Understanding the 3 Part Man: Spirit, Soul, and Body

Human beings as a species created by God are a three part man. We are a spirit, have a soul and live inside of a body. I love to talk about this topic of who we really are because it unlocks the Bible in a way that will make scripture just make sense! 

Our Text

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV 

You are a three part man: spirit, soul and body

I heard someone explain this concept extremely well with a story. 

An Example from the Bible

Clearly our primary text today describes a man has having a whole “spirit and soul and body”. The word “and” in between all those parts tells us that they’re all separate parts.

If you’re familiar with the fact that God also is a three part being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Then this verse in Genesis is all the proof that you need.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 1:26 KJV

We are made in the image or likeness of God.  That means as He is a three part being so are we.

An Example from Nature

There was a man who owned chickens.  One day a man was asking about how you can be three things if you’re one man.  He took a hardboiled egg and peeled the shell off handing it to the man.  Next he peeled the egg white and handed it to the man.  Finally, he took the yellow yoke and handed it to the man.  Then he asked, “How many eggs do you have?” 

The concept is clear right? We are just one man, but just like the egg we are made up of multiple parts. 

Understanding the SPIRIT of a Man

The spirit of a man has many terms that we use to describe it: spirit, human spirit, conscience, heart, inner man, inward man, etc.  I want to go through some “fast facts” if you will about your spirit that you can use and understand. 

  • Your spirit is eternal. When Jesus talks in the Scriptures about “never dying” he’s talking about your spirit never dying.
  • Your spirit is born again. The spirit is the part of you that becomes “born again” when you confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior. 

Your Spirit is Eternal

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV

As we will discuss in the next few sections, the human spirit is eternal, but the body isn’t.  This won’t be forever because the Bible says that the body will be glorified and changed at the second coming of Christ Jesus, but for now we are stuck with bodies still affected by the Fall of Adam and Eve aka Death. 

Your Spirit is Born Again

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Now the best way I like to describe this is to think about your own life.  When you got born again did your wrinkles go away?  Did you suddenly get a six pack of abs or lose a bunch of weight?  

No of course not because the “all things” that became new were all spiritual things.  The new birth affects your spirit

Let me tell you if the body changed immediately when you got born again.  Salvation would be the most popular dieting exercise ever. 

Understanding the SOUL of a Man

The soul and spirit of a man are often interchanged by people.  Many will say soul when they really mean spirit, but the soul and spirit are not the same thing. 

The soul of a man is his mind, will and emotions.  

  • Your soul determines where you’ll go. The decisions we make are made in our soul. Consequently, the way that we think determines our direction that we go in life.
  • The soul must be renewed. Doing the Word of God will renew our soul.

Your Soul is the Battleground between Right and Wrong

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:5 KJV

When we decide to think on a particular topic we will naturally go in that direction.  Think about this.  I personally really like cookie cake. If I start to think about cookie cake, then I will naturally want to go find some cookie cake.  (I actually at the very moment of writing this began to allow my mind to idly wander to try to figure out a way that I could get cookie cake right now…) 

So apply that to other areas of your life.  

Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

1 Peter 2:11 KJV

When we commit sins, we actually end up allowing those sins to war against our soul.  

What I mean is that we allow that mistake to begin to war at us and tell us, “Man if you were a Christian you wouldn’t behave like that.”  

That’s just the devil doing what the devil does best: stealing, killing and destroying. 

Your Soul must be Renewed and Purified

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1 Peter 1:22 KJV

Once again remember that our spirit is the only thing that is renewed when we are born again.  That means our soul still thinks like it did before we were born again. 

We have to purify our souls by obeying the truth through the Spirit.  

Understanding the BODY of a Man

8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV

The really important thing to remember is that when a person dies here on the earth they simply run out of time to be effective here.  They don’t die their body dies.  The true them – their spirit – continues to live in a different location.  

Where we go when we die

If they’re born again and have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for them to be part of the family of God, then their spirit is immediately translated to be with the Lord.  

On the other hand, if they have rejected the Lord Jesus their spirit will immediately go to hell and will never again be able to exit that terrible place.

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 KJV

One day the Lord Jesus will part the clouds and a trumpet will sound.  The dead who died on the earth up to this point who accepted Jesus as their Savior their spirits will return to their bodies and they will rise out of the graves.  These men and women will be changed and meet the Lord Jesus in the clouds. 

Wrapping Things Up

It’s really important to understand that the separation of spirit, soul and body affects your life and how you read the Bible.  When the Bible talks about you most of the time it’s discussing your spirit. 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post.  If you did please subscribe to the mailing list, comment below, donate or send me an email at [email protected] with a prayer request.