MAN'S THREE-FOLD NATURE
A. Paul speaks of man’s threefold nature
1 Thess 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The physical body of flesh
Gen 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (man became a living soul.) (KJV)
a. A temporary place of residence for the soul/spirit
Jas 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are [just] a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
2. The Soul (Gen 2:7)----see above
a. Psuchee - Breath (Latin: anima), ie, the breath of life; the vital force which animates the body - Thayer
3. The Spirit
Jas 2:26 For just as the body without [the] spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
a. Pneuma - Breath of the nostrils or mouth; that which ...... animates and gives life - Thayer
B. The Hebrew writer also says the word of God is able to distinguish between them
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (NASB)
1. It takes a keen instrument to distinguish between items with basically the same definition
a. If there is a difference, what is that difference?
A. Body - The temporary earthly house in which the spirit/soul dwells
2 Cor 5:1-4 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this [house] we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.
1. No confusion here, what you see is what you get – neither Thayer nor Webster give a good definition for “body”
a. It is fearfully and wonderfully made
Ps 139:14-16 I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, [And] skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained [for me], When as yet there was not one of them.
(1) It is mortal and will return to dust
Gen 3:19 By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return."
b. Will be replaced by an immortal body at resurrection
1 Cor 15:51-54 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.
c. Must use it to glorify God while on this earth
1 Cor 6:20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
(1) Requires keeping it in subjection
1 Cor but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
B. Soul/Spirit – different words referring to the same entity
Job 7:11 "Therefore, I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
1. The Hebrew writer compares “soul and spirit” to “thoughts and intent of the heart”
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
a. “Thought and intent” not separate entities, but different functions of the same entity – the heart (mind)
(1) The heart has thoughts
Gen 6:5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
(2) The heart has “intent”
Jer 30:24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back, Until He has performed, and until He has accomplished The intent of His heart; In the latter days you will understand this.
2. Body without the spirit is dead
For just as the body without [the] spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
a. Body without the soul is dead
Gen 35:17-19 And it came about when she was in severe labor that the midwife said to her, "Do not fear, for now you have [another] son." And it came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).
3. God is a Spirit
John "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
a. Uses soul in referring to himself
Lev 26:30 'I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols; for My soul shall abhor you.
4. God said his soul would depart Israel
Jer 6:8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited. (KJV)
a. God’s spirit came upon David but departed Saul
1 Sam 16:13-14 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.
5. Church good example– different words used, yet referring to the same entity
Rom. 16:16, Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.
Acts 20:28, "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
Heb 12:22-23, But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect...
C. Soul/Spirit – different words used to express characteristics of man
Isa. 26:9 At night my soul longs for Thee, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently; For when the earth experiences Thy judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
1. “Soul” sometimes simply refers to an individual
Acts , So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
a. Sometimes it refers to the immortal part of man
Acts 2:29-31, "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. "And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT [one] OF HIS DESCENDANTS UPON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, ["that his soul was not left in hell" - KJV] NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY."
b. Sometimes refers to the emotional part of man
Matt. 26:38, Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me."
c. Sometimes refers to man’s determination
Eph. 6:6, not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
(1) Notice “soul” translated “heart” here (remember intent above)
(Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.)
2. “Spirit” sometimes refers to man’s determination
Acts , Now after these
things were finished, Paul purposed
in the spirit to go to
a. Sometimes refers to emotional part of man
1 Sam. , But Hannah answered and said, "No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed [sorrowful-KJV] in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the LORD.
b. Sometimes refers to the immortal part of man
John 6:63, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."
(1) Spirit returns to God after departing the body
Eccl. 12:7, then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
c. Sometimes refers to man’s way of life
Rom. 1:9, For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the [preaching of the] gospel of His Son, is my witness [as to] how unceasingly I make mention of you,
D. Soul/spirit used other ways also – must understand by context what is meant
Num 5:29-30, 'This is the law of jealousy: when a wife, [being] under [the authority of] her husband, goes astray and defiles herself, or when a spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife, he shall then make the woman stand before the LORD, and the priest shall apply all this law to her.
1. Attitude, not immortal spirit, meaning here also
Judges , Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech
A. Call it “soul” or “spirit” it lives throughout eternity
John 5:28-29, "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good [deeds] to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil [deeds] to a resurrection of judgment.
1. What is your soul, and its eternal destiny worth to you?
Matt. 16:26, "For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
2. You can reserve a place in heaven today simply by:
a. Hearing - Rom 10:17
So faith [comes] from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
b. Believing - Heb 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
c. Repenting - Acts 3:19
"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
d. Confessing - Rom 10:10
for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
e. Being Baptized - Acts 22:16
'And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.'
3. If you have let your reservation expire, you may reinstate it by:
a. Repenting and Praying - Acts 8:22
"Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.