The Spirit of Man

Revelation 21:10 says, “And he [the angel in v. 9] carried me [the apostle John] away in spirit onto a great and high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” To see New Jerusalem requires us to be in spirit.

This is a reference to our human spirit. I will leave the phrase “in spirit” and the relationship between our spirit and the Holy Spirit to following posts and focus here on the existence of our human spirit. Let us begin with Zechariah 12:1 which says that the Lord formed “the spirit of man within him.” First Corinthians 2:11 and Proverbs 20:27 each refer to “the spirit of man.” In Luke 1:47 Mary speaks of “my spirit,” in Acts 7:59 Stephen does the same, and in Romans 1:9 and several times in Corinthians Paul does the same. Furthermore, in the last verses of Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon, Paul says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”

Neither our soul nor our spirit are physical yet the Bible shows us they are different. First Thessalonians 5:23 says, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This verse states that we humans are of three parts—spirit, soul, and body. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Moreover, 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 makes a contrast between a soulish man and a spiritual man.

We do not always understand why a writer of the Bible uses soul or spirit (or mind or heart*) in a particular sentence but we accept the Bible as the inspired word of God and receive what it says. It says that we have a human spirit which the living word of God can divide from our soul.

*The short book The Parts of Man was a great help to me in understanding the composition of man. It is available here along with a link to online reading.

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  1. A River of Water of Life in the Middle of the Golden Street of New Jerusalem « New Jerusalem – A Biblical View
  2. Jesus said, “He Who Eats Me, He Also Shall Live Because of Me” « New Jerusalem – A Biblical View

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