Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.

The Bible tells that man is a trichotomy, a tripartite (three-part) being.  And one of those parts is the spirit.

1 Th 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly. and I pray God your whole [1] spirit and [2] soul and [3] body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are some who think the spirit and soul are the same, but this verse clearly lists them as separate.  And Paul could not have been speaking of the Holy Spirit because he prayed that the body, soul, and SPIRIT…be preserved blameless.” The Holy Spirit does not need to be “preserved blameless.”  He is blameless…He’s perfectly holy because He is God.  So what “spirit” was Paul speaking of?

It’s clear the Paul was referring to the human soul and the physical body.  Since he could not have been referring to the Holy Spirit in a believer, this must be about the human spirit. And, it makes sense that Paul would pray for our human spirits to be preserved blameless.  As Christians, we are positionally blameless. Our sins have been forgiven and we have the righteousness of Christ. (Read What are the Doctrines of Imputed, Infused, and Imparted Righteousness?)  But we also continue to sin.  And although we have the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us, our human spirit will often lead us into sinful ways of the world.

The Spirit of Man – in the Beginning

The first man, Adam, was created as a tripartite (three-part) being: a physical body, a dead soul, and a human spirit.  It was when God breathed into Adam that his soul came alive. 

Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

When Adam sinned, he lost God’s Breath. He died spiritually and began to die physically. However, Adam was still body, soul, and spirit — a tripartite being created in the image of his Triune God. But his soul was dead, without God’s Breath. That’s why, in salvation, the soul is regenerated and we say, man is born again.

Adam’s spirit was the spirit of man.  The Bible speaks clearly of this spirit: 

Prov 20:27  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

Eccl 3:21  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Eccl 12:7  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Zec 12:1  The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

1 Cor 2:11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?  even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Our Spirit

Prov 20:27  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

God gave us a spirit, a human spirit capable of discernment.  And when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our souls, our human spirit is renewed, because we are taught, guided, and directed by Him.  By His presence, we are able to communicate and fellowship with God. By His power we are able to makes choices to honor and glorify God.

The Triunity of Man

In addition to being a tripartite being in body, soul, and spirit, there are many other features of triunity in God’s creation of man.  The body itself is triune: 1. an outward, fleshly part, 2. an inward part comprised of our organs, and 3. an even more internal life force (e.g. the blood in our veins, air in our lungs).

Our souls have a triune nature, in that man’s soul is governed by 1. the mind, 2. the will, and 3. the emotion

There are many other signs of triunity in the created world. And they point to our God’s creative design that reflects His triune being — one God in three distinct Persons. Read: What is the Triunity of Creation?

May the beauty, perfection, and triunity of God’s creation stir your souls and bless your hearts so you might know God better, love Him more, and live for Him in accordance with His revealed will and ways.



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