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Soul Series: Part 1(Holy Place)

What is the Soul?

To properly answer this question it is necessary to compare the use and meaning of the words, “soul” and “spirit” in scripture.

The Hebrew word, nephesh that is translated, “soul,” is mentioned 498 times. Following are some examples of these references.

And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls [nephesh] that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.” Genesis 12:5 KJV*

And it came to pass, as her soul [nephesh] was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” Genesis 35:18 KJV*

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul [nephesh] of Jonathan was knit with the soul [nephesh] of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul [nephesh].” 1 Samuel 18:1 KJV*

The Hebrew words, ruach and nshamah that are translated, “spirit,” are mentioned in 236 passages. However, of these, 26 are clearly talking about the personal spirit (much more about both these words, later). Following are some examples of these references.

Who knoweth the spirit [ruach] of man that goeth upward, and the spirit [ruach] of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Ecclesiastes 3:21 KJV*

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [ruach] shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV*

The spirit [nshamah] of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” Proverbs 20:27 KJV*

To whom hast thou uttered words? And whose spirit [nshamah] came from thee?” Job 26:4 KJV*

Side Note: The Hebrew word, “nshamah” appears only twice in the Hebrew Scriptures. We’ll deal with this later.

We will continue our study in the next article called, “Soul Series, Part 2 (Holy Place)”

* Comments, revisions and emphases are our own.

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