Q: #141. What is the difference between our soul and spirit?
A: While I know that a number of people make a differentiation between the soul and spirit, I have never found any significant difference between the two in my studies of scripture. The Bible DOES make a distinction between the “material” (body) and the “immaterial” or invisible (soul/spirit) parts of a man.
Soul and spirit are used interchangeably throughout the Bible. They have common traits such as:
At death, both leave the body and go elsewhere:
soul: (Gen 35:18)(Mt 10:28)(Acts 2:31)
spirit: (Acts 7:59)(Eccl 12:7)
Both need to be saved:
soul: (1 Pet 1:9)(Heb 10:39)
spirit: (1 Cor 5:5)
Both belong to God:
soul: (Ezek 18:4)
spirit: (1 Cor 6:20)
The majority of the verses that use the word soul in the Bible generally refer to the life of a man in some form (i.e. Ps 22:20: Deliver my soul [life] from the sword)(Also see: 1 Kin 17:19-23, Mk 8:36-37).
Those who make a distinction between soul and spirit generally use two verses to make their point (1 Th 5:23)(Heb 4:12). (1 Th 5:23) says, … and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved…” This is used to say a man is made up of three parts, and it is often compared to God’s trinitarian nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The soul is generally thought to be how man is connected to and communicates with this world while the spirit is how man is connected to and communicates with God. The soul is also said to be the seat of man’s mind, will, and emotions.
Personally, I do not find compelling Biblical evidence for making these distinctions, but this view could also be possible.