I used to think that the “spirit and soul” of a person was one and the same… but are they truly the same thing? I Thessalonians 5:23 informs us that we are “spirit, soul, and body” – three parts to our being…. and in line with that.. we see in Hebrews 4:12 that the soul and the spirit are two different parts of our being – and – can be separated to distinguish between the two…
The spirit and the soul of a man are indeed two separate parts….For the soul of a man is “home to his mind or intellect, plus his will and his emotions….. The spirit is the part of a person in which the spiritual rebirth takes place when he or she chooses to receive Jesus as their Savior… In John 3:1-8 Jesus attempts to explain being “born again”.. telling us in verses 5 -7 ..that.. “except a man be born of water and the spirit – he or she cannot enter into the Kingdom of God… (Because) “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.. and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit… Therefore I say unto you … you must be born again.”
(This spiritual rebirth is necessary for man to be in right relationship with God again – because when Adam partook of the forbidden tree in the Garden, he did not die physically but spiritually. You may read in more detail about this in Romans 5:12-21).
My purpose in writing this is not to “split hairs” – but to share what helped me tremendously once I saw and understood..that.. indeed there is a difference between the soul and the spirit… As I mentioned earlier, I Thessalonians 5:23 informs us that – as an individual – you and I are spirit, soul, and body… That’s three different “parts” to our being… The “body” we can see and comprehend.. But many people wrestle with understanding the difference between the “soul” and the “spirit” of a man….
What IS the difference between the spirit and the soul?….
- With my body… I contact the natural/physical realm.
- With my spirit… I contact the spiritual realm…. John 4:24 tells us that “God is a Spirit”… and that “true worshippers will worship Him “in spirit and in truth”… He seeks those to worship Him.. who have been born of the Spirit/aka born again (or “saved” as some prefer to say).. Being Himself.. a Spirit .. God seeks this Spirit to spirit relationship..
- With my soul… I contact the emotional and intellectual realm – and relate to them in conjunction with my 5 physical senses… i.e. what I see, hear, feel, smell, and can touch.
As Proverbs 20:27 tells us.. “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord”… and in I Corinthians 2:9-14… we see clearly this Spirit to spirit relationship which God designed to use to reveal things to us by His Spirit…. It is necessary that our spirit first be born again as Jesus said in John 3:1-8 …. because as verse 14 in I Corinthians 2.. says.. “The natural man (referring to our mind/soul) – receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.. for those things are foolishness unto him… neither can he (the natural man) know them because they are SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED”…
Though we “walk in the flesh”… we began our relationship with Him in the spirit (Galatians 3:2,3)… It is a Spirit to spirit relationship… And because God designed it that way.. you and I should not ignore those verses in His word that speak of spiritual things….
More to come in Part 2 about distinguishing the soul from the spirit of man.