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1 Thes.5:23, Man A Trinity (Spirit, Soul, Body)

The Christian doctrine of immortality cannot be understood unless we rightly understand the triune nature of humans. Many think that man is just a physical being . . . a body. There is a danger if we think this way. In his desire to satisfy the needs of the body there is the tendency on man’s part to lose sight of the fact that he is immortal, eternal. There have been persons who have lived all of their lives either in ignorance or willful neglect of a life after death, but upon their death-bed they suddenly realized that they were more than physical beings.

Another idea today is that man consists of only two component parts: body and spirit. I think this view creates confusion in the minds of Christians. True, soul and spirit are very closely related . . . BUT soul and spirit are NOT the same. The Bible does make a distinction.

Man is a triune (3 part) being because he is created in the image of God. “God said, Let us make man in Our image” (Gen.1:26-27). The Bible clearly tells us that God is a Trinity. The Holy Trinity is clearly set forth in the Apostle Paul’s benediction that closes his Second Corinthian Letter: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor.13:14).

And, our Lord Jesus Himself said, in what we call “The Great Commission”:Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost(Mat.28:19). We ARE created in the image of God, and that being so . . . we also are a trinity. We have a spiritual nature that is separate and different from the body in which it dwells.

The following two Passages clearly establish the fact that man is a triune being composed of spirit, soul, and body.

1 Thes.5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV)

Heb.4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (KJV)

The false teaching of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” and other cults say that “man has no soul,” BUT the Bible definitely states that man was created a trinity: spirit, soul, and body . . . just as the eternal God Himself is a trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The trinity of man is a necessary part of the image relationship between him and God. Life is NOT just physical and the body is NOT the whole person. Our body is NOT our whole being, neither is our soul in itself, or our spirit in itself. To make up the whole human being, we are “spirit and soul and body.” We must understand this if we are to comprehend the subject of life after death.

The Spirit

The word “spirit” when used in the Scriptures has several meanings. Whenever the word “Spirit” appears used with a capital letter, it can only mean one thing . . . that being it is the name of the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of God. The word “spirit” spelled with a small letter may have one of several different meanings. It can have direct reference to the spirit of man which is as much a part of the triune nature of man as the Spirit of the living God is a Person of the Holy Trinity. Or it can indicate an evil spirit such as any agent of the devil. In this article, I will stay with the Biblical usage of the word only as it relates to the spirit of man, one of the three parts of his being.

Our BODY has 5 senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch.
Our SOUL also has 5 senses: imagination, conscience, memory, reason and affection.
And our SPIRIT too has 5 senses and receives things through our soul: faith, hope, reverence, prayer and worship.

The spirit of man was enlightened from Heaven, but when Adam disobeyed God, sin stepped in and the spirit of man became a spirit of error and evil in every unregenerate heart (unbelievers). It remains that way until the life giving power of the Holy Spirit regenerates us with life and light giving us power in our new life in Christ Jesus. Our spirit is what makes us aware of God. It is the inner part of us where the work of regeneration takes place. The Holy Spirit of God does His work there in our spirit. 1 Cor.2:9-11 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (KJV)

In our unregenerate state, we CANNOT know the things of God! Knowing God can come only when the Spirit of God is permitted to work in our life. Our human spirit is limited "to the things of man" (the world). This spirit is ignorant of the things of God. We are NOT able to know them.

1 Cor.2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV)

Our human spirit needs “the spark of regeneration” before there is any understanding of the things of God. Our spiritual nature MUST be renewed before there is a true start of Godliness. One small thing stands blocking the door of our spirit, and that is our own will. But when we surrender our will, and open the door to our heart (Rev.3:20), the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our spirit. When this takes place . . . we will know it!

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (KJV)

Unless we totally yield our will to the Spirit of God, our unregenerate (evil) spirit CANNOT be renewed . . . and the deep things of God will NEVER be understood. NO religion, NO church activity can ever change the spirit of the unregenerate man.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. (KJV) Our spirit is given understanding. Some say that the spirit of man is the air that he breathes, and that man’s body is all there is to his personality. Not according to Job! Our spirit is our personality and it is what makes us different from the animal creation. If “spirit” merely meant “breath,” God certainly would not deal with it as a personality. He is called “The God of the spirits of all flesh” (Num.16:22), and “the Father of spirits” (Heb.12:9). It is by only by our spirit that we serve and worship God.

The Soul

Man has a living soul and IS a living soul. The Bible says: Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (KJV)

The spirit of man is the hub of activity where the Holy Spirit does His work of regeneration. The soul of man is the hub of activity where Satan operates (does his dirty work), desperately attempting to get control of our affections and emotions. Satan knows that he dominates the the soul of man. So . . . he does not care if a person goes to a church where the Spirit of God is not active. He knows that his victim is a creature of emotions, and it matters not if the emotions are stirred even to tears . . . just as long as man’s spirit does not come in contact with God’s Holy Spirit. I think that Satan would rather have person go to one of the many modern day emergent churches where heresies are taught, that to a house of prostitution. The soul is the seat of our passions, our feelings, and our desires . . . and Satan is well pleased if he can master these.

Genesis 34:8 And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. (KJV)

1 Samuel 18:1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (KJV)

2 Samuel 5:8 And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. (KJV) It is in the soul where fleshly lusts, desires, and appetites arise.

1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; (KJV)

Proverbs 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (KJV)

Isaiah 29:8 It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion. (KJV)

Our soul is our affections and desires, and we NEVER direct them in God's direction UNTIL our spirit has become regenerated by the Holy Spirit. We can NEVER love God or the things of God until we are born from above (John 1:12-13; 3:3-8). We can have a troubled conscience or be emotional to the point of weeping bitterly . . . BUT. . . we are still dead in trespasses and sins. Our desires and affections are turned toward God ONLY when we realize how sinful we are and that we NEED God’s grace to save us (Eph.2:8-9). When the Spirit of God illuminates the spirit of a man with divine light and life, that man begins to yield his affections and faculties to God.
The wonderful Virgin Mary said; “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47). She could NEVER have praised the Lord in her soul until she had recognized God in her spirit as her Saviour.

Psalm 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (KJV)

So . . . what is the difference between the spirit and the soul?

Spirit refers only to the immaterial side of man. Mankind has a spirit, but we are NOT a spirit like God the Father (John 4:24). But, in Scripture only believers, those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, are said to be "spiritually alive" (1 Cor.2:11; Heb.4:12; Jam.2:26). Unbelievers are "spiritually dead" (Eph.2:1-5; Col.2:13). The spirit is the hub of the spiritual life of the believer (1 Cor.2:14; 3:1; 15:45: Eph.1:3; 5:9; Col.1:9; 3:16). The spirit is what gives man the ability to have an intimate relationship with God. Whenever the word spirit is used, it refers to the immaterial part of man including his soul.

The word soul refers not only to the immaterial part of man but also a material part. Man has a spirit, but man IS a soul. Soul literally means life. The soul is eternal (like God). The soul is the area that reveals man's willingness to sin. Man, from birth is naturally evil (Ps.58:3), and his soul is tainted as a result. Soul can refer to the whole person, alive or after death. The spirit refers to man's walk with God. The soul refers to man's walk in the world, both material and immaterial.

1 Thes. 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV) To me, this verse speaks of the entire person . . . spirit, soul and body. This reveals man’s trinity. We are made in the image of our triune God (Gen.1:26-27). We have a capacity to think, to feel and to know God. It is difficult for me to try to separate spirit and soul.

The very God = only the God of peace Himself; can do for us by His power what we cannot do by all our strength or efforts (Rom.16:20; Heb.13:20), namely, keep us from all evil, and give us all that is good.
Sanctify you = holiness is the necessary condition of peace (Phil. 4:6-9). Sanctify = make holy, purify or consecrate; to hallow, be holy, set apart for God. ONLY Jesus can sanctify us!
Wholly = Jesus Christ make us perfect in every respect: the spirit and soul and body . . . preserving the TOTAL person.
Whole = entire being, is different from wholly. Our spirit links us with God. It is the highest part of man which is receptive to the quickening Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 15:47). In the unspiritual (unbelievers), they have not the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:14; 1 Cor. 15:44; 1 Cor. 15:46-48; John 3:6). The unbeliever shall rise with a soul-animated body, but not like the believer with a spiritual body like Christ's (Rom.8:11).
Blameless = to be found in a blameless state at the coming of Christ. Each entire individual with spirit, soul, and body. The mention of the preservation of the body harmonizes with the subject (1 Thes. 4:16).

Another verse stating that we have a soul and a spirit, making us a 'trinity'.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (KJV)

Genesis 1:26-27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (KJV)

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. (KJV)

Ecc. 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. (KJV)

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: [13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (KJV)

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (KJV)

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (KJV)

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (KJV)

Romans 5:16-18 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. [17] For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (KJV)

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (KJV)

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (KJV)

1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV)

1 Cor. 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (KJV)

1 Cor. 15:46-48 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. [47] The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. [48] As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. (KJV)

Eph. 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (KJV)

Col. 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: (KJV)

1 John 2:13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. (KJV)

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (KJV)

1 John 4:4-6 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. [5] They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. [6] We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (KJV)

Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (KJV)

As I consider the above Passages, it is clear to me that we ALL have an ETERNAL soul . . . and this is BOTH believers and unbelievers. BUT, the spirit within these differs tremendously. We are BORN with a spirit to do wrong (Ps.58:3) to sin, a spirit of error (1 John 4:6) because of Adam and Eve’s sin (Rom.5:12) . . . thus it is an evil spirit. We ALL belong to the devil’s family (1 John 3:10) UNTIL we open our heart’s door to Jesus (Rev.3:20; John 1:12-13; 3:3). Only then do we then possess a spirit of truth (1 John 4:6), because God gives us of His Spirit (Rom.8:9; 1 Cor. 2:14; 15:44). IF a person is not born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:3-8), the spirit of error within them leads in all WRONG directions because they are led by the devil. IF we do not have God's Spirit dwelling within us; we are NOT God’s children (Rom.8:9). When God's Spirit lives in us and leads us, we are under the control of our spiritual nature, not our corrupt nature.

I recently received an email from a friend. It explains our two natures quite well.


One day an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

One is evil. It is anger, arrogance, blasphemy, ego, false pride, greed, guilt, hatred, jealousy, lies, malice, regret, resentment, sorrow and superiority.

The other is good. It is love, faith, joy, peace, hope, gentleness, goodness, humility, kindness, compassion, benevolence, mercy, forgiveness, patience and self control."

The grandson thought about it for a minute, then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf wins?"

The wise old Indian answered, "The one that you feed."

We must be very careful which wolf we feed!

Difficult or Confusing Bible Verses

1 Cor.3:13-15, What Motivates Us?

1 Cor.chapter 5, Should the Church Judge?

1 John 3:9, God's Child Cannot Sin . . . ???

1 John 5:4-5, Overcoming By Faith

1 John 5:16 . . . A Sin Unto Death???

1 John 5:18-20, Those Born of God Sinneth Not

1 Thes.5:23, Man's Trinity

2 Cor.2:14-17, Savour of Death, Savour of Life?

2 Thes.2:10-12, Those Left Behind

Col.3:12-17, How Believers Are To Live

Daniel 7:13-14, Christ in His Glory

Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel's 70 Weeks

Ecclesiastes 9:5-10, NO Soul Sleep

Genesis 3:15, Seed of the Woman

Genesis 6:1-2, Sons of God

Hebrews 6:4-9, Can a TRUE Christian Fall from Grace?

Hebrews 10:26, Do NOT Reject Christ!

Isaiah 53:4-5, By His Stripes We Are Healed!

John 6:47-58, Eating the Flesh and Blood of Jesus

John 15:1-6, Unfruitful Branches Burned?

Mark 3:28-29, The Unpardonable Sin?

Matthew Chapter 13, Mystery Parables of Jesus

Matthew 16:19, Keys to Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 5:48, Being Perfect?

Matthew 7:21-23, Not Every One Goes to Heaven

Matthew 7:6, Cast Not Your Pearls before Swine!

* * * * Matthew 22:36-40, Believers' TWO Commandments * * * *

Matthew 23:13-30, Woes of Hypocrites

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