What is the Difference between the Body, Soul and Spirit?
Body, Soul, and Spirit
Many people consider the soul and the spirit to be interchangeable words for the same thing. But the Bible does not appear to support this view. The Bible refers in several places to the body, soul, and spirit.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 The Apostle Paul wrote, “I pray God that your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Clearly making reference to three parts.
And the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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.”
The intent of the Heart
This verse in Hebrews is quite revealing and interesting. It uses the word “even” regarding dividing the soul and spirit, the joints and the morrow, and the thoughts and intents of the heart. As though to say, the spirit and soul are so stuck together, connected and dependent on each other. However, that is a tough to separate them, but “even” the word of God can do that. To reinforce that idea the verse goes on to describe how the Word of God can “even” separate the joints from the marrow.
This is a more concrete and physical way of illustrating how these two body parts are so closely connected to one another. Which we, on the human level, already know that it would be difficult to separate them. Yet, it can be done. The verse continues by saying the Word of God can “even” separate the thoughts and intents of the heart (mind.) Thoughts and intentions are two other things that are close to each other, even woven together. But they are two separate things.
From this, we can conclude that indeed the spirit and soul are two different things. But they are tightly interwoven and interconnected with each other. This is probably why many men, throughout history, have often called the spirit and the soul the same thing. And of course when I say men, I mean men, women, and children. But the Bible clearly teaches otherwise. Read on to learn about the body, soul, and spirit of man.
Spirit and Soul – The Real You
It seems that God did not find it necessary to give us a clear definition of the two words. Even though a distinction is made between spirit and soul in
1 Thessalonians 5:23 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.
and Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
It does not become clear what the distinction implies. The most important thing we need to remember is that the part of us which is referred to as the soul, or spirit of man, needs regeneration by God’s Spirit. Without the Spirit’s working in us, we are spiritually dead and unable to know God and to understand his Word. Our body, spirit, and soul work together as one but are separate.
Most Christian theologians and Bible scholars believe, and the Bible seems to teach, that the soul is the “real you.” The part of you that is your person-hood made up of your will, emotions, thoughts, memories, and intellect (and probably a lot more). The part of you that knows the difference between “right and wrong.” This is the part of you that God made in the His own image. Why? Because God also possesses all of these characteristics. With the exception that He is not corrupted by sin as we are.
Our Soul is Eternal
The soul is eternal in one direction only – going forward. Your soul did not exist in eternity past. In the beginning, God created you. In Genesis 2:7 the Bible says that man was created a living soul. It says;
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
Whether God’s breath of life into Adam resulted in all men automatically having a soul. Or, if God creates each soul at conception is not clear. Suffice it to say that all living human beings have a body, soul, and spirit. Regardless if they are in the womb and born or even if they die in the womb. Ultimately, this is what makes abortion, such a murderous crime and tragedy. Unfortunately, many people lose this battle in the warfare for the soul of their unborn child. But that is a discussion for another article.
Gift of Eternal Life
All souls live for an eternity. Both the redeemed and the lost. They do not die. Though the lost will wish they had died, for that would be better for them than an eternity in Hell. Which is where all men are headed to by default. Unless, of course, they are regenerated by Christ and made spiritually alive.
In Mark 14:21 Jesus said of Judas, “… but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”
Everyone who refuses the free gift of eternal life that is offered by God is in the same condition as Judas, as far as God is concerned. To not accept that free gift of life is a betrayal of the Son of God and the Father. Indeed, it is the unforgivable sin.
God’s promises are available for all of us. It’s our choice where our soul will spend eternity. A greater understanding can be gained through prayer, studying the word of God and listening to audio sermons about the body, soul, and spirit. Consider where your path in life is taking you. Is it pleasing to God?
© By Leighton Garner – All Rights Reserved
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