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What is the Human Soul?

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 2:7 KJV)

In studying the scriptures and walking with God, I have discovered that understanding the soul is probably the most critical practical truth for our daily spiritual lives. Unfortunately, this subject has been blurry, controversial, and confusing. Before proceeding any further, let me discuss a necessary simple but profound prerequisite for the correct understanding of the human soul: the term soul itself

The scriptures use the term soul to refer to different things. Failure to recognize this simple truth can create all sorts of misunderstandings. For example, the term soul can be used to refer to the disembodied human spirit in heaven( Rev. 20:4) or the part of our inner life distinct from the spirit ( 1 Thes. 5:23). In this devotional, I discuss the soul as different from the spirit and body.

The human soul is that part of our being that defines our personhood similar to God’s person( thoughts, emotions, and will) and has a  spirit and a  body. Genesis 2:7, where it all began, is probably the best scripture to understand the soul and how it differs from the spirit. This scripture reveals an astonishing truth: God created the spirit and the body, and when He brought both together, the soul came into existence—God never created the soul per see. 

The soul is the person that became conscious of self,  with inner capacities of thought, emotions, and will and a body that could move around and an invisible(imperceptible) life-breath. This person is what Genesis 2:7 refers to as the living soul. This person dies when the spirit leaves the body, yet his spirit by itself is capable of a different kind of existence—a pneumatic or spiritual existence, which I will not discuss here.

Since it is difficult to explain this complicated subject in a brief devotional fully, I will do a mini-series for the next few days on this subject and get into more details during Deshen Live Bible Study this week. I have also included links from prior teachings on this subject to help you understand this essential biblical truth.

Read more: What is the Human Spirit?

Watch: The Anatomy & Physiology of the Soul.


What is the soul? In what sense is the soul the same as the spirit and distinct from it?

Apply the Word

I encourage you to study this subject carefully. Its practical implications are enormous. Please use the links below and reach out to me with any questions.


Ask the Father to give you an understanding of the human spirit and soul. 

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