I have asked a similar question on Philosophy.SE.


Reading Arthur W. Pink's pamphlet Regeneration: Or, the New Birth recently, I was surprised to find that he had a tripartite view of man; and even more surprised to see the nuance in the way he related this to the doctrine of regeneration.

He says, "Man was a tri-partite being" before the Fall. But the Fall "does not mean that either his spirit or soul, or any part thereof, ceased to be, for in Scripture 'death' never signifies annihilation, but is a state of separation." (p. 16 in my copy, which is printed by the Bible Truth Depot, Swengel, Pa.)

But he goes on to say (referencing Galatians 5 and similar passages), "The 'flesh' refers to the degenerate state of man's spirit and soul and body, as the 'spirit' refers to the regenerate state of the spirit and soul—the regeneration of the body being yet future." (18, italics original) This would be a tripartite view much more palatable to those who hold to bipartite view. (The tripartite theory I am more familiar with, associated with Pentecostalism, teaches that at regeneration the spirit is regenerated but not the soul.)


In what works does Pink deal with this doctrine further? The only other work I've read by him is The Attributes of God. How does he distinguish between the soul and the spirit, and what functions does he ascribe to each? What other theologians would agree with this brand of tripartite anthropology?

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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! Great question too.
    – Caleb
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 10:48
  • I don't know enough to answer this (I am planning on reading about it though) but the tripartite theory of man is not unique to Pink - searching for "threefold nature of man" might help you some. Hope you get some good answers on this! Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 4:38
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    Here are two links to books chapters on Google that tackle this issue : Lecture in Systematic Theology by Henry C. Thiessen Systematic Theology by Wayne Grundem I know that it is not a valid answer, but the links were not created correctly in the comments. Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


Other places Pink mentions his tripartite view of man are:

  1. Gleanings in Genesis, p. 107

    "Is it not clear then that the ark divided into three stories more than hints at our threefold salvation in Christ? The salvation which we have in Christ is a threefold one, and that in a double sense. It is a salvation which embraces each part of our threefold constitution, making provision for the redemption of our spirit, and soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23); and further, our salvation is a three tense salvation—we have been saved from the penalty of sin, are being saved from the power of sin, we shall yet be saved from the presence of sin."

  2. The Great Change

    “Man was created a tripartite being, composed of “spirit and soul and body” (I Thess. v, 23). That is unmistakably implied in the Divine account of his creation: “God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” (Gen. i, 26); the Triune God made man a trinity in unity! And when man fell, he continued to be a tripartite being: no part of his being was extinguished, no faculty was lost when he apostatized from God. It cannot be insisted upon too strongly that no essential element of man’s original constitution was forfeited, no component part of his complex makeup was annihilated at the Fall, for multitudes are seeking to hide behind a misconception at this very point. They would fain believe that man lost some vital part of his nature when Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, and that it is the absence of this part in his descendants which explains (and excuses!) all their failures.”

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    Welcome to the site. We are happy to have your participation. Please see the faq and get a good idea of how the site works and what makes good questions and good answers. I don't know enough about this subject to tell, but there is plenty of content and you apparently quote Pink directly; this is good.
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 6:44

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