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By Blessed Economist
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Spirit and Soul

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Soul and spirit seem to be different, but it is hard to understand how. The problem is that the Greek and Hebrew words for spirit both mean wind or breath, too.

  • Watchman Nee sliced and diced spirit and soul in his book the Spiritual Man. It was sort of interesting, but not really real.

  • The letter to the Hebrews says that word of God can divide between soul and spirit like a spiritual sword (Heb 4:12) but it does not explain how they are divided.

  • The Old Testament seems to use soul and spirit quite interchangeably at times (eg 1 Sam 1:15; Job 7:11. I have never been able to find a consistent pattern that makes sense.

  • The Greek word “psuche” is used for “life”. It can be the life that God breathed into Adam. It can also be used to describe the entire person. So I think that we have to be careful.

  • Jairus’s daughter is interesting, because most translations say her “spirit returned” when Jesus prayed for her. However, because the word pneuma means breath, Luke would must be saying that her “breath returned”.

  • Similarly with Jesus on the cross. Most transaltions say that “He gave up his spirit”.The gospel writers might be just saying that Jesus “stopped his efforts to breath”, which is the most difficult thing when you are on a cross. Giving up breathing would quickly end his life.


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