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Please explain what the Bible means by body, soul, and spirit.

Aren't soul and spirit the same thing?

Body

Body is our physical form made up of the dust (chemical elements) found in the earth.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (Hebrew ‘neshamah’) of life; and man became a living soul.

Into this body God breathed the breath (‘neshamah’) of life and man (Adam) became a living soul.

When we die the body corrupts back into the elements from which it is constructed.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Soul (In the Old Testament) Using Strong’s Concordance Soul 05315 nephesh Translated in the King James Version - ‘soul’ 475 times, ‘life’ 117 times, ‘person’ 29 times, ‘mind’ 15 times, ‘heart’ 15 times, ‘creature’ 9 times, ‘body’ 8 times, ‘himself’ 8 times, ‘yourselves’ 6 times, ‘dead’ 5 times, ‘will’ 4 times, ‘desire’ 4 times, ‘man’ 3 times, ‘themselves’ 3 times, ‘any’ 3 times, ‘appetite’ 2 times, misc 47 times.

Soul (Hebrew ‘Nephesh’) means creature or being. The same word is used of animals

Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature (‘Nephesh’) after his kind...

A soul is not immortal. A soul can be alive or dead.

Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body (‘Nephesh’) of any man shall be unclean seven days.

Ezekiel 18:4... the soul (‘Nephesh’) that sinneth, it shall die.

In general usage, the soul is understood to be alive.

Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls (‘Nephesh’) that they had gotten in Haran...

The word is translated ‘life’.

Genesis 19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life (‘Nephesh’) ...

Exodus 4:19 And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life (‘Nephesh’).

Soul (in the New Testament) Using Strong’s Concordance Soul 5590 psuche Translated in the King James Version – ‘soul’ 58 times, ‘life’ 40 times, ‘mind’ 3 times, ‘heart’ 1 time, ‘heartily + 1537’ 1 time, not translated 2 times.

‘Psuche’ is used in the same way as ‘nephesh’.

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls (‘psuche’) were saved by water.

In Matthew 22:37 soul (psuche’) is readily understood to mean with ‘the whole of your being’

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (‘psuche’), and with all thy mind.

Psuche’ is translated as ‘life’.

Matthew 2:20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life (‘psuche’).

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life (‘psuche’) a ransom for many.

‘Nephesh’ and ‘psuche’ are shown to be equivalents when Peter quotes David.

Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul (Hebrew ‘Nephesh’) in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul (Greek ‘psuche’) in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Peter explains what it means

Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul (‘psuche’) was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Hell (Hebrew ‘sheol’ – Greek ‘hades’) is the grave; the tomb in which Christ was laid after his crucifixion. His body was not allowed to corrupt and his soul was restored to life on the third day.

The soul in the Bible is not immortal. The soul is our whole being; when we die our whole being dies; we have no conscious existence after death.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing...

Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish

When we are placed in the grave our soul is placed in the grave.

Psalms 89:48 What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?.

Death is spoken of as sleep; resurrection is the awaking out of the sleep of death.

1 Kings 2:10 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

Acts 7:60 And he (Stephen) kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope… 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

The hope of the gospel is resurrection from the dead.

Spirit (In the Old Testament) Using Strong’s Concordance - Spirit 07307 רוח ruwach Translated in the King James Version – ‘Spirit’ or ‘spirit’ 232 times, ‘wind’ 92 times, ‘breath’ 27 times, ‘side’ 6 times, ‘mind’ 5 times, ‘blast’ 4 times, ‘vain’ 2 times, ‘air’ 1 time, ‘anger’ 1 time, ‘cool’ 1 time, ‘courage’ 1 times, misc 6 times.

‘Ruwach’ is used of the Spirit of God.

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit (‘ruwach’) of God moved upon the face of the waters. The Spirit of God was the power used in creation.

Job 33:4 The Spirit (‘ruwach’) of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. The word of God and the Spirit of God are synonymous. God speaks and it is done.

Psalms 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (Hebrew ‘ruwach’) of his mouth.

The Spirit of God sustains his creation alive.

Job 34:14 If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; 15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

When we die, the spirit energising our life returns to God.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
The spirit of God acting upon men empowers them in different ways as God requires.

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit (‘ruwach’) of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

The word is also translated as ‘breath’, ‘mind’ and ‘wind’

Genesis 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath (‘ruwach’) of life.

Genesis 26:35 Which were a grief of mind (‘ruwach’) unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

Exodus 10:13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind (‘ruwach’) upon the land...

It is also used to denote a man’s character or way of thinking.

Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit (Hebrew ‘ruwach’) with him, and hath followed me fully...

Psalms 32:2 Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit (‘ruwach’) there is no guile.

Proverbs 16:19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit (‘ruwach’) with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Spirit (In the New Testament) Using Strong’s Concordance: Spirit 4151 πνεῦμα pneuma Translated in the King James Version – ‘Spirit’ 111 times, (Holy) ‘Ghost’ 89 times, ‘Spirit’ (of God) 13 times, ‘Spirit’ (of the Lord) 5 times, ‘(My) Spirit’ 3 times, ‘Spirit’ (of truth) 3 times, ‘Spirit’ (of Christ) 2 times, ‘human’ (spirit) 49 times, ‘(evil)’ spirit 47 times, ‘spirit’ (general) 26 times, ‘spirit’ 8 times, ‘(Jesus’ own)’ spirit 6 times, ‘(Jesus’ own)’ ghost 2 times, misc 21 times.
In the New Testament, the word translated Spirit (‘pneuma’) is used of the Spirit of God.

As in the Old Testament the word is synonymous with the power of God.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit (‘pneuma’).

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit (‘pneuma’) shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

As in the Old Testament, the Spirit of God acting upon men empowers them in different ways as God requires.

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit (‘pneuma’) is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

As in the Old Testament, it is also used to denote a man’s character or way of thinking.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit (‘pneuma’): for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 9:55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit (‘pneuma’) ye are of.

It is also associated with the mind.

Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit (‘pneuma’) of your mind;

Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually (‘pneuma’) minded is life and peace.

It is in the sense of mind that we are told that man has a spirit which in its natural state finds the things of God unintelligible.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit (‘pneuma’) of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit (‘pneuma’) of God.

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (‘pneuma’), perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

We must change the way we think naturally to the way God thinks. The Bible gives us the information on how God requires us to live. It is up to each of us to make the effort to bring our will into subjection to the will of God.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The scriptures were written by inspiration for this purpose.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

This is what Christ means by being born of the spirit.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit (‘pneuma’), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

In this way, we form within us a character or spirit acceptable to God.

It was his character (sinless), not his breath, which Christ commended to his father.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit (‘pneuma’): and having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Greek ekpneo – expired).

Stephen’s request also was that his character might be acceptable.

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit (‘pneuma’).

In conclusion: Body is consistent in meaning, but both Soul and Spirit are dependent upon context for definition. If we are aware of this a lot of misunderstandings are removed. Neither our soul or spirit continues in a conscious existence after death.

Immortality is a gift to be bestowed on the faithful only when they are raised from the dead.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our natural body will be converted to a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

A spiritual body is one energised by the spirit of God rather than the circulation of the blood.

The unfaithful raised from the dead are condemned to die again and perish forever.

John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (condemnation).

I hope you have found this helpful.

God bless you,
Glenn

 
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