (cf. Eph 1:14) I Corinthians 15:53 "For
this corruptible (body) must put on incorruption (new body), and
this mortal must put on immortality." (cf.
I Corinthians 15:54)
This is what Paul was referring to when he said "for
now is our salvation nearer than when we believed"
(Romans 13:11). Every day that passes by brings us nearer to the
day that God is going to save this wretched body (the purchased
possession— Ephesians 1:14) and make it immortal, no more
to see corruption and bring the saying to pass "Death is
swallowed up in victory" I Corinthians 15:54.
I personally believe the body, rather than being the largest
of the three is the least, and when you enter a room in darkness
and you sense someone there it is the spirit or soul brushing up
against the spirit or soul of the other and instead of being
enclosed in the physical body is uninhibited by it, "For
the word of God is quick (zao alive), and powerful (energized or
effective), and sharper (decisive at a single blow) than any two
edged (This is symbolic of the superior mouth of Jesus Rev 1:16)
sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts
and intents of the heart". Hebrews 4:12
The usual formulation is of a three-fold or "triune"
nature of mankind who is made in the nature of the One God Who is
not a simple puff of wind (spirit) but fulfills a complex task:
"May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through
and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept
blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Soul is from the Greek: Psuche (g5590) psoo-khay'; from
5594; breath, i.e. (by impl.) spirit, abstr. or concr. thus
distinguished on the one hand from 4151 (Spirit), which is the
rational and immortal soul; and on the other from 2222 (Zao or
Zoe), which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus
exactly correspond respectively to the Heb. [5315, 7306 and
2416]): - heart (/ -ily), life, mind, soul, / us, / you. However,
it seems to me that this "life principle" is something
which survives death: "And fear not them which kill the
body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him
which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell".
We might conclude that the body is the "machinery"
much like that of animals. However, the soul is also used of a
form of life at a higher level. The life is that which includes
the brain and propels the body and gives it power to move and do
the bidding of the mind.
The Hebrew for soul is: Nephesh (h5315) neh'-fesh; from
5314; prop. a breathing creature, i. e. animal or (abstr.)
vitality; used very widely in a lit., accommodated or fig. sense
(bodily or mental): - any, appetite, beast, body, breath,
creature, * dead
(-ly), desire, * [dis-] contented, * fish, ghost, / greedy,
he, heart (-y), (hath, * jeopardy of) life (* in jeopardy), lust,
man, me, mind, mortally, one, own, person, pleasure, (her- ,
him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, / slay, soul, /
tablet, they, thing, (* she) will, * would have it. And the Lord
God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his
nostrils the breath (intellect) of life; and man became a living
soul. Genesis 2:7 This means that man is like an animal but more
than an animal.
Pneuma (g4151) pnyoo'-mah; from 4154; a current of air,
i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy. or fig. a spirit,
i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by impl.) vital principle,
mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, doemon, or
(divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit: - ghost,
life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Comp. 5590. You will notice
that Strong compares Pneuma to Psuche showing the connection. My
own feeling is that we have a body. A lot of our body is
regulated by automatic control with "brain-like"
control locally regulating it. That body is "intellectually
powered" by a brain (still physical machinery) and this is
the soul or life principle which survives death as the body goes
back to the dust. On the other hand, the "third member of
the trinity" of man made in God's image is spirit or the
mental disposition of the soul. An animal has body and some form
of "life" but we have no evidence that it has the
"spirit" or mental disposition to identify with
A carnal person has a body and a soul but their spirit is not
disposed toward God and His Word.
The Hebrew for "spirit" or "Spirit" is:
Ruwach (h7307) roo'-akh, roo'-akh; from 7306; wind; by
resemblance breath, i. e. a sensible (or even violent exhalation;
fig. life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extens. a region of the
sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (includ.
its expression and functions): - air, anger, blast, breath, *
cool, courage, mind, * quarter, * side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest,
* vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things
that are freely given to us of God." 1 Corinthians 2:12.
"Which things also we speak, not in the words
which mans wisdom (from his body and soul) teacheth, but which
the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with
spiritual." 1 Corinthians 2:13. To deny that Christ can
transfer "Spirit" in the form of knowledge into our
"spirit" through the spoken or written Word is to deny
that Christ is God. "But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto
him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually
(figuratively) discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14
The natural man is: Psuchikos (g5591) psoo-khee-kos'; from
5590; sensitive, i.e. animate (in distinction on the one hand
from 4152, which is the higher or renovated nature; and on the
other from 5446, which is the lower or bestial nature): -
natural, sensual. But he that is spiritual (non-human part of us)
judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 1
Spiritual is: Pneumatikos (g4152) pnyoo-mat-ik-os'; from
4151; non-carnal, i.e. (humanly) ethereal (as opposed to gross),
or (daemoniacally) a spirit (concr.), or divinely supernatural,
regenerate, religious: - spiritual. Comp. 5591. A spiritual
person "Judgeth all things." This is defined as:
Anakrino (g350) an-ak-ree'-no; from 303 and 2919; prop. to
scrutinize, i.e. (by impl.) investigate, interrogate, determine:
- ask, question, discern, examine, judge, search.
Paul then completes his definition of the Holy Spirit, the
Spirit of the Lord and the Spirit of Christ as the Mind of
Christ: "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that
he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:16
Only by having the Mind of Christ and being
"baptized into His body" is it possible for us to move
our citizenship from the physical dimension into the spiritual
dimension. And only by looking into or through the Mind of Christ
can we look through the narrow, tiny door into the Spirit world
and think in Spiritual terms.
1: The BODY. This is your PHYSICAL component of being. It is
flesh made from a collection of unremarkable mineral elements
(but is mostly water) and is in harmony with the nature and
spirit of this world. It grows, matures, begins to deteriorate,
eventually dies, and then decomposes back into its constituent
elements and remains a part of the dust of the world. The body is
a part of you but is NOT ALL that defines who YOU are.
2: The SOUL. This is who YOU are; it is a part of your
SPIRITUAL component. This is your individuality, your "I
AM" so to speak, your "heart." Although your
individual soul did not exist before your mother and father
procreated you, it will exist forever. It cannot be killed by
man: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not
able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to
destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28 KJV)
When your body dies your soul (YOU) will leave the body of flesh:
"And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for
she died) she called his name Benoni: but his father called him
Benjamin." (Gen 35:18 KJV)
3: The SPIRIT. This is the source of power and control for
both your body and soul; it is either evil or good, darkness or
light, unholy or Holy, unclean or clean, of Satan or of God:
"But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what
manner of spirit ye are of." (Luke 9:55 KJV)
God is not a living soul, He is a Living and Life giving
Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45-46). Therefore the soul that God
created in Adam is indeed unique. Adam's soul is in his own
hands, not God's and not Satan's. Adam does not have
God's will, or Satan's will; he has free will. Free will
means an unencumbered will, that is, a will that is not bound by
allegiance to any other party but its own. This means that Adam
has the power and the faculties of a soul from which he can
reason, feel and choose for himself. He even has the power and
the right to choose to be dependent or independent of God. The
break up of the faculty of the soul is basically mind, emotion
and will. Adam had soul life, which means he could: think and
reason for himself, feel and desire for himself and above all he
could choose for himself. Adam was not a robot, he had free
expression and free will. Free will means that man has a will
that He Himself has created. Be it right, or be it wrong, be it
good or be it evil; God will not violate or coerce man's free
will. To interrupt Man's will in any way, would render
man's will forced rather than free.