The Dividing of the Soul and Spirit

Stephen

Active member
Hebrews 4:12 is one verse in an extended argument by the author where the author shows the superiority of the son of God to various persons important to the Hebrew audience. The progression of the argument is:
1:1-1:3, the son is shown to be superior to the prophets.​
1:4-2:18, the son is shown to be superior to the angels​
3:1-3:6, the son is shown to be superior to Moses​
3:7-3:19, exhortation​
4:1-4:11, the son is shown to be superior to Joshua​
4:12+, the son is shown to be superior to Aaron (and the priesthood under the law)​

In the context of the author begins his argument regarding Christ versus Aaron by pointing out the greatest power of the new high priest versus the old high priest by saying:

4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

So what does this mean in that context to the intended audience? To a Hebrew audience steeped in the animal sacrifices, they would understand immediately that this is a reference back to the sacrifices and to the burnt offering in particular (Lev 1). The knife of Aaron is shown to be weak and ineffectual compared to our high priest. The knife of Aaron as Aaron could only divide up the organs for inspection. In contrast, Jesus as our high priest will cut open the sacrifice of our lives (Rom 12:1) and will look deep into us, our soul and spirit, our thoughts and attitudes, and all be laid bare as the burnt offering was, as it says in the next verse:

4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

In the burnt offering, everything was inspected for perfection on the outside (Lev 1:3), and also perfection on the inside (Lev 1:11-13) and if the animal had a defect that couldn't be seen before it was slaughtered, it was rejected rather than being offered to God. Under the law, Aaron had no ability to fix an imperfect sacrifice. The sacrifices under the law are either perfect or imperfect. In contrast, our great high priest has a very sharp knife, and he can separate the soul from the spirit, the imperfect from the perfect. He can fix our thoughts and attitudes. Jesus has the power to make our imperfect sacrifices perfect.

Which brings up the next point: What it is to divide soul from spirit? As 1st Corinthians 2 explains regarding a soul motivated person versus a spirit motivated person:

1 Cor 2:14 The natural (soul) person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

As our great high priest, he takes our living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) which is imperfect, he digs very deep, cuts us apart, and and makes us perfect before presenting it to God. He take our good, and removes our bad. He keeps the spiritual things, and removes the soulish things.

The author concludes, based on the great power of of our new high priest:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

And because our great high priest can make us perfect, let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence.
 

e v e

Active member
Hebrews 4:12 is one verse in an extended argument by the author where the author shows the superiority of the son of God to various persons important to the Hebrew audience. The progression of the argument is:
1:1-1:3, the son is shown to be superior to the prophets.​
1:4-2:18, the son is shown to be superior to the angels​
3:1-3:6, the son is shown to be superior to Moses​
3:7-3:19, exhortation​
4:1-4:11, the son is shown to be superior to Joshua​
4:12+, the son is shown to be superior to Aaron (and the priesthood under the law)​

In the context of the author begins his argument regarding Christ versus Aaron by pointing out the greatest power of the new high priest versus the old high priest by saying:

4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

So what does this mean in that context to the intended audience? To a Hebrew audience steeped in the animal sacrifices, they would understand immediately that this is a reference back to the sacrifices and to the burnt offering in particular (Lev 1). The knife of Aaron is shown to be weak and ineffectual compared to our high priest. The knife of Aaron as Aaron could only divide up the organs for inspection. In contrast, Jesus as our high priest will cut open the sacrifice of our lives (Rom 12:1) and will look deep into us, our soul and spirit, our thoughts and attitudes, and all be laid bare as the burnt offering was, as it says in the next verse:

4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

In the burnt offering, everything was inspected for perfection on the outside (Lev 1:3), and also perfection on the inside (Lev 1:11-13) and if the animal had a defect that couldn't be seen before it was slaughtered, it was rejected rather than being offered to God. Under the law, Aaron had no ability to fix an imperfect sacrifice. The sacrifices under the law are either perfect or imperfect. In contrast, our great high priest has a very sharp knife, and he can separate the soul from the spirit, the imperfect from the perfect. He can fix our thoughts and attitudes. Jesus has the power to make our imperfect sacrifices perfect.

Which brings up the next point: What it is to divide soul from spirit? As 1st Corinthians 2 explains regarding a soul motivated person versus a spirit motivated person:

1 Cor 2:14 The natural (soul) person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

As our great high priest, he takes our living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) which is imperfect, he digs very deep, cuts us apart, and and makes us perfect before presenting it to God. He take our good, and removes our bad. He keeps the spiritual things, and removes the soulish things.

The author concludes, based on the great power of of our new high priest:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

And because our great high priest can make us perfect, let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence.
the only part of a person that belongs to Him is the soul. Only the soul can go to Heaven...
the logic-thinking above, that you posted, comes from among others, Augustine... who preferred the mind (being a platonist.)

Augustine associated the soul to this earth, while elevating the mind.
He did all this even using platonic language and logic. He was a platonist through and through and a traitor to God.
All Augustine's "causal" logic structures, in his texts such as 'on the trinitate', 'on free will' text, and other texts,
always favor the mind and relegate the soul to a lower position. Why? Because he follows plato, as did Aquinas too,
as sycophant of aristotle.

The soul is the ONLY part of man that can come from Him, and can hear Him. The translation you are using is off and the conclusions wrong. I'm sorry.
 
Last edited:

TrevorL

Member
Greetings e.v.e,
The translation you are using is off and the conclusions wrong. I'm sorry.
Actually I agreed and enjoyed Stephen’s exposition. I will let him answer the part that he has stated and that you seem to dismiss.

I suggest that you look up the meaning of the word “natural” in a competent dictionary or lexicon as used in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that Stephen quoted, but in the following I will add the Strong’s numbers..
1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV): But the natural (S# 5591) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The same contrast between soul (natural) and spirit is found in 1 Corinthians 15:
1 Corinthians 15:40–50 (KJV): 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural (S# 5591) body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural (S# 5591) body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (S# 5590); the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (S# 5591); and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
Augustine associated the soul to this earth, while elevating the mind.
I am not interested in Augustine, though I thought he believed in an immortal soul or spirit that went to heaven at death. 1 Corinthians 15 teaches the resurrection, not immortal souls.

Kind regards
Trevor
 

Stephen

Active member
The translation you are using is off and the conclusions wrong. I'm sorry.

Do you have a preferred translation that reads any different?

I actually couldn't tell you which translation I used as they all say the same thing.
 

e v e

Active member
Do you have a preferred translation that reads any different?

I actually couldn't tell you which translation I used as they all say the same thing.
whatever you concluded about the soul is off, is the point.

The soul is the only part of person able to be saved and go to heaven.
 

e v e

Active member
Greetings e.v.e,

Actually I agreed and enjoyed Stephen’s exposition. I will let him answer the part that he has stated and that you seem to dismiss.

I suggest that you look up the meaning of the word “natural” in a competent dictionary or lexicon as used in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that Stephen quoted, but in the following I will add the Strong’s numbers..
1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV): But the natural (S# 5591) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The same contrast between soul (natural) and spirit is found in 1 Corinthians 15:
1 Corinthians 15:40–50 (KJV): 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural (S# 5591) body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural (S# 5591) body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (S# 5590); the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural (S# 5591); and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

I am not interested in Augustine, though I thought he believed in an immortal soul or spirit that went to heaven at death. 1 Corinthians 15 teaches the resurrection, not immortal souls.

Kind regards
Trevor
Trevor... thank you for the note.


the natural on this current earth includes: this body, its natural mind, and this every earth. None of it is from Him.
The Change is when his 144k are restored to their Eden body and nature. Not this one. The type of body and nature on this current earth is not His and is to perish.

the soul is not part of the natural of this world...

The soul belongs to Eden, which He created, and which was never upon this current earth.

What I read from Stephen was not in scripture, but rather an Roman overlay which is typical of much modern christianity interpretation.

e v e

(no periods)
 

TrevorL

Member
Greetings again e.v.e,
the natural on this current earth includes: this body, its natural mind, and this every earth. None of it is from Him.
The Change is when his 144k are restored to their Eden body and nature. Not this one. The type of body and nature on this current earth is not His and is to perish.
I find your answer a bit confusing. God created Adam and Eve, and after they sinned they still retained the same body, but there were changes in their mind and emotions as a direct result of their experience of sin, and they were sentenced to die. At the resurrection the faithful will have their bodies changed from mortality to immortality. The body will not perish, but be changed.

the soul is not part of the natural of this world... The soul belongs to Eden, which He created, and which was never upon this current earth.
Your definition is different to Genesis 2:7 and the use of the word “soul” throughout the Bible. Adam continued to a living soul after his sin.

Kind regards
Trevor
 
Hebrews 4:12 is one verse in an extended argument by the author where the author shows the superiority of the son of God to various persons important to the Hebrew audience. The progression of the argument is:
1:1-1:3, the son is shown to be superior to the prophets.​
1:4-2:18, the son is shown to be superior to the angels​
3:1-3:6, the son is shown to be superior to Moses​
3:7-3:19, exhortation​
4:1-4:11, the son is shown to be superior to Joshua​
4:12+, the son is shown to be superior to Aaron (and the priesthood under the law)​

In the context of the author begins his argument regarding Christ versus Aaron by pointing out the greatest power of the new high priest versus the old high priest by saying:

4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

So what does this mean in that context to the intended audience? To a Hebrew audience steeped in the animal sacrifices, they would understand immediately that this is a reference back to the sacrifices and to the burnt offering in particular (Lev 1). The knife of Aaron is shown to be weak and ineffectual compared to our high priest. The knife of Aaron as Aaron could only divide up the organs for inspection. In contrast, Jesus as our high priest will cut open the sacrifice of our lives (Rom 12:1) and will look deep into us, our soul and spirit, our thoughts and attitudes, and all be laid bare as the burnt offering was, as it says in the next verse:

4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

In the burnt offering, everything was inspected for perfection on the outside (Lev 1:3), and also perfection on the inside (Lev 1:11-13) and if the animal had a defect that couldn't be seen before it was slaughtered, it was rejected rather than being offered to God. Under the law, Aaron had no ability to fix an imperfect sacrifice. The sacrifices under the law are either perfect or imperfect. In contrast, our great high priest has a very sharp knife, and he can separate the soul from the spirit, the imperfect from the perfect. He can fix our thoughts and attitudes. Jesus has the power to make our imperfect sacrifices perfect.

Which brings up the next point: What it is to divide soul from spirit? As 1st Corinthians 2 explains regarding a soul motivated person versus a spirit motivated person:

1 Cor 2:14 The natural (soul) person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

As our great high priest, he takes our living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) which is imperfect, he digs very deep, cuts us apart, and and makes us perfect before presenting it to God. He take our good, and removes our bad. He keeps the spiritual things, and removes the soulish things.

The author concludes, based on the great power of of our new high priest:

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

And because our great high priest can make us perfect, let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence.
It seems I've seen you dismiss the idea (rightly, imho) of an immortal soul as not scriptural, yet here you speak of dividing soul from spirit...?
 

Stephen

Active member
It seems I've seen you dismiss the idea (rightly, imho) of an immortal soul as not scriptural, yet here you speak of dividing soul from spirit...?

Hi Bob,

The analysis explains it pretty well, with a significant assist from TrevorL.

In the passage, soul refers to something and spirit refers to something (and not what evangelicals claim they are). As the bible explains, Adam was made a living soul, Christ is a life giving spirit (1 Cor 15).

The bible is consistent when contrasting soul and spirit (1 Cor 2, 1 Cor 15, and Heb 4), they refer to the thoughts and ideas of the heart. Soulish thoughts come from one place, and spiritual thoughts come from another place. Our high priests perfects us over our lives by removing the soulish thoughts (Adamic in nature) and keeping the spiritual thoughts (Christlike in nature).
 
Top