Grace Bible Church

Preaching the Living Word through the Written Word












Mk 12:30, 1/18/15

Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming

Pastor Daryl Hilbert




A.    The soul can long, yearn, desire, and it can thirst. It can be strengthened, restored, refreshed, satisfied, delighted, lifted up, or sustained.

B.    The soul can be unsettled or enticed. It can be deeply grieved, pierced, in pain, in anguish, afflicted, weep, sob in secret, crushed, sunken, distressed, and in despair.

C.    It can also be won, righteous, delivered, redeemed, saved, sanctified, and preserved.

D.    The soul can bless or be embittered, quieted or troubled, it can have rest or be weary, be anchored or unstable, made fat or thirst, bold or faint, hate or love. It can be comforted or refuse comfort, composed or dismayed, it can speak or be spoken to. Something can be sweet to it or abhorrent. It can have wisdom or it can sin. Finally, the soul can love God entirely.




A.    The Greek word for “soul” is psuchē. Its literal meaning is to “blow or breath.” From this, the soul is seen as the immaterial part of man, i.e. “breath-soul.” From the Old Testament, the “soul” (Hb. nephesh) has several shades of general meanings such as living being, life, self, or person. It also contains desires, appetites, emotions, and passions. Primarily, the soul is the result of God’s breath of life that caused man to be a living being (nephesh “soul,” Ge 2:7). The soul encompassed everything that God intended in creating man in His image (rational, emotion, will, conscience, morality, and the ability to worship God). At death, the soul departs from man’s body (Ge 35:18).

B.    The New Testament reveals some similarities and differences in its use of the word “soul” (psyche). It denotes the whole individual person (Acts 2:41; 27:37). But it can refer to the immaterial part of man only (Matt. 10:28). It also designates people in the intermediate state between death and the resurrection of the body (Rev. 6:9).…To sum up: soul can mean the whole person, alive or after death; it can designate the immaterial part of a person with its many feelings and emotions; and it is an important focus of spiritual redemption and growth (Ryrie, Basic Theology).

C.    The human soul is a living, vivifying, incorporeal, spiritual substance possessing reason and adapted to the governing of the body (Augustine, The Concept of the Human Soul).




A.    The position that views man’s constitution as two parts, “body and soul,” is called Dichotomy (“cut in two”). In this view, the spirit, heart, conscience, and will are aspects of the soul.

1.     The nonmaterial part of man does have myriad capacities to respond to God, Satan, and the world’s many stimuli, but it is untenable to arbitrarily separate the spirit from the soul. The two terms are used interchangeably in Scripture (cf. Heb. 6:19; 10:39; 1 Peter 2:11; 2 Peter 2:8). Spirit and soul are familiar and common synonyms that Paul used to emphasize the depth and scope of sanctification (MacArthur in 1Th 5:23).

B.    The position that views man’s constitution as three parts, “body, soul, and spirit,” is called Trichotomy (“cut in three”). In this view, the spirit is a separate entity in man. Those who hold to Trichotomy maintain that the soul is “self-conscious” while the spirit is “God-conscious.”

1.     Trichotomists nevertheless usually propose that spirit is man’s Godward consciousness and soul is his earthward consciousness; however, neither the Greek usage of spirit (pneuma) nor of soul (psuchē) sustains that proposition (MacArthur in 1Th 5:23).

C.    Even though a few verses appear to make a distinction between soul and spirit (1Th 5:23; Heb 4:12), the problem is that Scripture also gives a “God-consciousness” to the soul. Thus, the soul can be saved (Ps 34:22; 71:23; Jm 1:21; 1Pe 1:8-9), pray (Ps 25:1; Ps 86:4; Ps 143:8), and worship (Ps 35:9; 42:1-2; Psa 84:2; Lk 1:46). Even God refers to Himself as having a soul (1Sa 2:35; Heb 10:38 cf. Hab 2:4). Furthermore, given the Trichotomy view, one would assume that God would have said to love Him with all your “spirit” instead of your “soul” (Mk 12:30).

D.    Perhaps the debate could be settled in understanding that when speaking of man as a whole (material and immaterial), Scripture often utilizes the term “soul.” On the other hand, when speaking of man’s immaterial part, “spirit” is sometimes employed. The emphasis on the term “spirit” in the NT could be to distinguish the “general life” of the soul from the “spiritual life” of the soul through the indwelling Holy Spirit.




A.    Worship of the Soul

1.     When man was created, his soul was created in innocence without sin. When man sinned, his soul was tainted by sin. Therefore, every area of the soul of man such as his heart, spirit, conscience, mind, and will was also affected by sin.

2.     As a result, man experienced physical and spiritual death. Death is better understood as “separation.” When man dies physically, his immortal soul is separated from his body. When man died spiritually, his soul was separated from a relationship with God. If man does not repent and trust in Christ’s finished work on the cross, his soul will be eternally separated from the presence of God. So, we read in Ezekiel 18:4, the soul who sins will die (cf. Mt 10:28).

3.     Christ came to save the sinner’s soul (Jm 1:21; 1Pe 1:8-9). When a sinner places his faith in Christ’s atonement and resurrection, his soul is saved (including his body in the resurrection, i.e. the whole person). He is forgiven and given eternal life and the spiritual part of the soul is made alive (cf. Ep 2:1-6).

4.     The believer’s soul is then able to worship God: thirst for God (Ps 42:1-2), satisfied by God (Jer 31:14), anchored in God’s promises (Heb 6:19), rejoice in God (Ps 35:9; 84:2; Ps 108:1), exalt God (Lk 1:46), and most importantly, love God (Mk 12:30).

B.    Encouragement of the Soul

1.     It is no surprise that the soul can be troubled either from the difficulties of life (Ps 31:7; Ps 124:4-5; Ps 143:3-4, 11; Pr 21:23) or because of its own sin (Ps 41:4).

2.     The believer’s soul can be encouraged.

a)    The soul can be encouraged and restored by the Word of God (Ps 19:7; Ps 119:20, 25).

b)    The soul can be encouraged by prayer (1Sa 1:15; lifting up the soul - Ps 25:1; Ps 86:4; Ps 143:8).

c)     The soul can be encouraged by praising God (Ps 103:1; Ps 104:1; Ps 146:1).

d)    The soul can be encouraged by other believers (1Sa 18:1).

e)     The soul can encourage itself (Ps 42:5, 11; 43:5; 62:5; 116:7).

f)     The conclusion is that the soul can be encouraged and cultivated to love God (cf. Dt 6:5; 10:12; 11:13; 30:6; Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27).

C.    Sacrificial Life

1.     Forfeit the World for the Soul (Mar 8:36-37)

a)    This is an exhortation to unbelievers to place the highest value on the soul by trusting Christ as Savior. Even if one gains the whole world, it does not compare to the soul’s eternal life with Christ. Only Christ can give life, peace, and rest for the soul (Mt 11:29).

b)    But there is also an application for believers. Having trusted in Christ, the believer’s soul must love the Lord and live for Him. Nothing else in life can compare to this.

2.     Give up the Soul for Christ (Re 6:9; 20:4)

a)    In Re 6:9 and Re 20:4, we observe souls in heaven who were willing to be martyred for Christ, the gospel, and His Word.

b)    When we lose our lives (soul) for Christ, we actually gain our lives (soul) (Mt 16:25; Lk 21:12-19).

c)     The believer entrusts his life to Christ who is the Guardian of his soul (1Pe 2:25) who sanctifies and preserves it (1Th 5:23).




Grace Bible Church · 4000 E. Collins Rd ·  PO Box #3762 · Gillette, WY · (307) 686-1516