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A friend (Jaddie) of mine asked me this question and I thought I share it with you all and get your biblical opinions on the matter. She asked the following:

 

"I have heard it said that we are comprised of 3 elements - a body, a soul, and a spirit.  the body part seems pretty straight forward, but what is the difference between the soul and spirt of a person.  this may be elementary to some, but I have not been given an answer that solidifies it in my mind." 

 

 

Anyone out there want to give this a stab?  what is the soul?  what is the spirit (of man).  how are they significant and to what end?

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Allow me to take a stab at it, not as a theologian.
The above concept of body,soul and spirit came from Apostle Paul's exhortation to the believers in Thessalonica(1Thes 5:23)
It is often used as 'mind body and spirit' If any thing goes wrong with any of these three we go to a physician or a surgeon for physical health problems, to a psychiatrist for mental health problems and spiritual problems we go to a priest or a pastor or a reverend for spiritual intervention or intercession. We can understand the physical part. When God created man out of clay he was a clay model with all functional parts which did not function until He breathed the breath of life and he became a living Soul. A living human being with a functional body with a mind and spirit. That is the original man(Adam). His mind was under the control of the spirit of God with the power of choice .The Spirit of God is the operating system just as the computer that rolls out of the assembly line comes equipped with the operating system which was 'the Disc Operating System' or DOS. Every human being comes out of his/her mother's womb with an operating system called DOS(Devil's Operating System). At the occasssion of the New Birth of which Jesus talked to Nicodemus the new person has DOS replaced by COS( Christ's Operating System) This is the spiritual part of us. Either we have the Devil's spirit controlling us or the Spirit of Christ controlling us. Apostle Paul's fervent prayer for Thessalonians and to each of us was and is that they/we be controlled by the COS so that the body, the mind- the seat of intelligence and emotion- and the spirit-the spiritual component be under the control of Jesus Christ. What we call as heart in spiritual terms is not the organ that pumps blood, it is the mind. Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus- Amen I hope I did not confuse you. Be Blessed and Be a Blessing--. Johnson Choppala
What i understand is that we do have a spirit, and the spirit is made Holy when we receive Christ. (reborn) Then one receives the grace of God as one grows in the Holy Spirit. (The old is past away behold you are a new creature) Being led in the Holy Spirit is simply knowing the mind and thoughts of God.
"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit,soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23
For everything God provides, Satan has a counterfeit. When we are born we are born with inherited tendencies to evil. We do not have to choose to be be 'bad' we only have to choose to be 'good'. that is the reason Jesus said 'there is none good but God" As Larry stated, the entrance of GOD into your life replaces the counterfeit with the genuine. All of us born with the evil spirit. If people consider us good, it is because we wear filters and they do not last and at times they wear out and evil pokes through. That is the reason you say "oops. I did not mean to do that or say that". Simply because you say " I believe in God does not translate into the kind of belief Jesus talked about. Recieving the Holy spirit has a pre-requisite. Jesus told his disciples "deny thyself and follow me" Denying self is the most difficult thing you have to achieve. Every thing about us is controlled by self. To deny is to render it absent. In essence it is the removal of the Devils Operating System at which time the whole system is OFF. It has to be replaced by COS( Christ's Operating system). Then you begin to live a NEW Life in Christ Jesus. That experience is the most difficult thing you will ever encounter in your spiritual journey. TRY IT and you will agree with me. One discovers that everything we do is controlled by SELF.. We are not saved by what we do. It is not 'doing good' but 'being good' that is the mark of changed lives. We can do good without being good.if we wear 'filters'.

We are either controlled by the EVIL spirit or by the HOLY SPIRIT. If we want to continue living as we are, we need do nothing. If we want NEW LIFE we need to choose the HOLY SPIRIT to control us. Then we must make room for the Holy Spirit by denying 'SELF'. that is death to the 'old person' so that you can live as NEW PERSON in 'Christ Jesus. This provision is paid for by the atoning sacrifice of our Lord. Praise and Honor be to HIM. Be Blessed!
I truly enjoyed reading this Johnson. Thank you for sharing bro.
A simple question with very complex answers. I have analyzed the topic for many years and read variations of basically the same elements/attributes being assigned to the soul and spirit of man. Is the Soul and Spirit one and the same with different responsibilities or are the soul and spirit individual components with distinctive attributes

I am more incline to believe that the words are interchangeable, consequently being one multifaceted component. Let me give it a stab here and try to explain.
Each of us consists of a material body driven by an immaterial personal self. The real David, the essence of myself is not the flesh, which Paul calls a tent, a temple etc. The real me is the spirit/soul. Scripture calls this self a "soul" or "spirit."

1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:12 (New King James Version)
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

In the past I have use these verses to support that we are a trichotomy, but I am not sure that to be the case now. I see the power of God's word to enter the deepest recesses of a person's being, and not a sort of division into constituent parts. Do you see what I am trying to say? The word is able to make a distinction of the different attributes of one component per say and not emphasizing the separateness of the two.

I am very aware the verses above would make one think that body, soul and spirit are separate components but bear with me. I believe the spirit and soul are used as synonyms in the bible. I know that when the terms are placed together as in the verses above, it is difficult to find any significant difference in meaning. I mean compare the fourfold representation of heart, soul, mind, and strength found in Mark 12:30.

Soul emphasizes the distinctness of a person’s conscious selfhood; spirit carries the distinctions of self’s derivation/source from God and dependence on Him, within one component needing multiple descriptions. Not sure that makes sense to you, but I don’t know how else to describe it.

Now, we are both Soul and Spirit, but that does not imply that they are two different things. The common idea that the soul is a component of the worldly awareness (through the senses) only, while the spirit is a distinct organ of communion with God, brought to life in regeneration, is not something I see clearly establish in scripture.

Here is why I believe soul and spirit to be one:

If I believe that soul and spirit are separate then that view leads one to anti-intellectualism whereby spiritual insight and theological reflection are separated to the crippling of both. – theology being regarded as “soulfish work” and unspiritual, while spiritual perception is viewed as unrelated to the work of teaching and learning God’s revealed truth.

Hope that makes some sense and I know I have not answered your question as to what components make up the soul and the spirit, but since I am inclined as to think of them together I see no distinction of such sort. I do see how the soul/spirit is multifaceted and perfectly intertwine. But I would not debate this fiiercly.
Reading what I typed, I see a need to explain my previous statement:

"in the past I have use these verses to support that we are a trichotomy"

I still believe we are three in one, but I was having difficulty explaining the overlap that occurs within these 3 entities.
Here is a food for thought:

The Bible uses two different words in the N.T. to describe two different parts of man. These words are "psuche" and "pneuma." The simple fact that there are two different words lend to our understanding of two different things.

Before I go on I want to say that there are some things that we cannot know fully in this life and this qualifies as one of those times. We may develop a base understanding on this topic, but will not grap it fully.

Often we make the mistake of trying to define these three parts as individual independant segments. Here is an example using part of a math formula:
Spirit = A
Soul = B
Body = C
Thus A+B+C=Whole Man

When we study Scripture we find that the answer is much more complex. Let's use another math style formula:
Spirit = A-B
Soul = B-C
Body = C-D
Thus (A-B)+(B-C)+(C-D)=Whole man

The point of this is that in Scripture instead of 3 single units we see 3 units that overlap and thus makes it even more difficult to distinguish between them. Using the last math formula we see that the spirit and soul do in fact connect and at times overlap which gives them an appearnce of being interchangable. Next we see that the soul overlaps with both the spirit and the flesh. Third we see that the body overlaps the soul. Notice in the formula that body and spirit never overlap and are buffered by the soul.

Can Scripture support this view?
Spirit and Soul:
- Difference: Hebrews 4:12 uses the two different words to describe soul and spirit. The same word is not used and thus implies two different things.
- Overlap: Worship - Soul glorifies and spirit rejoices in God as seen in Luke 1:46-47

Soul and Body:
- Difference: Both the body and soul can be destroyed as described in Matthew 10:28. Key point is that there are two parts.
- Overlap: Matthew 6:25 uses "psuche" in relation to what you will eat, drink or wear. These are physical things.

You find all three present in 1 Thes. 5:23 using three distinct words.

There are other parts that fit into this whole understanding. The heart and the mind come into play. The heart relates primarily to the spirit and the mind to the soul with some exceptions.

Lord Bless,
LT
You rock LT. I love this explanation which describes what i was trying to convey much better.

Thanks brosky.
You're welcome brother.

Lord Bless,
LT

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