Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
The Bible teaches that humans are made of three parts: body, soul, and spirit. The Bible makes it clear that human beings are distinct from the rest of God's creation in that they are made in the image of God.
God is tripartite. That simply means the same as the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. A human is also tripartite with three parts: body, soul, and spirit,
"May your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus" (I Thessalonians 5:23).
Let's examine all three parts of a person, but know that some scriptures list the three parts in different orders. In this article, the parts are explained in this order: body, soul, and spirit. The writer starts with something that is most familiar and easier to understand before moving on to the more complex explanations.
The body is the outermost part or physical part of a human being. Most people have no problem identifying and understanding the body because the body can be seen and touched. The exterior of a person is the only visible part of man that can be seen. The other two parts are innermost parts and cannot be seen or touched.
At the end of a person's life, his physical body is the only part of him that dies. Paul explains the resurrection of man's body in detail in 1 Corinthians 15. He says our physical bodies are perishable and will decay. However, our resurrected bodies will be transformed. For instance, while we are alive on earth, our bodies are subjected to sicknesses and diseases. That will not be the case with our resurrected and glorified bodies (Philippians 3:21).
"In the same way, our earthly bodies which die and decay are different from the bodies we shall have when we come back to life again, for they will never die" (1 Corinthians 15:42).
Every person also has a soul. It is the innermost part of a human. The soul is the medium between the body and the spirit. The soul possesses self-consciousness, that we may have our personality. Our soul perceives things in the psychological realm.
Our soul is the center of our personality. It is an indication of who we are. With our soul, we think, reason, consider, remember, and make decisions. The soul is the seat of our emotions. Because of our soul, we can experience all kinds of emotions like joy, happiness, love, hate, sorrow, anger, and compassion. Our soul also enables us to have different desires like food, drink, and pleasures.
Genesis 2:7 states that a human was created as a "living soul." The soul consists of the mind, which includes the conscience, the will, and the emotions. The soul and the spirit are mysteriously tied together, but they can be separated, according to Hebrews 4:12.
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Another part of a human is the spirit. It cannot be seen or touched. After God formed man out of the dust of the ground, He blew His breath into the body, and the man became a living being. The spirit is our innermost part. It possesses God-consciousness that enables us to contact and communicate with God (John 4:24; Romans 1:9).
No other creature was created by God with a spirit. The last breath a person takes when he dies goes back to God who gave it to him at the beginning of life.
The body contains the soul, and the soul is the vessel that contains the spirit.
- In the body, the physical parts of us dwell.
- In the soul, our self dwells.
- In the spirit, God as the Spirit dwells
The Bible makes it clear that the soul and spirit are the primary immaterial aspects of humanity, while the body is the physical container that holds them on this earth.
As human beings:
- We dwell in a body.
- We have a soul.
- We are a spirit and will live eternally as a spirit.