The Soul of Man Defined
What did Jesus teach about the soul of man? The New Testament does not say much about the soul of man. Jesus teaches, no one can “kill the soul” that is a privilege reserved only for the Lord God. Secondly, Jesus differentiates between the “soul” and the “body”. Finally, Jesus teaches, the only place the soul of man can be destroyed is hell, Matthew 10:28.
Every man has a soul. The rich man in Jesus’ parable explained that he has a soul for he said “my soul”, Luke 12:19. Apostle Paul remarked on “tribulation and anguish,” on “every soul of man” that does “evil”, Romans 2:9. Additionally, we know man has a soul for the Book of Revelation speaks of “the souls of men” Revelation 18:13. We also know that the soul is not physical because it’s separate from the body as Jesus explained above. A person cannot physically touch the soul as one could touch an arm or leg etc.
Jesus teaches that every man has a soul. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36, 37. Jesus also teaches us he has a soul for he said “my soul,” John 12:27.
If the soul of man were the same as the body, man, by killing the physical body man would kill the soul. However, this is not so as Jesus also points out to us. The soul is spiritual similar to the heart and the two are often paired together as in “with all your heart, and with all your soul,” Luke 10:27.
All the characteristics behaviors human beings exhibit with each other, with the Holy God or with their environment constitute the soul of man. The soul of man is the definition of the man. If you are sad, it is a reflection of your soul, 1 Samuel 30:6. All our emotions emanate from our soul. Consequently, the soul hates or “loathes” a person or thing, Numbers 21:5. Similarly, the soul of a person loves, as was the case with the Son of Shechem and Dinah the daughter of Jacob, Genesis 34:3, 8. The same is true for David and Jonathan too, 1 Samuel 18:1, 3.
Relationship Between the Soul and the Body
Therefore, expect the soul to display any and other emotions also like bitterness, vexation and laughing, 2 Kings 4:27; Judges 10:16; 16:16 and 1 Samuel 1:10. Whatever emotion, you display, as a person comes from your soul.
The body reflects the state of the soul. If the soul mourns, the body expresses this as pain, Job 14:22; 24:12. The relationship between the soul and body cannot be severed except through death of the body. The physical and biological needs of the body reflect the state of the soul. For instance, a hungry or thirsty person may reflect, a “soul fainted in” such a person, Psalm 107:5, 9. Similarly, a body with no need for water or food reflects a upbeat and strong state through the soul, Proverbs 27:7; 13:25.
The soul of a person desires God because it comes from God, Isaiah 26:8; Genesis 2:7. However, it is not the soul, which communicates with God but the spirit of man. This was not always the case, more on this at another time.
- “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly,” Proverbs 20:27.
The soul of man seeks for God, Lamentations 3:25-26. Through the coordinated relationship between the state of the soul and its manifestation through our bodies we know ourselves. Similarly, through the interactions of our bodies with our environment via our senses we know our surroundings.
Until the advent of Jesus Christ, the word soul was used to reference the man. Therefore, Old Testament Scriptures instead of saying a person, or a man or woman refer to any human being as a soul. Therefore, the word soul is a synonym for “person” because all a person’s qualities and characteristics emanate from his soul. In this life, man has no soul without a physical body. The body houses the soul of man.
The soul of man is answerable to the Lord God for the behavior of the body
Therefore, from the moment, God “breathed” into Adam “the breath of life” “and man became a living soul,” God started to refer to man as “soul”. God sees each person as a “soul” and not as a “person”. Therefore, He makes constant reference to the soul to highlight its importance throughout the Scriptures.
Subsequently, the Scriptures inform us, “and all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls: for Joseph was in Egypt already,” Exodus 1:5.
- “And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire,” Joshua 11:11
Finally, because of the importance the Lord God places on souls He declares all souls are His. Our souls belong to God and no one else.
- “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” Ezekiel 18:4.
We are custodians for our souls and as such answerable to God for its state. Nevertheless, God sees our soul and judges it. When God judges the soul of man he really judges man. The responsibility of each person (body) is to preserve himself (soul) from evil and serve God. The soul of man is answerable to the Lord God for the behaviors of the body.