The nature of man is threefold: body, soul and spirit (I Thes 5:23).

BODY. The Greek word is soma. This refers to man’s physical existence (Mt 6:22-23; Jas 3:6). Jesus had a physical body (Heb 10:5; Lk 24:39). God will give us a glorified body in the resurrection (I Cor 15:38,53). The body is distinguished from the soul (Mt 10:28). It is the physical aspect of man. As a metaphor, the church is described as the “body of Christ” (Eph 1:22-23; 5:23).

SOUL. The Greek word is psuche. At times this refers to persons. On the day of Pentecost Peter preached the gospel to the multitude of people (Acts 2). He commanded repentance and baptism (vs 38) and about 3,000 “souls” received the word and were baptized “for the forgiveness of sins.” These individuals were added together to form the church (vs 41-43). In the days of Noah, 8 “souls” were saved from the flood, like believers are saved by baptism today (I Pet 3:21). “Soul” sometimes refers to life, whether man or animal (Gen 1:24).

SPIRIT. The Greek word is pneuma. This denotes the immortal and eternal part of man. The word has different usages, depending on the context. That eternal “spark” within man (not animals) extends beyond death and the grave. Stephen as he was dying said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Ac 7:59). Also Eccl 2:7: “The dust returns to the earth … and the spirit returns unto God.” Read Heb 12:9, Jas 2:26; Lk 23:46.

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