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What does the soul do?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Paul3144, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Paul3144

    Paul3144 Active Member

    May 29, 2009
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    This is a question I've never really seen addressed. We know from the Holy Scriptures that the soul exists, is immaterial, is regenerated by the Holy Spirit when one comes to faith in Jesus Christ, can exist without the body temporarily during the intermediate state, and some other things. But what exactly does it do? I've got some of my own thoughts on this, but I'll save them for later until I get some other people's thoughts.
  2. Winman

    Winman Active Member

    Jul 8, 2009
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    Nice easy question. :rolleyes:

    It seems that the soul primarily concerns the emotions, desires, and passions, although sometimes it simply applies to the life of a person. But in the majority of cases, it is usually associated with the emotions or desires.

    Deut 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

    I think when the scriptures say to love the Lord with all thy heart and all thy soul, this is not saying two different things, but a clarification, making the meaning more clear.

    Deut 12: 15 Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart.

    Here it speaks of the soul lusting after flesh, so it is speaking of physical appetite or desire.

    Num 21:4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.
    5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

    In vs. 4 it says the soul of the people was discouraged, in vs. 5 it says their soul loathed the manna they were given. So, in both cases it speaks of emotions, but also desire.

    Mark 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

    Jesus said his soul was sorrowful, so again it seems to dealing with the emotions.

    Heb 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

    God's soul has no pleasure in unbelievers, so again it speaks of the emotions.

    Soul has other applications in the scriptures, but I think in most cases it is dealing with the emotions and desires.
  3. canadyjd

    canadyjd Active Member

    Oct 13, 2005
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    The word "soul" is somethings used interchangebly with "spirit". Othertimes it is used to discribe the whole person... body and spirit.

    I believe that human beings exist as body and spirit (two "parts") not three... body/spirit/soul.

    You may want to access the archives. There has been very good threads on this subject.

    peace to you:praying:
  4. Allan

    Allan Active Member

    Jul 26, 2006
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    There are different views on this, 1 - man is a bi-part being (Soul/Spirt - flesh); and 2 - man is tri-part being (Soul, Spirit, and flesh).

    I hold to the later due to how scripture distinquishes between them at times but it is important to remember that they are used interchangably just as often. One of the most notable verses in scripture which establish the distinction of the two NOT being the same specific thing is found in Heb 4:12, as the Word of God is powerful..even to the dividing of the soul and spirit...
    Here is John Gill on the subject (there are others of this same mind but his is easiest to get to at the moment):
    Now he is neither advocating one view or the other here but is speaking simply to the fact they are and does not dismiss either view out right. Another verse which displays this distinction is 1 Thes 5:23.

    The terms soul and spirit are used interchangably for the referencing a person or their very being, this is so because they are the same in essence and being but they are each unique and distinct much like the Trinity. To say it more simply - They are the same in essense and being yet each is distintly different. However God can seperate from Himself and All parts still function yet maintain still the essense and being (as Jesus, but we can not (take death) Though the Godhead can seperate and each still continue and function we can not. If our spirit/soul (or spirit and soul - either way you wish to view) leave our body, the body dies as it can not maintain or function of itself. The same is to be said of our soul and spirit.

    Now about the Soul and Spirit:
    SOUL: The Soul stands for the personal life or for the idividual. It has and conveys emotion (Jer 31:25) and it wars against the lusts of the flesh (Rom 8:16) It is interesting to note the Soul is most ascribed as man's emotional center and place of desire (ie. His soul was in anguish, it vexed his soul ect...) It is also seen refered to as the base 'animal life' again moved primarily by or because of emotion.

    SPIRIT: The spirit is related to the higher aspects of man (Rom 8:16 - The Spirit bares witness with our spirit... John 4:23 - we worship God in spirit and in truth). We know that all men have a spirit and that like the flesh the spirit too may also be corrupted (2 Cor 7:1), in light of this verse we have an understanding of why we must renew our minds due to corruption (Rom 12:2) that 'can' take place.

    Though a distinction can be noted from the scriptures concerning the spirit and soul, it must also be noted they are facets of the same being (spiritual man) and therefore can be and are interchangably used when speacking of the person as a whole. However what must also be noted is word that is used (spirit/soul) in conjuction as to when the person is in/or doing an action. This is due primarily the fact that the word used speaks to the basis or motivation for which certain or specific types action are done (of intelect or emotion).

    Heart: is most often in scripture associated with the soul since it is the core of our desire and the large concept of all of the facets of mans immaterial nature. This is synonymous with the physical center of life and our spiritual core also regarding life.

    Mind: is most often in scripture associated with spirit as it is the facet of mans immaterial nature where understanding is centered. This is also synonymous with the physical mental center of intellect and our spiritual faculty with regard to understanding and insight and can be hindered (darkened or dead to truth) or grow (enlightened or made alive with truth now understood.)

    Lastly, to sum up MY VIEW - I believe they are united as one entity (inseperable from the other) though they are two seperate aspects of that same being.
    #4 Allan, Dec 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2009
  5. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist Well-Known Member

    Aug 7, 2007
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    Glad you brought this aspect out Allan. This will help alot of folks sort their questions out. I'd suggest people tackle whether man is a trichotomy or bichotomy before they wrestle with some other things.
  6. Winman

    Winman Active Member

    Jul 8, 2009
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    That was good Allen, and I think you explained it about as well as we are able to comprehend it. But this raises a few questions.

    When Jesus died on the cross, his body went into a grave, but did both his spirit and soul go down to hell (Paradise)? The scriptures only mention his soul in hell.

    Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

    Here Jesus said he commended his spirit into his Father's hand and gave up the ghost. Now, is that two different things? But either way, it seems both his spirit and soul left his physical body. But when the scriptures speak of the raising of Jesus, it speaks only of his soul.

    Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

    Peter speaks here only of Jesus's soul and flesh. Where was his spirit? I tend to believe when the scriptures say soul here, it is speaking of both Jesus's soul and spirit as one.

    This is a difficult subject. The scriptures seem to show that more than one spirit can occupy a man.

    Mark 7:25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:
    26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.
    27 But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
    28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs.
    29 And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.
    30 And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

    The devils are descibed as a spirit, and have their own identities. They also seem able to control the person, including the desires.

    And some people had many spirits residing within them.

    Mark 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
    3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
    4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
    5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
    6 But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
    7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
    8 For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
    9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
    10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
    11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
    12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
    13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand; ) and were choked in the sea.

    This man had many unclean spirits in him. But notice in many instances it speaks of only one unclean spirit. And it seems one spirit in particular spoke for all. It says two thousand swine ran violently ran into the sea, so perhaps he had at least two thousand unclean spirits dwelling in him, maybe more. Strong's Concordance gave this definition of legion.

    So, the scriptures say that more than one spirit can be in a man, and these other spirits can excercise control over the man's own spirit.

    And even when we are saved the scriptures seem to show we still retain our own spirit, while having the Holy Spirit as well.

    Rom 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

    Is Paul here speaking of his own spirit, or the Holy Spirit?

    This is a very interesting topic which I think I will give more study to.
    #6 Winman, Dec 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2009
  7. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    May 14, 2001
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    Here is my answer FWIW:

    We are tripartite

    Body: material world awareness
    Soul: Self awareness/identity
    spirit: God consciousness/awareness

    16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
    17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
    18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
    19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
    20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
    21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.​

    Substitute "self" for "soul" in the passage and it still works quite well.​