The Bible affirms in more than one place that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV

A prominent understanding of mankind is that we have a body, soul and spirit. So, my question is to understand in what sense does the Holy Spirit indwell the believer. Is it in all three aspects? The body, soul and spirit? Or is it just perhaps the soul and spirit or just the spirit?

The body still seems to be under the curse at this point, since it will die, yet the verse immediately after the one above uses the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as an exhortation for the believer to glorify God with his or her body.

I understand that this question should be targeted to a specific tradition. I am most interested in an evangelical perspective. I don't even know, though, if this has ever been addressed in the Catholic or Orthodox traditions. If so, perhaps a separate question targeted at those traditions would be appropriate.

  • This would appear to be an example where an opinion based question is not overrun by opinion based answers. If the answer provided does not meet any of your expectation then perhaps your question could be more specific?
    – Rick
    Aug 16, 2013 at 11:42
  • This question makes several assumptions: 1) a tripartite view of humanity (which is stated, so that is fine); 2) the theological notion of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (which is also fine, but should be stated in association with a specific theological tradition); and 3) the effects of the fall / original sin ("the body still seems to be under the curse...."), which also should probably be stated in association with a specific theological tradition.
    – Dan
    Oct 4, 2013 at 6:30
  • Also, the invitation at the end for Roman Catholic and Orthodox answers makes this question even more nebulous, as many of these assumptions are not shared by these traditions. For now I think this is a little too broad and will attract poor answers as written.
    – Dan
    Oct 4, 2013 at 6:33

2 Answers 2


Tripartite? Sometimes.

Scripture does imply a "body, soul, and spirit" (3 parts) in some places. However, in other places it's "heart, soul, mind, and strength" (4 parts). In other places it is simply "body and soul" or "body and spirit" (2 parts), though "spirit and soul" are distinguished in other places. Of course there are also many places that simply refer to the man as a single entity.

The key of course is context. What is the author talking about in the passage you're examining? Here are a few passages that may help you along in your study:

Relationship between the Holy Spirit and...

Body - as you noticed, your body is a "temple" of the Holy Spirit. This is similar to the picture we have of our bodies being a "tent" or "dwelling" for us (i.e. our non-physical self.)

Mind - The Scriptures seem to exhort believers to "set their minds on the Spirit." (I'm thinking here about Romans 8:5-6 and 1 Cor. 14:14-15.) This leads me to believe the mind is perhaps the "attention" of the person, and not a location where the Spirit dwells.

Soul - In Luke 2:35 it would seem that the soul is where the "thoughts of the heart" are found.

Spirit - Romans 8:16 seems to paint a picture of the Spirit at work alongside our spirit, rather than "from within."

...again, it is crucial to study each passage carefully and determine what the author is trying to communicate, but hopefully I have given you enough material to help you study and explore the topic more for yourself.


To show that the three parts are categories to the whole. "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." -1 Thessalonians 5:23

The Emotional Attitude(Spirit), The Mind and Thoughts(Soul), The Physical Body(Body)

The undisciplined Spirit ranges wildly back and forth between good moods and bad moods. This is because the undisciplined mind thinks in a manner of good and bad (aka: the knowledge of good and evil).

The three parts are in unity with each other. The mind is like the rudder, if focused on things that create anger. Then the attitude, the whole spirit becomes angry. Then the physical body vibrates and display's that which is projected from the Spirit. Yet if the mind is focused on good things then the spirits become full of joy, and joy is displayed in the body.

The analogy can be adjusted to that of a garden, even the smallest thought can grow and cause the spirit to adjust manifesting itself into the physical. But thoughts do not always have the power of changing your spirit. This is a power taught from Jesus.

You see throughout the day you may have intentions of planting good seed in your mind, the enemy may plant weeds into your mind (Matt 13:24-30). So since the bad seed can enter into our mind what are we to do of it. First we are not to pull out the weed, we are not to pull the thought out of our mind (Matt 13:29). Instead we are to bind them and separate ourselves from them. Then his angels will come into your mind and throw those thoughts into the fire, then the good thoughts will continue on towards the spirit to grow fruit.

Even in psychology we have evidence that anger follows after denial in the stages of grief. So faith in God prevents both anger and depression, and as seen even in the stages of grief, acceptance or forgiveness returns one to the vine of joy.

Therefore the Holy Spirit the attitude and emotion of Love can be obtained by all through faith. And we have all been called to separate ourselves from these negative emotions. For anger and wrath are of the Flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). The Flesh is opposite from the Spirit (Galatians 5:17). So we should all cloth ourselves with the spirit (Romans 13:14). For if we fail to wear our wedding clothes, we risk being cast out into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of the teeth (Matthew 22:1-14) or in today's expression depression and anger.

So does the indwelling of the Holy Spirit encompass a person's body, soul and spirit? Yes, when there is faith.

Warning though, there is a danger of allowing angry words to escape your lips. You might feel better after you have said your peace and your house is all clean. The evil spirit may gather friends and make your final condition even worse (Luke 11:24-26).

Lucky for use we have Jesus. For anyone who hates themselves will fall. But if those demon weeds are driven out by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. If you stand at the ready and guard your emotions, then your respect and possession of wonderful memories are safe, but when someone someone stronger attacks and overpowers, taking away the excuses that you where trusting in then the spoils of plunder and the value of yourself has fallen.

Whoever is not with Jesus is against Jesus, and whoever does not gather the weeds for Jesus scatters his emotions. By this you can know if you have truly been saved (Luke 11, Mark 4). Amen


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