For reference, this question asks whether there is a difference between the soul and spirit.

Assuming that there is a difference between the two (i.e., that man's nature is tripartite), and that your spirit is the heavenly nature of man, is the soul the same thing as mind, as in personality, temperance, intelligence, conciseness, etc.?

  • 2
    To flaggers/VTCers, it seems to me that the scope of this question is obvious: it wants to know what the difference between mind and soul is to those who have the tripartite view of man. The tripartite view of man is one of two views of the Biblical view, so this question is looking for a doctrinal answer. Therefore I don't think there is a legitimate close reason. Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 1:59
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a question about definitions, which can be answered by any dictionary.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Mar 5, 2015 at 16:33

2 Answers 2


If you do an in depth study of the the Greek on 'soul' and 'spirit' they are essentially the same thing. However they are different is that one is viewed heavenward, and one earthward. The soul is the essential life of man ‘looking earthward’ and the ‘spirit’ that same principle of life breathed (like wind) into man from God, that can look towards and experience God. I say 'can look' because the whole spirit/soul, including mind, emotions and will, the higher, as well as lower powers of our nature, are the seat and subject of original sin. The 'natural man' is thereby disabled and made opposite to all spiritual good. Consequently the conflict of which the Scriptures speak between the higher and lower powers of nature,—is between nature and what is not nature, between the old and new man. The new principle is something supernatural communicated by the Spirit of God. The new man is called spiritual rather than soul-ual, because it is the essential nature of man looking heaven ward called 'spirit'.

You can see these ideas at work in this passage. Just as the soul 'thinks' so the spirit 'thinks'. That is, mind is both representative of the soul and the spirit as part of our essential life. The spirit is not of a different nature of the soul, the are the same, only under a different perspective. Only your spirit/soul knows your thoughts. Also receiving the Spirit of Christ is the same as receiving the mind of Christ:

For who knows a person 's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “ For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:11-16, ESV)

For a deeper analysis of the subject one can refer to trichotomous versus dichotomous views of man.


We tend to think of the soul as the eternal part of a person, as opposed to his temporal part:

Matthew 10:28 (NET)
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The explanation is to be found in this Free Grace article.

As a matter of fact,the Greek word psyche,here translated soul,has within its fields of meaning both life and person (see The GES News,Dec 91,p 2).

Also see here.

For example,the Lord Jesus said,"The Son of Man did not come to be served,but to serve,and to give His life [Gk psyche] a ransom for many" (Matt 20:28). Clearly Jesus Christ did not give up His eternal soul.

The article was written to refute the view that good works saved the believer's soul.

James 1:21 NET So put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the message implanted within you, which is able to save your souls.

Wilkins, author of the article, wished to show that "save your soul" could mean "preserve your life".

The categories to differentiate between are spirit and soul . Some explain the first as what you have, the last as what you are. IOW, God could reward you for having a beautiful soul, character, but not for having a long life (long being the desirable quality in generic lives), since it is what He Himself gives.

Similarly, the mind is what He gives, but the soul is what you make of Life, when used to mean person. It could also be what God preserves, when used to mean life opportunity, permission to continue living.

  • Hi, faithalone.org/news/y1991/91dec2.html was a deadlink when I checked now.
    – Sinker
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 13:51
  • Hi, I edited the answer to convey what the Link attempted to do, as well as tried to clarify the proper use of the word "soul" in contrast to spirit. Hope the added material helps.
    – Footwasher
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 6:48

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