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The Tripartite Nature of Man—Body, Soul And Spirit

Updated on July 17, 2022
Ernest Festus profile image

I have been searching for the truth behind our composition as human beings. And here I am, fully satisfied with the results of my research.

The Fundamental Truth

'Man' is a tripartite being. He is a three-part being consisting of body, soul and spirit. Understanding this definitely has a tremendous impact on our lives—our spiritual growth and dealings as Christians. Now, this reality is found in no other book than the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 says that, "The word of God is living and active, shaper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." This passage of scripture directly proves those who think that there is no distinction between the soul and the spirit wrong. It (the Bible) brings out a clear distinction between the two. And it's only the word of God that has such power. Isn't it so amazing?

Let's us therefore have an exposition on the three compositions of man.

May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

— I Thessalonians 5:23

1. The Body

The body is called Soma in Greek and it's the outermost part of the human being. It's the physical structure we see when we look into a mirror. It is basically consisting of the five natural senses:

  • Touch
  • Feel
  • Smell
  • See
  • Taste

These are the limits of the body. It needs things such as food, shelter, clothing, temperature regulation, sex, breath, etc to really stand and survive.

2. The Soul

The soul is called Psyche in Greek and it is the outer man. It's with the soul that communication usually takes place. It houses most of the features of the natural man. The soul is the essence of a person. It's the real you. It consists of the following:

  • Self—identity and personality
  • Emotions—Feelings and passions
  • Intellect—mind, mental faculty
  • Will
  • Conscience—it is the dwelling place of evil and good. It is what helps to differentiate an act which is wrong from that which is right.

All these are found within the soul of man. It directly or indirectly connects with the body. For instance, when someone beats you or uses abusive words on you, you feel pains (a bodily experience) and then anger, sadness or even crying follows ( the soul level). The basis is that the moment you are born into this world, you operate within the confines of the body and the soul. And many times we think that's what life is all about. But there's certainly more to life than just existing

The truth is that man is a spirit. He has a soul, and lives in a physical body.

— Ernest Festus A.

3. The Spirit

The spirit is called Pneuma in Greek and it is the inner man. As said earlier, a naturally born man operates only with the confines of the body and the soul. Man is born spiritually dead. This is because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when God told them not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that they shall die on the day they shall do so. They ate it through the deception of the father of lies, and they did die—spiritually. So the spirit becomes alive only after a person is really born again. In other words, when you become born again, it is your spirit that is rebirthed. The soul is born again by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2). Now, the spirit is the vital principal by which the body is animated.

At the spirit level, the following are possible:

  • Spiritual discernment- I Corinthians 2:14 explains it better. This is why some people cannot understand Christians because understanding Christianity demands spiritual discernment.
  • Revelation- God reveals secrets and mysteries to us only through the spirit. That's why the apostle Paul prays for believers to have the spirit of revelation (Ephesians 1:17).
  • Peace–This peace is not the worldly peace we know of but deep inner feeling of peace and freedom. This peace transcends all human understanding. Romans 8: 6 explains it better.
  • Communion with God– God is a spirit and so He only speaks to us through the spirit. The same way God hears us when talk to him in the spirit by praying in unknown tongues.
  • The spirit is also where true ministry occurs. Acts 1:8 says, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you shall be witnesses to me in all Judea and Samaria and in the ends of the earth." When you minister the word of God in the light of the spirit, a life transforming power emanates from the word unto the hearers. This is what differentiates powerful preachers from powerless preachers. The former preach from the spirit level and the latter preach from the soul level.

The word of God can take us far to places beyond our imagination
The word of God can take us far to places beyond our imagination

This is basically what man looks like

© 2020 Ernest Festus Awudey


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