Spirit, Soul and Body – 30 Bible Study Series

Shyju Mathew

"Experience the Word of God, in the power of the Spirit."

January 16, 2012

This entry is part 6 of 30 in the series Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics

Welcome to “Featured Bible Study: 30 Christian Basics.” To see all the authors and titles in the series and to suggest a topic, please go here. Subscribe today to receive the ebook on this series. 

Now that we have acquired a better understanding of the person of God during the first segment of this series, our study will focus on how we were created by God; separated by sin; and saved by His grace.

Created in His Image

Humanity came into existence when 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:26, 27). God created man in His image and likeness.

But have you ever wondered what it means to be created in God’s likeness? Does it mean that we are all tiny god entities like the pantheists believe? Or does it mean that God has a physical body with two hands, two feet and other characteristics as humans do?

Man was created on the sixth day of “Creation Week”. It was on the same day that God created animals and reptiles too. And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds– livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so (Gen. 1:24). Or in other words, the living creatures were formed of earth! This means to say that God used the same raw material for both humans and the animals.So then, how was man any different from the animals? It lies in the fact that God didn’t finish with man until He breathed life into him. “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” (Gen. 2:7). God had breathed His Spirit into man. And it was at that moment that man became a living being!Now God is a Spirit, (John 4:24). Since we are made in His image and likeness, we are also spirits. We have a soul and we live in a body!

Our Body

Although we are spiritual beings, we live in a physical world. We need this body to be sensitive to the things of this physical world. It is our body that helps us to exist here in the physical world. It is our temporary home. And hence, anything we do with our bodies affects our spiritual lives as well. That is why the Bible says: “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1).Our body is prone to sin, and so our flesh fights the things of the Spirit. That is why – in Apostle Paul’s language – we will need the imperishable body: “Behold! I tell you a mystery… in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet… the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:51-53). This body will be like Jesus’ body after His resurrection that can allow us to, for instance, defy gravity and the laws of physics, and even travel millions of miles within a fraction of a second! (Now that’s some fun that sounds like it’s straight out of a sci-fi movie – imagine walking through closed doors, etc. – that would be quite an interesting experience!).

Our Soul

The soul of a human being consists of his/her emotions, will power, reasoning capabilities, intelligence, conscience, etc. — all of which stay in continuous stages of evolution, and mature on the basis of his family upbringing and the influence of friends, society, culture, and so on and so forth. The human mind, which is also a part of our soul, is a very important aspect of our life. A commandment in the Old Testament reads: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut 6:5). However, Jesus – when quoting the same commandment – added “the mind” to the list: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” (Mark 12:30), giving significance to loving God with our mind.

Our thinking and logical reasoning have to evolve and progress from the old “Adamic” style of thoughts into something refined and profound, like how Jesus would think (Rom. 12:2). I quote Shyju here, “A man is not greater than his thought life” because as a man thinks so he is (Prov. 23:7). The renewal of the mind comes with constantly meditating on the Word of God. We have to reach a place where we can confess as the Apostle Paul did that we also have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

The human heart is also a key aspect of our soul. That is where our emotions, our will power and our desires live. That is why the Bible says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23). The state of our heart determines our attitude towards life and people around us. That is why it is so important to guard our hearts. Our hearts can be hurt very easily, but it can’t be healed as easily without a touch from God.

Our Spirit

This is who we are! We are spirit beings! If our spirit is not alive, we are not alive either (Jam. 2:26). What happened in the Garden of Eden when sin entered humanity was the death of the human spirit.

And that is why each one of us needs to be born again. This birth is a spiritual birth. Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). We have to be born of the Spirit of God!

The only criterion to be “born of the Spirit” is to believe in Jesus. “If you confess with your mouth (body) that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart (soul) that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). The salvation, or in other words, the born-again experience is basically surrendering your body and your soul to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is at that moment that the Spirit of God gives birth to your spirit.

This human spirit which was breathed and birthed into us by the Spirit of God dictates our soul and our body as we learn to continually walk with God. It is in the absence of this spirit that evil spirits take over and control a person’s soul and mind, leading him into sin and bondage (Matt. 12:43-45).

Your spirit is your inner man. The more you feed your spirit, the stronger your inner man will be and the more your spirit will dictate terms to your soul and your body. Whatever you feed more will dictate terms for the other. For e.g., if you eat too much, your body will expect some relaxation, in turn overruling your mind’s schedule and your spirit’s leading. If you feed your mind with too much of television, it will start to rule over your body and your spirit! Since you are not a body or a soul, but a spirit, you should not allow anyone or anything to have control. Allow the Spirit of God to control your spirit

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”  – (1 Thess. 5:23).

What are some of the ways that we can strengthen our spirit; our inner man? Why is it important to the love the Lord with our mind? Do share below!

Next in the series: What is Sin?




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