I did a Bible study this week on the spirit and soul. I may be wrong, but wanted to share my findings with you all.
What are the differences between our spirits and souls? The Bible mentions both, sometimes interchangeably but are they the same? When God breathed into the first man Adam, the bible says he became a living soul. When Jesus was dying on the cross the last thing He said was “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.
The word soul has two distinct meanings in the Bible. The first one is what makes a human body alive or "life" itself: in Mark 8:36-37: "For whoever desires to save his life (soul) will lose it," Jesus declared, "but whoever loses his life (soul) for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?"
The second meaning of the word soul seems to refer to our inner life, our emotions, and the human personality. When God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed life into him, he became more than just physical life. Genesis 2:7 says that man became a "living soul," or a person, a human being, one distinct from the animals.
The soul is the place of our emotions and desires: the desire for love and acceptance…feelings of joy or depression, and our knowledge and memory. It is also the seat of our self-will and minds. It is our personality or personhood - the part of us that makes us unique. It may also be the part of us the Bible calls ‘the flesh.’
The word spirit is used in three different aspects in the Bible. The first one speaks of the spirit of human beings:
Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
Galatians 6:18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
These scriptures refer to the spiritual aspect of humans. This is made clear when Jesus said in Matthew 8:22: But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and leave the dead (in sin) to bury their own dead." Then in John 4:24 He says “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” It is our spirit that allows us to relate to God…our spirit is where faith lives. A person is considered spiritually dead if he’s not born again by God.
The second meaning refers to good and evil spirits, those not being human.
Psalm 104:4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire. Angels are called spirits throughout the Bible. But man does not possess the nature of angels, nor does the Bible indicate that he assumes it at death.
Then, Mark 9:25 says: When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
Thirdly, the word spirit also refers to God's Spirit.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
What happens to our spirits when we die? Ecclesiastes 12:7 says “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” God gives us our spirit and it returns to Him at death, if we are saved. But if we are not saved where does it go? The Bible says the spirit is dead if not regenerated by God in life, so one would think an un-regenerated spirit remains dead when the body dies. But, I am hesitant to make that assumption because I don’t believe we can know – in this life.
What about our souls? Jesus said in Mathew 10:28: 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.
Our souls seem to be who we are of ourselves…the ‘natural’ man but our spirits are who we are in Christ...the ‘spiritual’ man. It’s our spiritual man who recognizes Jesus Christ as The Savior when His Holy Spirit calls us. The Holy Spirit draws the spirit inside us, and our souls are saved by Christ to live forever with Him.
The bible tells us in Roman 12: 2 to “renew our minds.” Our minds seem to be the essence of our soul. We are only able to renew our mind with God’s word and through prayer, with His Spirit communicating with ours.
So, is there a difference? I believe there is. If our soul is our flesh and our spirit is filled with spiritual things of God, then do you see where the war within us lies? In Matthew 26:41 Jesus told the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane to “Watch and pray…that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” The spirit must quench temptations from the flesh (or soul). But we can’t do that alone, we need God’s Spirit continually communing with ours. Thanks for reading. God Bless.