What about the spirit, doesnít the Bible teach that this is a living
entity independent of the body?
The word spirit is used about 261 times in the English New Testament.
This word spirit is called in the Greek, pneuma (pneuíma)
and means, wind, breath, to blow. It is the same word that
gives us pneumatic tyres or pneumonia. In the Old Testament the
word is ruah and also means wind, breath, mind, life, emotions,
etc. In the English Old Testament spirit is used about 244 times (In the Hebrew
the word ruah is used 302 times; but others words are also used in the
Hebrew to mean spirit for which the English Bible uses the words soul or
A careful study of each of these usages will reveal that the word spirit is
used to mean, 1) a supernatural being such as an angel; e.g.,
1Sam. 28:7; 2) Godís Spirit; e.g.,
Gen. 1:2; and 3) a living human being or his or her feelings or emotons.
In one occasion it is used for animal life, (Ecc.3:21).
In Numbers 5:30 we read, Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon
him, and he be jealous over his wife...Here the spirit (ruah) of jealousy is
not referring to a living entity called jealousy, but to the emotions of
jealousy in an individual. We also use the expression jealous spirit when
referring to a jealous person.
Letís look at another text, (Acts 17:16 KJV) Now while Paul waited
for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly
given to idolatry. This text is telling us that Paul felt strongly
concerned for that idolatrous city. It is not telling us of something
living in Paul that stirred him up. So the word spirit can refer to an
individual himself or to any of his emotions including his will. See for
instance, Matthew 26:41, it says, Watch and pray, that
ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is
weak. This text is not saying that there are two living entities in oneís
body; one being strong, which is the spirit and the other being weak, which is
the flesh. In this text spirit is here referring to the desire of the will as
against the desire of the flesh.
Notice again (Acts 19:21 KJV) After these things were ended,
Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to
go to Jerusalem. This text is telling us that Paul determined in himself to
journey to a particular place. A careful study will show that spirit and
person mean the same thing, and does not refer to an entity living
outside the body. The answer to the question, then, would be, no, the
Bible does not teach that there is a spirit that lives inside of man that is
independent of the body. The idea of an entity called "the spirit" which
is independent of the body came into Jewish belief and into the Christian church
from paganism, just like the concept of the "soul," as we saw in previous
articles. It is very important that we all understand this biblical truth;
failure to understand this teaching can lead to great deception and
misunderstanding of biblical passages. May God grant us time and patience to
study this vital truth for ourselves. God bless.
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