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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

Soul, Spirit

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Man is composed of soul and body, though in certain cases the term 'spirit' is added. Both soul and spirit are put in contrast to the body, as signifying the incorporeal part of man; but there is a distinction between soul and spirit. Soul is often employed to express the moral undying part of man's being, and it is used sometimes to signify the person: as "all the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt," Genesis 46:26; "eight souls" were saved in the ark. 1 Peter 3:20 . "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Ezekiel 18:4,20 .

The Hebrew word commonly translated 'soul' is nephesh: in many instances this is translated 'life' in the A.V., as in Jonah 1:14; "Let us not perish for this man's life," or soul. In the N.T. the word ψυχή stands for both 'life' and 'soul:' "Whosoever will save his 'life' shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his 'life' for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own 'soul'? or what shall a man give in exchange for his 'soul'?" Matthew 16:25,26 .

The soul, as distinguished from the spirit, is the seat of appetites and desires. The rich man said, "I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." Luke 12:19 . That night his 'soul' was required of him. The salvation of the soul cannot be distinguished from the salvation of the person.

The SPIRITis distinctively the higher part of man, it marks the conscious individuality, and distinguishes man thus from the inferior creation. God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life, and by this man was set in relation with God, and cannot be really happy separated from Him, either in present existence or eternally. The words are ruach, πνεῦμα,and are the same as constantly used for God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, and for the angels as spirits, and for evil spirits.

The word of God is sharp, and able to divide asunder the soul and spirit of a man, though it may not be easy for the human mind to see the division. The apostle prayed for the Thessalonians that spirit (which is probably viewed as the seat of God's work), as well as soul and body might be sanctified. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 . In the Epistle to the Hebrews we read of the 'spirits' of just men made perfect: their place is with God through redemption. Here 'spirits' apparently signifies the persons apart from their bodies.

The Holy Spirit being given to the Christian, as the spring in him of life in Christ, he is exhorted to pray with the spirit, sing with the spirit, walk in the Spirit, so that in some cases it is difficult to distinguish between the Spirit of God and the Christian's spirit.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Soul, Spirit'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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