What is the Difference between the Spirit and Soul

2 Jun

by Dr. Jonathan Doctor, Th.M, Ph.D.

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.Hebrews 4:12

 What is a joint made of? Bone. The Word of God can divide between the bone and the marrow. I like the way the Norlie translation puts it: “The Word of God pen­etrates deeply, making a distinction between the bone and the marrow.”

How many of you knew that bone and marrow were two different things? In the same way, the spirit and soul are different. For the Word of God divides or makes a distinction between the soul and the spirit. How does the Word of God divide the soul and the spirit but by explain­ing the difference between the soul and the spirit? We are a spirit being, we have a soul, and we live in a body.

The Soul Has Three Parts

1. The mind

2. The will

3. The emotions

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

1 Corinthians 14:14

The Amplified Bible says it this way: “For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit by the help of the Holy Spirit within me prays, but my mind is unproductive.”

 When I pray in my heavenly prayer language, my spirit is active and involved, but my mind is unproductive.

We can see there is a difference between my spirit and my mind. If the mind is not part of the spirit, and it’s definitely not part of the body, then what is it part of? The mind is part of the soul. We can prove very easily that the mind and the human spirit are two different things. Can you drive through five o’clock rush hour traffic and do this calculation at the same time? Add five plus seven plus six plus twenty-one, divide by three, times four, and then add seventeen. If you tried that, you would overextend the ability of the mind. Yet you can drive through five o’clock rush hour traffic and pray in tongues at the same time.

Why is that? When I pray in tongues, it is my spirit that prays, not my mind. Now look at 1 Corinthians 14:2: “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God.” Remember when I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying. Therefore, is it my spirit or my mind that talks to God? We can see I talk to God with my spirit, and God talks to me in my spirit. If I speak to God in English, that is with my soul; does God hear me? Yes, He does. But I must listen with my spirit.

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”John 7:37–38

In John 7:38 is the word heart. It is not talking about the physical blood pump? The word heart in the Greek is koilia, pronounced koy-lee-ah. This Greek word can be translated into English as hollow, a cavity, heart, belly, and womb.

I am sure we all agree these different explanations describe the deepest center of man’s being, which is the core of the spirit.

Jesus said that from the heart or the spirit of man will come forth rivers of living water. How does this happen? The answer is found in verse 39: “But Jesus spoke con­cerning the spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive, for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” Jesus is saying that the believer will

receive the Holy Spirit, and then the thirst of his heart will be satisfied. I know many Christians who are born again and who are filled with the Spirit, yet they are con­tinually thirsty. They are continually depressed and sad.

Why is this? Answer: They are not drinking living water.

How do we drink living water from the Holy Spirit within us?

By praying in other tongues and by singing in other tongues. Paul was saying the same thing in 1 Corinthians 14:4: “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.”

Jude said the same thing in verse 20: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.”

Paul said the same thing in Ephesians 3:16. “Be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” The word might is dunamis in the Greek, which means power in action.

Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink living water.”

Now let’s see if we can understand the different expe­riences of the Spirit man, the mind, and the body.

If I spend time worshiping God in other tongues, I will experience an inward satisfying. If I sit and listen to the preached Word of God or read the Bible, I will experience an inward satisfying. Is this inward, satisfying experience taking place in my spirit, my mind, or my body? Answer: my spirit.

Let’s experience the body. Take your right hand and put it on your left shoulder. You can feel your hand on your shoulder. Now remember this: The language of the body is feeling.

Let’s locate the mind. Add up the following figures in your mind. Two plus two plus five plus seven is what? The answer is sixteen. Now remember this: “The voice of my mind is reason.”

Now how many of you can tell the difference between a spiritual experience, a mental experience, and a physi­cal experience? Remember that spiritual experience is that deep inward satisfying.

Now remember this: Your spirit is in contact with the spiritual realm. Your soul is in contact with the mental and emotional realm. Your body is in contact with the physical realm. I live in three dimensions.

Christians are suffering from so many problems today because they do not know how to hear God’s voice. Every Christian has a scriptural right to know the voice of God. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep know My voice.”

Let’s look at a portion of scripture to further prove the difference in the spiritual and the natural realms.

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assur­edly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and

the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’.” John 3:1–7

Notice the following from this portion of Scripture:

1. Nicodemus thought Jesus was talking about physi­cal birth.

2. Jesus is talking about spiritual birth, one who is born of water and the spirit. Water in verse 5 refers to the Word of God. (This can be confirmed in Ephesians 5:26 and 1 Peter 1:23).

3. The same way your body is plunged into water at baptism, our spirit is plunged into the Holy Spirit in the born again experience. ( Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrec­tion and the life.”)

Ephesians 2:1 says, “We were dead in our sins.” This means our spirit was cut off from the Spirit of God. When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, our spirit is birthed back into the Spirit of God. We are born again, born back into life for the second time.

 Now that you have a better grasp of the difference between the spiritual and the natural part of yourself, we can look a little deeper as to what to look for and recog­nize when listening for God’s guidance.

to continue on this study purchase and  read my book “BORN ANEW – Living the New Life with God’s Prevailing Purpose”


One Response to “What is the Difference between the Spirit and Soul”

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