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Bible Dictionary: Define Soul, Definition of Soul

 

The soul is the part of the make up of every person that is alternately known as the mind, heart, life, self, person, or inner being.  these are all synonyms for this part of our beings. God created us as three-part beings: spirit, soul/mind, and body.  The soul is to be in submission to the spirit and the body was created to be in submission to the mind/soul.

Four original language words are translated as soul:

  • nedibah
  • nephesh
  • neshamah
  • psuche

The word, nedibah, doesn't appear to have the same meaning as other words translated as soul. The word, neshamah, appears to be more like the words that are normally translated as spirit. The words, nephesh and psuche seem to be similar, but nephesh may have a meaning that is more broad than psuche. Nephesh is the word from which soul is translated as soul except in two instances. Psuche is the only word translated as soul in the New Testament. Nephesh is sometimes applied to animals.

Looking at the two words, nephesh and psuche, we find them translated as soul, life, mind, heart. Nephesh is also translated into several words that indicate a person, body, or creature. And nephesh is also translated as desire, will, and appetite, which can be thought of as functions of the mind.

Looking at one specific verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There has been some revelation given to understand this. The soul is the mind, which includes the will, the conscious, reasoning mind, and the innermost mind, or heart. In the New Testament, the heart is usually the Greek word, kardia. Sometimes, the heart is called the reigns and sometimes it is called the conscience. This is the battleground in the present age.

Satan influences the soul through the body. The Holy Spirit is in communion with the spirit of the born-again person, and works through the human spirit to influence the soul. At any moment in time, we are either in submission to the spirit or to the body, the flesh. And the mind is divided between the part that is carnal and fleshly as opposed to the part that is transfigured to be like Jesus. This is the reason for the inner turmoil that each Christian faces.

Further study:

05315 nephesh neh’- fesh
from 05314; n f; {See TWOT on 1395 @@ "1395a"}
AV-soul 475, life 117, person 29, mind 15, heart 15, creature 9, body 8, himself 8, yourselves 6, dead 5, will 4, desire 4, man 3, themselves 3, any 3, appetite 2, misc 47; 753
1) soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion
1a) that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man
1b) living being
1c) living being (with life in the blood)
1d) the man himself, self, person or individual
1e) seat of the appetites
1f) seat of emotions and passions
1g) activity of mind
1g1) dubious
1h) activity of the will
1h1) dubious
1i) activity of the character
1i1) dubious

Here are some examples of the 753 occurrances of nephesh:

Ge 1:20  And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath <05315> life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Ge 1:21  And God created great whales, and every living creature <05315> that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Ge 1:24  And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature <05315> after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
Ge 1:30  And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life <05315>, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Ge 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 <05315>.
Ge 2:19  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature <05315>, that was the name thereof.
Ge 9:4  But flesh with the life <05315> thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
Ge 9:5  And surely your blood of your lives <05315> will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life <05315> of man.

05082 nediybah ned-ee-baw’
from 05081; n f; {See TWOT on 1299 @@ "1299c"}
AV-soul 1; 1
1) nobility, nobleness, noble deeds
1a) nobility (of rank), honour
1b) noble things

Job 30:15 Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul <05082> as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud.

05397 neshamah nesh-aw-maw’
from 05395; n f; {See TWOT on 1433 @@ "1433a"}
AV-breath 17, blast 3, spirit 2, inspiration 1, souls 1; 24
1) breath, spirit
1a) breath (of God)
1b) breath (of man)
1c) every breathing thing
1d) spirit (of man)

Isaiah 57:16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls <05397> which I have made.

5590 psuche psoo-khay’
from 5594; TDNT-9:608,1342; {See TDNT 854} n f
AV-soul 58, life 40, mind 3, heart 1, heartily + 1537 1, not tr 2; 105
1) breath
1a) the breath of life
1a1) the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing
1a1a) of animals
1a1b) of men
1b) life
1c) that in which there is life
1c1) a living being, a living soul
2) the soul

Mt 2:20  Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life <5590>.
Mt 6:25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life <5590>, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life <5590> more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Mt 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul <5590>: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul <5590> and body in hell.
Mt 10:39  He that findeth his life <5590> shall lose it: and he that loseth his life <5590> for my sake shall find it.
Mt 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls <5590>.
Mt 12:18  Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul <5590> is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
Mt 16:25  For whosoever will save his life <5590> shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life <5590> for my sake shall find it.
Mt 16:26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul <5590>? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul <5590>?
Mt 20:28  Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life <5590> a ransom for many.
Mt 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul <5590>, and with all thy mind.
Mt 26:38  Then saith he unto them, My soul <5590> is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
Mr 3:4  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life <5590>, or to kill? But they held their peace.
Mr 8:35  For whosoever will save his life <5590> shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life <5590> for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
Mr 8:36  For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul <5590>?
Mr 8:37  Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul <5590>?
Mr 10:45  For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life <5590> a ransom for many.
Mr 12:30  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul <5590>, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Mr 12:33  And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul <5590>, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Mr 14:34  And saith unto them, My soul <5590> is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
Lu 1:46  And Mary said, My soul <5590> doth magnify the Lord,
Lu 2:35  (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul <5590> also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
Lu 6:9  Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life <5590>, or to destroy it?
Lu 9:24  For whosoever will save his life <5590> shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life <5590> for my sake, the same shall save it.
Lu 9:56  For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives <5590>, but to save them. And they went to another village.
Lu 10:27  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul <5590>, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
Lu 12:19  And I will say to my soul <5590>, Soul <5590>, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Lu 12:20  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul <5590> shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Lu 12:22  And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life <5590>, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
Lu 12:23  The life <5590> is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
Lu 14:26  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life <5590> also, he cannot be my disciple.
Lu 17:33  Whosoever shall seek to save his life <5590> shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
Lu 21:19  In your patience possess ye your souls <5590>.
Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life <5590> for the sheep.
Joh 10:15  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life <5590> for the sheep.
Joh 10:17  Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life <5590>, that I might take it again.
Joh 10:24  Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt <5590>? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
Joh 12:25  He that loveth his life <5590> shall lose it; and he that hateth his life <5590> in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
Joh 12:27  Now is my soul <5590> troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
Joh 13:37  Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life <5590> for thy sake.
Joh 13:38  Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life <5590> for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.
Joh 15:13  Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life <5590> for his friends.
Ac 2:27  Because thou wilt not leave my soul <5590> in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Ac 2:31  He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul <5590> was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Ac 2:41  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls <5590>.
Ac 2:43  And fear came upon every soul <5590>: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
Ac 3:23  And it shall come to pass, that every soul <5590>, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
Ac 4:32  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul <5590>: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
Ac 7:14  Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls <5590>.
Ac 14:2  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds <5590> evil affected against the brethren.
Ac 14:22  Confirming the souls <5590> of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Ac 15:24  Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls <5590>, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
Ac 15:26  Men that have hazarded their lives <5590> for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ac 20:10  And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life <5590> is in him.
Ac 20:24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life <5590> dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
Ac 27:10  And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives <5590>.
Ac 27:22  And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life <5590> among you, but of the ship.
Ac 27:37  And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls <5590>.
Ro 2:9  Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul <5590> of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Ro 11:3  Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life <5590>.
Ro 13:1  Let every soul <5590> be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Ro 16:4  Who have for my life <5590> laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul <5590>; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
2Co 1:23  Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul <5590>, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
2Co 12:15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you <5590>; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
Eph 6:6  Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart <5590>;
Php 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind <5590> striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Php 2:30  Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life <5590>, to supply your lack of service toward me.
Col 3:23  And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily <5590>, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
1Th 2:8  So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls <5590>, because ye were dear unto us.
1Th 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul <5590> and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul <5590> and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Heb 6:19  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul <5590>, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
Heb 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul <5590> shall have no pleasure in him.
Heb 10:39  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul <5590>.
Heb 12:3  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds <5590>.
Heb 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls <5590>, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Jas 1:21  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls <5590>.
Jas 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul <5590> from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
1Pe 1:9  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls <5590>.
1Pe 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls <5590> in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
1Pe 2:11  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul <5590>;
1Pe 2:25  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls <5590>.
1Pe 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls <5590> were saved by water.
1Pe 4:19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls <5590> to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
2Pe 2:8  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul <5590> from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)
2Pe 2:14  Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls <5590>: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
1Jo 3:16  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life <5590> for us: and we ought to lay down our lives <5590> for the brethren.
3Jo 1:2  Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul <5590> prospereth.
Re 6:9  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls <5590> of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
Re 8:9  And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life <5590>, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
Re 12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives <5590> unto the death.
Re 16:3  And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul <5590> died in the sea.
Re 18:13  And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls <5590> of men.
Re 18:14  And the fruits that thy soul <5590> lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
Re 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls <5590> of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

 

 



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Last updated: May, 2014
 
 




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