John 4:24 (KJV) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Gospel of John tells us that God is a Spirit. What about the angels? According to the Bible, what are angels? Are they also spirits or something else?

  • 1
    Both NIV and NASB lack the non-definitive article 'a'; they simply say "God is spirit" with the NASB giving a note "or Spirit". I think if you focus your question more on the text and what it means you will get more meaningful answers on the hermeneutics site. Or maybe I am having trouble understanding your question.
    – user3961
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 6:55
  • To me, saying "a spirit" implies an individual kind of thing. Saying only "spirit" implies a description of being. It is the difference between definitions 1 and 4 found here.
    – user3961
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 7:09
  • 1
    @fredsbend The question is actually not on God, but on angels. With the knowledge that God is spirit, and since angels are not human, it simply assumes that angels might also be spirits.
    – Mawia
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 7:13
  • Well, the differences in these translations leaves me confused. I'm eager to see what answers you get. Perhaps I will post on hermeneutics to get to the bottom of that.
    – user3961
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 7:16
  • 1
    Some Christians think that angels are not merely spirits; as such this question is too broad/primarily opinion-based. See Do angels possess 1) a body, soul and spirit, 2) a soul and spirit or 3) just a spirit? Commented Aug 17, 2016 at 17:08

2 Answers 2


When Abraham's servant went to find a wife for Isaac (Gen 24), he had angelic influence (no mention of the angel physically accompanying him). The angels who came to escort Lot and his family out of town were corporeal as they ate dinner (Gen 19:3). In Matthew 2:13, an angel appears to Joseph in a dream. However, an angel was able to physically kick Peter in the side to wake him up (Acts 12:7). The author of Hebrews says we may entertain angels (13:2) which suggests a physical form.

It would seem angels have the ability to assume both corporeal and non corporeal forms as they see fit, suggesting they have both physical and spirit attributes.


From the Cathecism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls "angels" is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.

CCC 329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'" With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they "always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven" they are the "mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word".

CCC 330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendor of their glory bears witness.

It should be noted that the ability for people to interact and see angels constitutes a miracle. Being a miracle, one cannot produce conclusions of the angelic nature from such events.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .