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Is it well with your soul?



Have you ever had someone ask you, "Is it well with your soul?"  Or maybe you have asked someone that very question.

I have always been taken aback by this question.  I confess I don't often think about my soul as an active part of me that needs to be addressed, but more as God's jurisdiction.  My focus is more on my physical, emotional and spiritual wellness.

The word soul in the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew word nepes.  The Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology states that the two most common renderings of nepes is "soul" and "life".   Nepes in the Old Testament never refers to an "immortal soul", but to simply the life principle or living being.  The Bakers Evangelical Dictionary went on to say that the Old Testament shows a mortal as a living soul rather than having a soul.  Instead of splitting a person into three parts, Hebrew thought sees a unified being; but one that is profoundly complex, a psychological being.

The Bakers Evangelical Dictionary stated that in the New Testament the counterpart to nepes  is psyche which appears infrequently, but usually denotes life.  Some usages of psyche in the New Testament shows expression of emotion such as grief and anguish...

Then He said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death..."
Matthew 26:38

Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour?  No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  
John 12:27

My soul is in deep anguish.  How long, Lord, how long?  
Psalm 6:3

Why, my soul are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.  
Psalm 43:5

and of exultation and pleasure...

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  
Luke 1:46

He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul.  Psalm 23:2

Before researching the meaning of the word soul, I had read the verses above and was quite struck by the emotions described.  The Holy Spirit then brought the following verse to mind.

...but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words.  
Romans 8:26

The Holy Spirit is often described in Scripture as having deep emotion, like the verse above.

Curious about the relationship of emotion with the soul, and the soul with the Holy Spirit, I sought to find answers.

I came across a blog called Holding to Truth where a post was written called, What is the Difference between the Soul and Spirit of Man written by Tom Smith.  He shared some interesting insights...

He discussed the two schools of thought regarding whether we are made up of three parts, body, soul and spirit as the following verse seems to indicate:

And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit, soul and
body be preserved complete.  
1 Thessalonians 5:23 

Or, the thought that the soul and spirit are practically the same.  However, he feels that the following verse would say otherwise:

For the Word of God is living and active, sharper then any double-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow.  
Hebrews 4:12

Mr. Smith broke down body, soul and spirit as follows:

"Our body is the outer part containing our five senses with which we contact all the things of the physical, material realm."

"Our soul is our inner part containing our mind, emotion and will with which we contact the things of the psychological realm."

"The spirit, our innermost part with which we contact God and substantiate all the things of the spiritual realm."

I found Mr. Smith's description of the soul quite interesting in light of the observations I had made regarding the emotion described when the soul is referenced in Scripture; from feeling anguish to exultation...

But I was still left wondering about the Holy Spirit's emotion and possible connection with our soul's deep emotional activity.

The following excerpt from the Vine's Dictionary explains Hebrews 4:12; dividing of soul and spirit...

"The language of Hebrews 4:12 suggests the extreme difficulty of distinguishing between the soul and spirit, alike in their nature and in their activities.  Generally speaking, the spirit is the higher, the soul the lower element.  The spirit may be recognized as the life principle bestowed on man by God, the soul as the resulting life constituted in the individual, the body being the material organism animated by soul and spirit..."

The Vine's Dictionary's description of the soul was very helpful in answering my questions about the soul, it's origin, activity and relationship to the Holy Spirit.

I found this word study interesting as it brought to light how we are created to be emotional beings; not in the bad sense of the word, but in the passionate sense.  Just as the Holy Spirit is passionate about us, God created His children to be passionate about Him.

When Horatio G. Spafford penned, It is Well with My Soul, it was while he was in a ship stopped over the area of the ocean where his four daughters had perished tragically in an earlier shipwreck...

"When peace like a river attendeth my way, 
When sorrow like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul..."

Whatever school of thought one might have about the soul and the spirit, Scripture has shown us that the soul's activity does indeed work with the emotions of our hearts and minds.  The peace of Christ which guards the believer's soul, is the same peace which moved Horatio Spafford, in the midst of inconceivable loss, to say "It is well with my soul..."

And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:7

Is it well with your soul?  

God's Word tell us, indeed it is!  Amen!  Amen!

And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit, 
soul and body be preserved complete.  
1 Thessalonians 5:23 


This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,
 and one which enters within the veil.  
Hebrews 6:19

 Our soul waits for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. 
 Psalm 33:20

Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from Him.
Psalm 62:5


I don't know about you, but I found this study quite interesting and learned a lot!  It just goes to show that when we think we know something about a certain subject,  there is always something new to learn.

Please share your thoughts.  I'd be curious if any of you have ever pondered the soul.  :-) 


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Comments

  1. Love these verses! Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post & for visiting me at Doorkeeper. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Renee,

      Your welcome! 😊

      Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  2. Great post! I love the I Thessalonians 5:23 verse...I often pray it...May the Spirit of Christ who dwells in the innermost part of me take authority over my soul--the seat of my emotions, and my body--my fleshly desires and appetites...many blessings to you ❤️

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    Replies
    1. Beth,

      Thank you.

      And thank you for sharing your prayer based on the verse in Thessalonians. Love it!

      Delete
  3. So much to think about here! I'm glad I linked up near you at Soli Deo Gloria!

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    Replies
    1. Kristin,

      I love when the Lord does that! His Word is so rich with so much to discover as we delve deeper.

      Thanks for visiting! 😊

      Delete
  4. Karen I love to dig deeper! Thank you for opening up this up for me. ~~your neighbor at TestimonyTuesday

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    Replies
    1. Carmen, Your very welcome! Praising God for His insights. :-)

      Thanks for visiting!

      Delete
  5. YES! I have pondered this before and wondered exactly what the difference is in the soul and the spirit. This has really helped me to see what this means. I can't thank you enough for delving into it and explaining it so understandably here! You are a consistent blessing to me. God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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    Replies
    1. Awe. Your welcome Cheryl! Praising God for His insights!

      Thank you so much for always offering encouragement and kind words.

      I have been blessed by your visit. :-)

      Delete
  6. Karen,
    Thank you for sharing such an informative and inspirational post! I truly enjoyed reading it and I love all the scripture verses. I think my favorite of all time is from Psalm 23. I am glad to say that by the grace of God..it is well with my soul! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts while digging deeper. Something we all need to do. God bless

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    Replies
    1. Horace, Thank you for your very kind words.

      Glad to hear it is well with your soul! :-)

      Blessings to you too!

      Delete
  7. Very deep and meaningful this post. I love the music to it. Nice touch.

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    Replies
    1. Michelle, Thank you for your kind words.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the hymns! :-)

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  8. Karen, it is not often we would see a blogger pondering over soul and spirit but I'm glad you did. It is good to look closely and see what the bible says. Dropping in from Women With Intention.

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    Replies
    1. Sandra,

      The Lord has a way of doing this with me, but as of Sunday morning, I didn't know what I was going to blog about. {And I write usually on Sunday evenings. I think He does this so that I am totally dependent on Him for my content. :-) } The praise team at church sang "It is Well with my Soul" and then the Lord placed this subject on my heart to write about.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. It's an interesting study. I don't think I have pondered it that thoroughly before. Thanks for sharing. I do believe the Holy Spirit shares our deepest emotions as shown by Rom. 8:26. I'm so thankful He loves us so much that we can pray even without words and He knows what we mean. Blessings to you! I'm visiting from #GiveMeGrace.

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    Replies
    1. Gayl, Indeed! What a very special and intimate relationship He has designed to have with us. He loves us THAT much!

      Thanks so much for visiting!

      Delete
  10. I sing the words, "It is well, with my soul", but I question, what really does that mean. Thank you for sharing these words at Weekend Whispers. I look forward to studying these scriptures more.

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    1. Barbie, There is just something about that hymn that brings out such emotion in me.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! :-)

      Delete
  11. One of the reason I enjoy your blog is the scriptures you share.
    It is well with my soul.

    Thank you for sharing the post about soul and spirit. I also find it interesting.

    Thank you Karen.
    God bless

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    Replies
    1. Ifeoma, You are so kind. The Holy Spirit brings the Scriptures to my remembrance as I pray and type through my blog posts.

      Praising God that it is indeed well with your soul. :-)

      Delete

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