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Is Man 2 Parts or 3?

Body and Soul

Let's briefly consider the meaning of the words used in Scripture.

Greek is soma which always stands for the physical body. There is little or no disagreement on the meaning of this term. The term "flesh" (Greek sarz) is used in Scripture to designate the physical body (Gen 2:21; 41:2) or the sinful element of man as opposed to the spirit nature (Rom 6:19). However, flesh is also used as the term to designate the human nature of Christ (John 1:14).

Hebrew word is nephesh [sometimes nepes]. It occurs 753 in the Old Testament. It is used to mean soul, life being, life, self, person, desire, appetite, emotion, and passion.
Most accept its primary meaning as being to "possess life," being taken from Gen 2:7.
The Hebrew is used frequently of animals (i.e., Gen 1:20, 24, 30; 9:12; Ezek 47:9)
The numerous uses of the word show it as applying to the life-principle or breath (Exod 23:17; Lev 17:11).
‘For the life [nephesh] of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls [nephesh]; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.'

It is used as the:

  • Seat of the physical appetite (Nu 21:5; Deut 12:15, Ps 78:18; 107:18)
  • Source of emotion (Ps 86:4; 107:26; Song of Sol 1:7; Isa 1:14)
  • Will and moral action (Gen 49:6; Deut 4:29; Job 7:15; Ps 24:4; 119:129)

Nephesh is also used to represent the whole person (Gen 2:7; 27:25; Jer 3:11).

Greek psuche is the corresponding term in the New Testament (Matt 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 17:33; 21:19; John 12:25). It is used to represent life, soul, or the natural or physical (psuchikos).

Paul uses it 12 times to represent:

  • Life (Rom 11:3; 16:4; 1 Cor 15:45; 2 Cor 1:23; Phil 2:30; 1 Thess 2:8)
  • Himself (Rom 11:3; 13:1)
  • Desire (Eph 6:6; Phil 1:27; Col 3:23)
  • Emotion (1 Thess 5:23)

Other writers appear to apply a "higher" meaning to psuche. James and Peter both seem to use soul as the seat and center of life that transcends the earthly (James 1:21; 5:20).
James 1:21
Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

1 Peter 2:11
Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

The outcome of faith is the salvation of the psuche (Heb 10:29; 1 Pet 1:10).
Hope anchors the psuche (Heb 6:19).

Psuche is used with regards to the martyrs seen below the altar (Rev 6:9).




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December 8, 2021

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