Body Soul and Spirit

[NOTE: This Bible topic contains some diverse interpretation (i.e., whether “Soul and Spirit” are separate or the same). In light of this, Bible IQ wrestled on whether to present this Bible teaching. We concluded it was important enough and would simply present both viewpoints. The first section presents the view that “body + soul + spirit” are 3 separate parts, and the second section presents the view that they are 2 separate parts (“body + soul/spirit”). Finally, we felt it was equally important to take this opportunity to shed light that some Bible topics are deeper doctrines which may lead to mixed interpretations. In such situations, we encourage readers to always go to the Bible as the single-source-of-truth and to pray to God for divine revelation.]   

Body, Soul, and Spirit – Part I

Did you know that we are all created with a body, soul, and spirit? In other words, we are 3-part beings! Our bodies are self-evident – our flesh, bones, organs, hair, etc. Our souls consist of our mind, will, emotions, and conscience – collectively, our unique personalities. And our spirits consist of our innermost selves and our connection with God. In summary, we are a spirit with a soul living in a body.
“May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23b, NIV).
Unfortunately, due to generational sin (thanks to Adam & Eve), we are all born spiritually dead. However, there’s good news! When a person repents and places their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, they receive a new spirit, which is alive and righteous. The Bible refers to a person’s new and regenerated spirit as being “born again.”


“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (Ezekiel 36:26, NIV).
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1, NIV).
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3, NIV).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV).


As discussed above, once we repent and place our trust in Jesus, we receive a completely new spirit. It’s important to note that no change will have taken place with regards to our bodies or souls at this moment-in-time. For example, if you were tall, short, skinny, or fat prior to your spiritual rebirth, your body will still be the same. Likewise, if you were smart, funny, or introverted prior to your spiritual rebirth, your soul (mind, personality, etc.) will still be the same. Although our spirits are made new in an instant, it takes time and effort to see transformation in our souls (and bodies). The Christian life is a journey of “soul transformation” as we learn God’s ways and line our soul (mind, will, and emotions) up with the transformation that already happened to our spirit. This discipleship or sanctification process involves continuously washing or renewing our minds with the truth of God’s Word combined with the teaching, training, and transforming power of the Holy Spirit. In summary, we become progressively transformed the more we discipline ourselves to read, study, memorize, meditate, and apply God’s Word (the Bible) in our lives!

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17, NKJV).
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2a, NIV).
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, NIV).
“May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23b, NIV).


When we are born again and made a new creation, God essentially deposits a great treasure into our new spirits: righteousness, love, joy, peace, healing, help, kindness, wisdom, direction, self-control, purpose, etc. The more we seek to know and understand God’s Word (the Bible), the quicker we’ll start to see and experience all these divine benefits in our lives. 

Body, Soul, and Spirit – Part II

[NOTE: The below commentary discusses the diverse viewpoints about whether “soul and spirit” are separate parts or one of the same. This commentary was obtained from with permission.]
Genesis 1:26-27 indicates that God created mankind distinct from all the other creatures. Scripture clearly teaches that man is intended to experience intimate relationship with God, and, therefore, He created us as a unity of both material (physical) and immaterial (spiritual) aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Matthew 10:28, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 4:16; 7:1, James 2:26). The material component of humans is obviously that which is tangible and temporal: the physical body. The immaterial aspects are intangible: soul, spirit, intellect, will, conscience, mind, emotions, etc. These exist unendingly beyond the lifespan of the physical body.
All human beings possess both material (physical) and immaterial (spiritual) characteristics. Each person has a physical body. However, the intangible, non-physical qualities of mankind are often debated. What does Scripture say about these? Genesis 2:7 states that man was created as a “living soul” (KJV). Numbers 16:22 names God as the “God of the spirits of all flesh” (ESV). Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” indicating that the heart (not the myocardium) is central to man’s will and emotions. In Acts 23:1 Paul refers to the conscience as that part of the mind that convicts us of right and wrong. Romans 12:2 speaks of the transformative power of a renewed mind. These verses, and numerous others, refer to the various aspects of the spiritual components of humanity. We are a unified combination of both material and immaterial qualities.
Somehow, the soul, spirit, emotions, conscience, will, and mind are connected and interrelated. Perhaps the soul-spirit is comprised of a combination of all the other immaterial human aspects. With this in mind, is humanity dichotomous (“cut in two”) or trichotomous (“cut in three”)? In other words, do we have two parts (body and soul-spirit), or do we have three parts (body, soul, and spirit)? It is impossible to be dogmatic. Theologians have differed over this issue for centuries, and there has never been a decisive orthodox declaration of which is true.
Those who believe Scripture teaches that man is a dichotomy see humans as comprised of two parts: a body and a spirit. There are two general views of this dichotomy. The first view is that man is a united body and spirit that together comprise a living soul. A human soul is the spirit and the body united as one personhood. This view is supported by Genesis 2:7; Numbers 9:13; Psalm 16:10; 97:10, and Jonah 4:8. This view emphasizes that the Hebrew word nephesh in these verses refers to an integrated (unified) soul, living being, life, or self—i.e., a unified person (soul) comprised of a body and spirit. It is noted that, when the Bible speaks of the ruach (“breath, wind, or spirit”) being separated from the body, the person is disintegrated (fractured)—dead (see Ecclesiastes 12:7; Psalm 104:29; 146:4).
The second dichotomic view is that the spirit and the soul are the same thing with two different names. This view emphasizes the fact that the words spirit and soul are often used interchangeably (Luke 1:46-47; Isaiah 26:9; Matthew 6:25; 10:28, 1 Corinthians 5:3,5) and should be understood as synonyms referring to the same spiritual reality within each person. Therefore, the dichotomous position holds that man is comprised of two parts. Man is either a body and spirit, which makes a soul, or a body and soul-spirit.
Those who believe Scripture teaches that man is a trichotomy see man as comprised of three distinct parts: body, soul, and spirit. They emphasize 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12, which seem to differentiate between spirit and soul. The dichotomist counters that, if 1 Thessalonians 5:23 teaches trichotomy, then, by the same hermeneutic, does Mark 12:30 teach tetrachotomy?
Is it important to conclusively decide between dichotomy and trichotomy? Perhaps not; however, a word of caution is appropriate. Some who hold the trichotomist view have erroneously taught that God can bypass our soul/intellect and communicate directly with our spirit; such teaching leads to irrational mysticism. Other churches have used the trichotomous position to teach the possibility of Christians being demon-possessed. Because they see the soul and spirit as two separate immaterial aspects within the Christian, they postulate that one can be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and the other can be possessed by demonic forces. This teaching is problematic in that there are no biblical references that those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit can be simultaneously possessed by demons.
Regardless of whether a Christian believes dichotomy or trichotomy best represents an accurate understanding of Scripture, we can all unitedly praise God with the psalmist: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

The $1 Million Dollar Question:

Will you go to Heaven when you die? Here’s a quick test:
Q. Have you ever told a lie?
Q. Have you ever stolen anything?
Q. Have you ever used God’s name in vain?
Q. Have you ever lusted over someone?
Q. Have you ever hated someone?

If you have done these things, God sees you as a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, an adulterer-at-heart, and a murderer-at-heart. And this is only 5 of God’s Ten Commandments (a/k/a “God’s Law”). And the Bible warns that on the Day of Judgment, God will punish you in a terrible place called Hell. But, there is “good news”! God is not willing that any should perish. Sinners broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid their fine by shedding His sinless blood on a cross ~2,000 years ago. This means that God can legally dismiss their case (and yours!): “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Then Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death. Today, repent (turn away from your sins), put your complete trust in Jesus, and confess Jesus as your Lord & Savior… and God will give you eternal life as a free gift.

The $1 Million Dollar Myth:

Contrary to popular belief, being a “good person”, doing “good deeds”, or being “religious” will not get you a ticket to heaven! Many people are hoping God will dismiss their sins because their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. They further hope that because God is “good” he will let them go unpunished and enter heaven. However, because God is “good” he must by nature punish sinners (i.e., God would not be a good judge if he let criminals go free). The Bible states: “There is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) The Bible also states: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) And finally, think about this, if your goodness could save you, Jesus would have died in vain (i.e., for no good reason). The Bible states: “I (Jesus) am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me. (John
14:6) Friends, please don’t “roll-the-dice” and gamble your eternal life on the life-threatening lie that being a “good person” will get you to heaven.

Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus:

Here is a prayer you can use to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior. It is a suggested prayer – the key is that you are speaking from your heart.
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me turn away from sin going forward. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus into my heart and I confess him as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for sending your Holy Spirit to help me obey you, and to do your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

Congratulations! And welcome to God’s family!


Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus:

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