What is the difference between Spirit and Soul?

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What is the difference between Spirit and Soul?

Post  LivingWaters on Sat 16 Feb 2008, 1:43 am

I would like to know, what is the difference between a spirit and a soul. I have read few articles on the internet and they all say that spirit and soul are same. Please could anyone explain if there is a difference or are they same and what are they called in original language?

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Re: What is the difference between Spirit and Soul?

Post  Waqar Daniel on Sat 16 Feb 2008, 8:29 pm

Flesh (body) and spirit are two forms of soul. There are many verses in the Bible that separate soul from spirit. Spirit and soul are not one as it is assumed by many but spirit is a form of soul.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7)

And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off among his people (Leviticus 20:6)

Therfore, in simple words soul means a being and a being has two forms, flesh and spirit.

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Re: What is the difference between Spirit and Soul

Post  Terry L Brown on Sun 17 Feb 2008, 9:02 pm

I realize that many (most?) people believe the spirit and the soul are the same thing. I will grant they have much in common, but they are not the same. The verse that speaks most directly to this is 1 Thessalonians 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” (NASU). The Greek words used here are as follows: spirit = pneuma (pneuma); soul = psuche (yuxh); body = soma (swma). This clearly teaches that man is a triune being. But this should not be surprising given the fact that man is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and God is a trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Another verse that directly addresses that a distinction exists between the spirit and soul of man is Hebrews 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” (NASU). This verse not only distinguishes between soul and spirit, but teaches that there needs to be a separation of the two, a separation achieved by the Word of God.

]So, what is the difference between the soul (psuche) and the spirit (pneuma)? The Bible tells us “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 (Hebrew: nepesh – soul)” (Genesis 2:7 NASU). Man is unique in all of creation in that God breathed life into him. Given the fact that God is Spirit (John 4:24) that which was imparted (breathed) to man at his creation was spirit. This is the “divine nature” spoken of in 2 Peter 1:4. Thus, it is the spirit within man that makes him “God-conscious”. It is this spirit, the divine nature that causes man to worship something, though due to the Fall (and the death of the human spirit in regards to fellowship with the Holy Spirit) what is most often worshiped are false gods. So, the spirit consists of our conscious, our intuition (being able to discern spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:15)), and our ability to commune with and worship the Father (John 4:24). (It should be noted that man can worship “God” with his soul, but such worship is unacceptable because the soul “speaks” from the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16) rather than a “broken and contrite spirit” (Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 66:2)).

When the inanimate form of clay created from the dust of the earth by God was animated by God’s Spirit man’s soul (Hebrew – nepesh; Greek – psuche) was formed. The word psuche (soul) is translated in the New Testament as soul, but also as “life” (e.g. Luke 9:24) and “minds” (Acts 14:2). Our personality is a reflection of our soul. It is what makes “us” “us” as individuals. The soul is what makes of “self-conscious”. It consists of our will, intellect, and emotions. It was created to be in subjection (submissive!) to our spirits. Thus, even Jesus said when in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39 NASU) He further said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19 NASU). Since this is true of Jesus Himself it is certainly true of us. Thus, Jesus tells His followers: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NASU). Jesus did not mean He or we are paralyzed or incapable of thinking and working or even worshiping God. What He meant is that unless our will, intelligence, or emotions were under the direction and control of our spirits as animated by the Holy Spirit nothing of spiritual life (and thus, of eternal value) could be accomplished. Man’s intellect (his earthly, soulish wisdom) is to give place to spiritual wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:20-27). Man’s selfish, soulish emotions are to be brought into subjection to the spirit (James 1:20).

The body, of course, makes us “worldly or materially-conscious”. The body interacts with this physical creation through our five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

There is much more that could be said about the spirit and soul (and body), but hopefully this has helped enlighten the subject if even just a little. It is an important subject, one I am in the preliminary stages of setting down into a possible book.

If anyone wants to study this further I would recommend the book “Soul & Spirit” by Jessie Penn-Lewis. (This book is likely out of print and may be difficult to find, but it is worth the hunt). Another book is Andrew Murray’s “The Spirit of Christ”.

Terry L Brown
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