“God’s weight [is to] stop up [a] word; king’s weight [is to] penetrate [that] word.” (Proverbs 25:2)
What is a soul?
In a recent Bible study, we asked, ‘What is a spirit?‘ Today, we’re going to find out what the Bible says about ‘souls.’
Genesis 2:7 (KJV)
“7 And the LORD God formed man [adam] of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man [adam] became a living soul.”
That is the first time that the word ‘soul’ is used in the King James Version of the Bible, and it’s used when God made Adam, so I wanted to see which word the word ‘soul’ was translated from.
Here’s a more literal translation of Genesis 2:7.
“Yehovah Elohiym moulded man [from] dust [of] reddish, puffed nose [with] alive puff, [and then] man exist alive breathing.”
If you want to know who Jehovah/Yehovah is, read ‘Bible Study: What is a spirit?‘
The word ‘Elohiym’ is the plural word ‘God,’ so ‘Yehovah Elohiym’ means ‘Self-Existing Gods.’
The word ‘reddish’ is often (always?) translated ‘ground’ in the King James Version of the Bible.
The word ‘puffed’ (literally ‘puff’) seems to be a primary root word. The word ‘puff’ later in that verse is translated from a different word that seems to mean a ‘puff’ caused by blowing.
The word ‘adam’ is the Hebrew word ‘man.’ (Adam’s name is ‘man.’)
That translation reveals that God moulded man’s body out of dust, puffed a living puff into man’s body, and man existed as a breathing creation.
Man’s body was not alive before God puffed a living puff into Adam, so what was that living puff?
James 2:26 (KJV)
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
Let’s look at a literal translation of James 2:26.
“Reasoning [that] the body ‘at space’ [from] current/spirit is dead and, in this way, the persuasion ‘at space’ of toil is dead.”
Adam’s body became a ‘breathing creation’ after God put the living puff into Adam. That still doesn’t tell us was that ‘living puff’ is.
Let’s look at a famous verse, Psalm 103:1.
Psalm 103:1 (KJV)
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”
A more literal translation is:
“Breathing, kneel [to] Yehovah; whole nearest, ‘put high’ Sacred.”
That… also doesn’t tell me what the ‘living puff’ is.
Let’s look at what Moses and Jesus said.
(In the King James Bible, Deuteronomy is the name of the 5th Book of Moses.)
Deuteronomy 6:5 (KJV)
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Deuteronomy 30:6 (KJV)
“And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”
Matthew 22:37 (KJV)
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Mark 12:30 (KJV)
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”
Luke 10:27 (KJV)
“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”
In those verses in Deuteronomy, the word ‘soul’ is translated from ‘breathing.’ That word ‘breathing’ was translated ‘soul’ in Genesis 2:7 and Psalm 103:1.
The word ‘soul’ in the Books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke was translated from the word ‘breath.’
What is a ‘soul’ (and do we have one)?
Let’s look more closely at what Jesus said.
God commanded us to love Him with all our: heart, breath, strength, and mind.
Those are four parts of our being with which we can love God.
We know what ‘breath’ means in the natural world. It’s air that comes out of your mouth. In Genesis 7:15 and 7:22, it makes a point of saying that ‘breath of life’ was in noses.
In John 6:63, Jesus said His words are ‘current/spirit’ and His words are life. In John 6:68, Jesus’s disciples say that He has words of eternal life. So words can be ‘life.’
Words come out of a mouth. A person breathes when speaking.
John 6:61-68 (KJV)
“61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”
Hebrews 4:12 (KJV)
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The word ‘soul’ in Hebrews 4:12 is translated from the word ‘breath,’ and ‘spirit’ is translated from ‘current.’
It’s interesting to note that Hebrews 4:12 also talks about ‘dividing joints and marrow,’ which are both in a natural body. That word ‘joints’ is translated from a word that means ‘articulation.’ In English, the word ‘articulation’ means ‘division of distinct parts.’ In Biology, is can mean the ‘joints’ or ‘where bones join together.’ The word ‘marrow’ means ‘the soft, inner part’ such as marrow inside bones.
It’s interesting to note that because a ‘joint’ is outside a bone and ‘marrow’ is in the inner part of a bone.
Likewise, ‘breath’ is outside of a body and ‘spirit/current’ is in the innermost part of the body.
The word ‘thoughts’ in Hebrews 4:12 is translated from a word meaning ‘careful weighing’ and the word ‘intentions’ is translated from a word meaning ‘fixed position of intellect,’ which means that ‘careful weighing’ and a ‘position of the intellect’ both have to do with a heart. It implies that the ‘position of the intellect’ is in the innermost part of the heart and ‘careful weighing’ is outside the heart.
It sounds like Hebrews 4:12 is talking about a ‘spirit/current body,’ a ‘natural body’ and a ‘heart’ as being separate things.
It sounds like that verse is also indirectly talking about a ‘mind’ because of how it implies that a ‘fixed position of intellect’ in inside a heart and that ‘careful weighing’ is done outside a heart.
The word ‘soul’ is used in the King James Version of the Bible, but I don’t see a clear definition of it here, so let’s look at what the English word ‘soul’ means.
Definitions found on Dictionary.com.
“the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.”
“the spirit or immaterial part of man, the seat of human personality, intellect, will, and emotions, regarded as an entity that survives the body after death”
” “A substantial entity believed to be that in each person which lives, feels, thinks and wills” [Century Dictionary], Old English sawol “spiritual and emotional part of a person, animate existence; life, living being,” from Proto-Germanic *saiwalo (cf. Old Saxon seola, Old Norse sala, Old Frisian sele, Middle Dutch siele, Dutch ziel, Old High German seula, German Seele, Gothic saiwala), of uncertain origin.”
Common points between those definitions is that ‘feeling/emotions,’ ‘thoughts/mind,’ ‘will,’ and ‘life’ are in the ‘soul.’ Those definitions also seem to mix up ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ as though they are the same thing.
Hebrews 4:12 seems to say that your ‘spirit’ and your ‘heart’ are not the same thing. Hebrews 4:12 seems to say that ‘the intellect’ is in a heart.
1 Corinthians 15:44 (KJV)
“It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.”
There is a natural body and there is a ‘spirit/current’ body, but does the Bible say there’s a ‘heart body‘? I’ve never of one.
Even if there is no ‘heart body,’ does the Bible say that a ‘heart’ can travel outside of a body?
2 Kings 5:19-27 (KJV)
“19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.
20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the Lord liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.
21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?
22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.
23 And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.
24 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.
25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.
26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.”
Naaman went to see Elisha. After Naaman had ‘gone a little way’ away from where Elisha was, Gehazi ran after Naaman and lied to Naaman so that Gehazi could get some of the goods that Naaman wanted to give to Elisha and that Elisha had rejected.
Naaman sent two servants with Gehazi to the house. When the Gehazi and the servants came to the tower, Gehazi took the silver and the garments from the two servants and put them in the house. (I don’t know how far away the tower was from the house.)
And then Gehazi went into somewhere and stood before Elisha. Elisha asked, ‘Where are you coming from, Gehazi?’ Gehazi said, ‘I didn’t go anywhere.’
Gehazi didn’t think that Elisha knew where Gehazi went. Elisha’s response is interesting: ‘Went not my heart with you…’
Elisha’s heart went went with Gehazi.
Luke 12:34 (KJV)
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)
“27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
‘Adultery’ is a physical act between two people. How can one person commit adultery with someone else ‘in his heart’?
In Matthew chapter 5 verses 27 and 28, the phrase ‘commit adultery’ is translated from a phrase that means ‘be a paramour.’ The word ‘paramour’ comes from French ‘par amour,’ which means ‘by love’ or ‘through love.’
The phrase ‘lust after’ was translated from the ‘heart upon.’
The phrase ‘already committed adultery with her’ is translated from what means ‘already paramour her’.
The phrase ‘in his heart’ is translated from ‘position heart his’.
What does that mean?
Does that mean that, when a man ‘puts his heart on’ a woman to ‘be her paramour,’ his heart assaults her?
It sounds like it.
In the ‘What is a spirit?’ Bible Study, we discovered that a spirit can be in two different places at the same time.
It seems like a heart can also be in two (or more) places at the same time.
Going back to the question ‘What is a soul?‘, it seems that the word ‘soul’ has a definition that includes the spirit, the heart and the mind. It seems like, at the time when the King James Version Bible was complied, people didn’t have a clear understanding of ‘spirit, heart and mind,’ so they used ‘soul’ as broad definition of those things. In the King James Bible, the word ‘breath’ often seems to be translated ‘soul’ which doesn’t convey the meaning of ‘breath’ clearly. It also conveys the impression that they didn’t know what a ‘soul’ is and they weren’t sure how to translate ‘breath’ to convey its spiritual meaning in the Bible.
If we look at the four parts of ourselves with which we can love God, we see that we have: a spirit body, a natural body, a heart, and a mind.
The closest definition of a ‘soul’ that matches one of those four parts is, I think, a ‘heart.’
When you’re reading the Bible, if you replace the word ‘soul’ with ‘breath’ and think of ‘heart’ as meaning ‘soul’, it may give you a clearer understanding of what is written in the Bible.
What is the ‘mind’ and how does it interact with a ‘heart’? That will have to wait until a future Bible study!
Also look out for the Bible Study: Mystery of Blood.
Deuteronomy 12:23 (KJV)
“Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.”
Maybe we’ll find out what a ‘living puff’ is.
Thanks for reading this Bible Study!
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