I am not asking for an opinion, what I am asking is that you evaluate my interpretation of the Scriptures and show me where I have misinterpreted them.

In the following scriptures; it is indicated that God has a soul:

Matthew 12:18 through 21 KJV

18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.

19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.

21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

And in the following scripture Jesus also indicates that he has a soul:

Matthew 26:38 KJV

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

And unless I am misreading it; Jesus is also indicating that that soul could die. And in the following scriptures he apparently is saying that the soul is the most valuable asset that a man has:

Matthew 16:26 KJV

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

and in the following scripture He is saying that there is nothing that man could give to redeem his soul:

Mark 8:37 KJV

Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Jesus knew and had told his disciples that he would only be dead for three days:

Matthew 16:21, 17:23 and 20:19 KJV

16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

In the following scriptures Jesus is preparing for the crucifixion:

Mat 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Mat 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

And in Luke we see:

Luk 22:43 and 44 KJV

43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

I have often wondered why such an emotional reaction when he was only to be dead for three days, but it is understandable if he were giving up an eternal soul to destruction. And recently, I began to wonder did the human part of Jesus have a soul separate from that of the Deity, and began to research all Scriptures I could find concerning Jesus, life and the Soul. In my research these are some of the more cogent Scriptures I considered.

1. All of those mentioned above.

2. those following:

All Scriptures are from the King James version of the Bible.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Considering these two verses, it seemed that what was being said was that the breath of life was referring to the soul, and that the death inferred was the death of the soul, rather than, or including physical death. and I considered:

John 10:28 through 30

28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

30 I and my Father are one.

That seemed to be a little beguiling since other Scriptures had indicated that the soul was an eternal being which only God could destroy:

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

I was further intrigued by:

John 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

There had to be some reason which is obscure why he needed to ascend to the father before anyone touched him.

Finally I wondered about the following:

Luke 22:37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

  • 2
    I think the question should be revised to properly fit the description. Maybe the question should be: Did I interpret these verses correctly? or Is my understanding of these verses regarding Jesus' sacrifice sufficient?
    – Double U
    Jan 25 '14 at 16:02
  • 1
    Two hints about the SE comment system: 1) When commenting on posts don't bother trying to add @username at all if you are writing to the attention of the post author. They are always notified anyway. 2) When you do add a reference, don't put a space between @ and username or it won't work as it is supposed to.
    – Caleb
    Jan 31 '14 at 17:48
  • The pair of expressions in Matthew 26:38 and Matthew 12:18 (without all the other stuff in this question) might make a good question on Biblical Hermeneutics. You could ask just about whether 'my soul' in each is an expression about feelings in the original Greek or whether they indicate anything about the nature of the being. Since they are a pair of similar expressions from the same author I thing you could fit them in a single question.
    – Caleb
    Feb 1 '14 at 10:31
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    To be on-topic here, this would need to either ask for a specific denominational position or ask for the Biblical basis of a particular belief or practice. It does neither, despite the opening disclaimer, it is still primarily opinion-based, and thus off-topic. Jan 9 '16 at 15:59
  • Lee is certainly correct, but I would add that in this case a "denominational position" is not strictly necessary if a position on the nature of the atonement (such as penal substitutionary atonement) is specified. Jan 9 '16 at 19:57

what I am asking is that you evaluate my interpretation of the Scriptures

Faulty / Insufficient.

The conclusions you have drawn from these verses are quite different from what most Christian scholars through the ages have concluded. In fact they are almost completely novel. Arriving at a novel conclusion not held by your own or any other major tradition is usually a pretty good sign that you've done something wrong. This is one of the the main reasons studying history and general theology is an important accompaniment to reading the Scriptures. As humans we are individually far too prone to er for our own judgment in isolation to be a reliable guide.

The related issues raised by this question have of course been discussed forward and backwards many times in the course of history. Many of the issues have never been universally agreed upon (e.g. does man have a unitary, bipartite, or tripartite nature?) and the various implications of different positions have been drawn out in different ways by different frameworks. What's notably different about your question is you are trying to solve detail that must come late the chain training without having laid the necessary interpretive groundwork to even use the related terminology. It's sort of like trying to select a windshield for purchase before figuring out whether you own a motorcycle or a car.

I think the first major place your reasoning jumped the tracks would be in not taking into account the basic historical and grammatical context of the verses you include in your search. This is leg work that you need to do early on. In this case skipping this step left you fitting together pieces that don't even belong to the same puzzle--a common enough problem you don't actually follow a disciplined step of examining the language and context involved.

For example, in the expressions "in whom my soul is well pleased" and "my soul is exceeding sorrowful" you assume that the word soul refers to something specific that the original language likely did not intend. If I were to say "that story broke my heart", you would not call up the closest hospital looking for a cardiologist to fix the organ pumping blood through my body. You instinctively understand that I am using an expression to tell you something about how deeply my emotions were effected. This is easy if you are fluent in English. Translate that into a language that uses different idioms and they might take you all wrong. Likewise if you do an English word search for "soul" in the Bible, a large portion of the references are not even going to be about your soul and you will be missing several that are! You should be much, much more cautious about linking verses in the way this question does before you have determined what the author of each was trying to communicate. Until you strike on a passage that is specifically trying to teach something about the physical vs. non-physical nature of man, don't try to use it to interpret other verses. This error is what must commonly leads to bogus proof-texting.

We do use Scripture to interpret Scripture, but it must be done by using passages that are clear on a subject to understand ones that are not. Using ones that are not even about a subject to interpret other ones is not a sound plan. Having arrived at a novel conclusion about a significant theological issue should send you back to check your methodology.

Using the King James translation here has certainly not set you up for success. I suggest you research and find a replacement (or at least a companion) translation to use in your studies. Looking through your list there appear to be several verses where you have tripped up for no other reason than because of the changing nuances of English. The KJV is actually a very faithful and remarkable translation. However, it was written to the understanding of a people speaking a language that you do not speak. You speak a derivative of that language, granted, but not the same one. Enough has changed that unless you are a period language expert, the KJV rendering is often going to lead you astray rather than towards the truth.

As far as the other specifics of your question, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to attempt an answer speaking for all of Christianity when it is not even apparent what the question would be (if any) given the lack of interpretive groundwork. But --as a gross generalization-- I think the answer would be no: the main thing happening on the cross was not especially related to Jesus soul. What it was is a subject for another question (or venue).

  • @ Caleb I have just begun a study of hermeneutics and am just starting to realize how much it affects Scripture. Thanks for the good advice.
    – BYE
    Jan 31 '14 at 17:26
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    @CecilBeckum Good luck with your studies. It's not always a walk in the park, but it is always worth the effort.
    – Caleb
    Jan 31 '14 at 17:28

As Caleb pointed out, most of these verses you have quoted aren’t actually using the word “soul” to refer to the same theological concept you’re trying to get at. As an addendum to that, I note that one reason for that discrepancy in usage is that you’ve selected a bunch of New Testament verses that are quoting the Septuagint. Matthew 12 is quoting Isaiah 42; Matthew 26 is quoting Psalm 42 (LXX 41); Matthew 16 and Mark 8 are quoting Psalm 49 (LXX 48). (The other NT passages you’ve quoted using that word appear to indeed be referring to the concept you’re interested in.)

The Septuagint is a translation from Hebrew and has certain peculiarities that arise from its subservience to the Hebrew in many portions, including the psalms. In Hebrew, the word for soul is nephesh. It has a much broader range than the English soul, and (as I recently learned), it can also be used as an emphatic pronoun, similar to English usage of the reflexive pronoun, e.g. “I myself...”. Although this is not the standard usage of the Greek psyche, to quote BDAG, a Greek lexicon (abbreviations expanded, transliteration added):

In various Semitic languages the reflexive relationship is paraphrased with נֶפֶשׁ [nephesh] .... the corresponding use of ψυχή [psyche] may be detected in certain passages in our literature, especially in quotes from the OT and in places where OT modes of expression have had considerable influence.

The broad semantic range of nephesh needs to be kept in mind when analyzing the use of psyche in passages that have their origins in Hebrew texts.


For one thing, while ψυχη (transliterated psuchḗ or psyche) is often translated soul as in the verses you have quoted, it is also just as often translated as life as in:

Matthew 10:39 (KJV) He that findeth his life shall lose it:and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

So for every verse where soul is used, try substituting life and see if it makes more sense. I know that this is not always the case, often soul really was the intended meaning of the word, but this I think is the source the of the confusion.

As for that final verse there is a similar confusion: τελοσ (transliterated telos) is definitely usually translated end, but it means "end" as in "fulfillment", or "aim" or "outcome" or "revenue" (taken from various verses in other translations), not "end" like annihilation.

Given this understanding and the fact that the rest of the verse is about "fulfilling" prophecy, I would go with most other translators (including those for the ESV) in choosing to translate telos as fulfillment in this verse rather than end.

Luke 22:37 (ESV) For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors.' For what is written about me has its fulfillment.

  • @ mellowfish 87 In my studies of the Bible I have made it a practice to check the original words used and compare that to the style and prior usage by the particular writer.
    – BYE
    Jan 28 '14 at 14:24
  • @CecilBeckum your question didn't indicate this, which is why I went to the Greek in my answer (you appeared to be relying on English word choice). I may be drawing from multiple authors, but since the Bible is internally consistent I don't think this is really a problem. I am not trying to absolutely define an exact meaning for the verse so much as give a hint of what the word means in general, which should help in understanding the verse.
    – mellowfish
    Jan 29 '14 at 21:59


If you define soul according to Genesis 2:7; which says:

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.

then something physical has to be part of the soul.

(the dust of the ground somehow becomes a living soul)

So, if the body really is at least one part of the soul, then Jesus really did sacrifice his soul (or at least part of his soul) to save ours.

  • Genesis 2:7 is literally the definition of soul. It is a creature with life. We are souls, God is a soul, my dog is a soul. And this definition alone should clear up all the questions the OP has.
    – Vincent
    Apr 7 '19 at 0:41

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