BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Bible verses about Spirit in Man
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Humanity has one characteristic that other living creatures lack. Job's young friend Elihu describes this extra element in Job 32:8: "But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding." When God breathed the breath of life into Adam, he must also have imparted a spirit, an essence, that gave humans all the abilities beyond what animals have.

The apostle Paul also mentions this in the New Testament: "For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (I Corinthians 2:11). This "spirit in man" endows humans with the ability to understand, reason, plan, and create. It joins with the physical brain and assists in our thinking. The Bible often uses the word "spirit" to refer to a person's mind, intelligence, or attitude.

What happens to this spirit in man when we die? Wise Solomon had the answer: "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Why does God take it back? Because—somehow—it is a perfect recording of each person's entire life! All the person's memories, actions, words, attitudes, strengths, weaknesses, victories, defeats, decisions, and plans are recorded by man's spirit!

When God chooses to resurrect us, He will return our human spirit to us, and it will be as if we had never died (Ezekiel 37:5, 10). Some, of course, will be raised to immortality, and they will be completely composed of spirit, both body and mind (John 3:3-8; I Corinthians 15:35-49; I John 3:2). Others will, however, be raised back to physical life—like the "dry bones" in Ezekiel 37—and have a chance to receive the Holy Spirit and prove themselves to God (Ezekiel 37:11-14; Revelation 20:11-13).

William Gray
Taking It Through the Grave


 

Three major differences exist between God's Spirit and our spirit. The first and most obvious is that God's is holy, and holy means "different." But as "holy" is used throughout the Bible, it becomes clear that its real application is not merely different, but "peculiar," "a cut above." So God's Spirit is transcendentally pure and infinitely good in all that it motivates and energizes. Is Satan's spirit that way? Is man's? Not at all. The second difference concerns the amount of knowledge that it is capable of transmitting and using, and for God's Spirit, it is virtually infinite. The third difference is that God, unlike man, is infinitely wise and mature, and therein lies His morality, His character, which He transmits through His Spirit. Thus, God's Spirit possesses three kinds of power: purity, knowledge, and character.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 2)


 

Genesis 1:31

God Himself said that man was very good. This is an expression of pleasure; He was pleased with what He had accomplished. If we were very good when He created us, then that must include the nature He created us with.

Does God take pleasure in a nature that is enmity against Him (Romans 8:7)? Not at all, which indicates very strongly that, as He created us and as we are born, we do not have the nature that we later come to have that is enmity against Him. Hateful, human nature is something that develops because God put a spirit in us that other spirits, either God Himself or the spirit of this world, are able to communicate with (I Corinthians 2:10-12).

If the spirit that He is talking about in Genesis 1:31 was very good, then why has human history been a recording of violence, disease, anguish of spirit? Why is there so much bitterness, anger, prejudice, resentment, doubt, self-pity, vanity, envy, greed, jealousy, pride, and lust? Nowhere in God's Word are these called good or even acceptable.

Those traits do not come from God. He did not create us that way. God is love. He is kind, generous, good, merciful. We can honestly conclude that they do not come from man either, as he was created by God, because God judged man to be "very good." Yet, mankind expresses these very attributes.

Again, would something God pronounced "very good" produce what we see? We can conclude that these traits must have come from the spirit of this world, from Satan, who is invisible, soundless, but is able to communicate with our spirits.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

Genesis 2:7

We must briefly consider whether man has an immortal soul. Our understanding of the Scriptures compels us to maintain that he does not for several reasons:

» Job recognized that man has a spirit (Job 32:8), which Paul shows in I Corinthians 2:11 endows humanity with intellect. This spirit in man comes from God (Zechariah 12:1) and returns to Him when we die (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Acts 7:59). It records our experiences, character, and personality, which God stores until the resurrection of the dead. However, the Bible never describes this spirit as immortal or eternal; in fact, I Corinthians 2:6-16 explains that man needs yet another Spirit, God's, to be complete and discern godly things.

» The Bible flatly asserts that all people die: "It is appointed for men to die once" (Hebrews 9:27). Ezekiel says clearly that souls die: "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20; see Romans 6:23). Jesus warns in Matthew 10:28 that God can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.

» In death, life and consciousness are gone. "The dead know nothing," says Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:5, and he later adds, "There is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (verse 10). In Psalm 146:4, the psalmist writes about a man's death, "His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish" (see Genesis 3:19).

» Scripture also confutes the idea that people go to heaven or hell after death. Peter says to the crowd on the day of Pentecost, "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. . . . For David did not ascend into the heavens" (Acts 2:29, 34). Our Savior confirms this in John 3:13: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." The biblical usage of Sheol and Hades simply means "the grave."

» Men cannot have immortality unless God gives it to them. Paul writes, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). In I Corinthians 15:53 he tells the saints, "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." At the first resurrection God will give "eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality" (Romans 2:7). If we already had immortality, why should we put it on or seek it?

» Only God has immortality. He is, Paul writes to Timothy, ". . . the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality" (I Timothy 6:15-16). John says of the Word, "In Him was life" (John 1:4), meaning as Creator of all things (verse 3), He had life inherent. Jesus affirms this in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Men must go through Him to receive eternal life.

With such overwhelming proof, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul proves false. Man is not immortal, nor does he possess any "spark of God" unless God has given it to him through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11). A Christian's hope of life after death rests in the resurrection of the dead (I Corinthians 15:12-23). Conversely, the wicked only await eternal death as recompense for their evil lives, not eternal life in torment.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Eternal Torment?


 

Genesis 2:7

From our childhood, we carry an image of God kneeling over the created but inert Adam. He is lifeless until God performs the first mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and then Adam springs to life! His eyelids flutter, he takes a deep breath, and then he bends from his waist and sits up.

Nowhere does the Bible show God breathing life into any animal that He created. When He created them, they started breathing. Why should man be any different?

He is different because he is in the likeness of God. He did something to man that actually made man into the image of God. While he was lying there on the ground, he was still yet a creature. But when God knelt down and breathed into him, the infusion of the spirit in man occurred. That is what made man in the image of God! That is what gave man the power to have dominion. It gave man the intellect he needed to rule what God has created.

Man has creaturely life, but with the infusion of the spirit in man, he is more—a living being with intelligence. Man was given the power to govern his actions, not by instinct, but by memory, by conceptualization and thinking spatially. A man can appreciate beauty, communicate verbally, or write. A human being has feelings that are—in the expression of their subtly and power—far above an animal in terms of love or hate, and above all of the emotions that fall in between.

We can create and destroy. The power is in a man to do these things. The power is in the spirit when combined with the brain, but it has to be developed.

God shows very clearly that, as we are, we are nothing more than a pale representation of what we can be. Yet, we are endowed with powers that lift us so far above the animals on earth that we can have dominion over them.

Mankind is then commanded to fill the earth and subdue it. Subdue means "to tread upon," which implies "to bring into subjection." It does not mean "to destroy" or "to treat violently," but "to control and direct." In Genesis 1:26 and 28, God implies that He has conferred powers to mankind not given to animals.

It is also the first indication, when combined with Genesis 2:7 and 15, that when God confers a responsibility, He also confers the powers to carry out that responsibility.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Right Use of Power


 

Genesis 11:4-6

How technologically developed the people were at this time is sketchy. The Great Pyramid of Giza, whether built before or after the Flood, is evidence of a high degree of technology. Whatever the case, God's statement that "nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them" implies the builders of Babel were at least on the verge of great technological leaps. How much can a person discover and develop in a seventy-year life span? Yet these people lived hundreds of years! Since knowledge accumulates from generation to generation, imagine how it would build in a person over 500 years!

Consider what man has accomplished in the last 150 years. He has learned how to harness the power of mighty rivers by building dams to produce electricity. He has built soaring bridges across great chasms. He has drilled deeply into the earth to tap its stores of oil and gas to transport ourselves from place to place, heat our homes, and fuel our factories. Man has put satellites hundreds of miles into the heavens and placed men on the moon. We can watch the astronauts on television though they are 240,000 miles away!

The list of our technological accomplishments seems endless. Technology, though, is not the answer to mankind's problems. By the time the Millennium begins, the world will have realized that knowledge of physical things cannot solve our problems, especially those of the spirit. Each new technological stride merely titillates us for a while, failing miserably to give a sense of meaning to our lives. Technology cannot rid us of competition and inordinate desire. Instead, it only seems to accelerate the plunge toward oblivion and meaninglessness.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing to Rule!


 

1 Kings 22:19-23

Did the false prophets see a ghost? Did something cause them to have a dream? There is no indication of that. Because so many of them were involved—four hundred—it must be that the demon somehow stirred up the men's spirit and put the thoughts into their minds, making them think it was theirs. When they all came up with the same answer, surely it must have been right. But, alas, they were unanimously wrong, being led by a lying spirit.

We can see by this example that spirit beings can and probably are influencing mankind. It is not enough for us just to understand that they are capable of it. God's Word shows that they are actively doing it—good ones and bad ones—and some people are so unaware of what is going on that they give themselves over to the bad ones and become possessed—the slave, the tool, of a spirit being that will use them for its own ends. We are beginning to see established proof that Satan manipulates our minds.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

Ezra 1:1

This says clearly that God was able to stir the spirit of Cyrus. There is no indication that Cyrus was aware that God was stirring him up. He just somehow was motivated to issue this proclamation. He may have thought the idea really came from him or from one of his advisors. But for some reason, all of a sudden, he had an inclination to give the Jews the opportunity to go back to their own homeland.

This verse also suggests that our spirit can be communicated with without our being aware of it happening. Understand, however, that we will not always be blind to this or insensitive to it. It is God's intention that we become very sensitive to the fact that something or someone is trying to communicate with us on a level that is not discernable by the eye or the ear. Nonetheless, our spirit can be stirred to go in a certain direction for good or for bad. We need to begin to realize that we may or may not be aware that our spirit is being communicated with.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

Ecclesiastes 11:5

It is likely that "wind" is not properly translated. It should be rendered "spirit," which fits better with the context of verse 5.

"How the bones grow in the womb" is an illustration of how ignorant mankind is regarding even something so close as a child in the womb. Which of us knows when God gives a human being the spirit in man? Is it at conception or when the child takes its first breath? As far as we know, God has not revealed it in His Word. This is similar to Solomon's argument here. He did not know either.

There is much in life that we do not know. There are parts of life in which we must wholly trust God's manifold wisdom and care of each of His creatures because we do not know what He has in mind within His purpose. And His purpose is the key.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and the Feast of Tabernacles (Part 2)


 

Ezekiel 18:4

The church of God does not accept the Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul, instead believing God's Word, which says indisputably, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). One of the very first things God taught Adam in the Garden of Eden was the consequence of sin: “you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17), a truth the serpent hastened to contradict (Genesis 3:4).

In the New Testament, Jesus teaches in Matthew 10:28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna, a symbol of the Lake of Fire (see Revelation 20:11-15)].” Paul writes, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Humans are mortal, and God must give eternal life; we do not have it inherently (see Romans 2:7; I Corinthians 15:53-54; I Timothy 6:16).

We believe that man indeed has a spirit (Job 32:8), “the breath of the Almighty [that] gives him understanding,” but that it is not his soul. When combined with a human brain, the human spirit allows a person to have the powers of mind. When he dies, the body returns to the dust, but his spirit returns to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7), who safeguards it as a record of his life.

Solomon also informs us that “the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5), and “there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave” (verse 10), meaning that there is no consciousness in death. The person knows nothing, learns nothing, communicates nothing, does nothing—until the resurrection from the dead when God will unite that spirit with a new body, either a spiritual body or another physical body, depending on the resurrection (see Ezekiel 37:1-14; John 5:24-29; I Corinthians 15; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What Happened at En Dor?


 

John 6:44

It is the work of God to open our minds to enable us to respond in a godly way - that is, by faith - to the manifestation of Himself through His Word, the manifestation of Christ through His Word, the manifestation of God's works through His Word. He does this so that we can see the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, which means that God has given to each one of us the capacity to do what Moses did (Hebrews 11:26-27). Maybe not as well, not having to trust in exactly the same way or to the same degree, but nonetheless, we can follow the same principle.

So, even though we have a spiritual capacity by nature because of the spirit in man within us - all of mankind has this spiritual capacity - a true spiritual relationship can really be made only by those whom God calls. We have been given a gift of God that enables us to have the kind of faith that Moses and the apostle Paul had.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 3)


 

John 6:63

Here, the difference between God's Holy Spirit and our spirit is noted. God's Spirit (His Word, His thoughts, His way) always produces life—eternal life—the way God lives. Jesus was made a life-giving Spirit, and He is the High Priest. As High Priest, He is in charge of the administration of life (see II Corinthians 3). The difference between the two covenants is that the priesthood under the Old Covenant could not administer life, but the Priesthood under the New Covenant administers life by providing the Spirit of God to the mind of man. Demons and men cannot truthfully claim what Jesus claimed here, that His Spirit is life. Man's spirit, like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, produces death, because it produces sin.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 1)


 

1 Corinthians 2:9-13

Because of the action God took once Adam and Eve sinned - they were cut off from the Holy Spirit - all of the cultures of mankind have been built on reasoning apart from God's Spirit. Man has been doomed to produce the kinds of cultures that are based on his own reasoning, because access to God's Holy Spirit was closed off, and therefore there is a missing dimension in mankind's reasoning processes.

Thus, the separation can only get wider - unless God acts to heal the breach. Mankind is unable to bridge the gap because spiritual things are not physically discerned; eyes, ears, nose, mouth cannot sense and understand spiritual things. So mankind is trapped - he is doomed in that regard. Even though God created mankind with a spiritual capacity, it is so limited that it cannot find the true things of God. Man, therefore, is easily overpowered by Satan.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Reconciliation and the Day of Atonement


 

1 Corinthians 2:9-16

In writing to the Corinthians, Paul gives a simple framework for understanding spirit in general, as well as the Holy Spirit. Verse 11 teaches that each person has a spirit: “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?” This echoes Job 32:8: “There is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.” In this usage, the word “spirit” is synonymous with “heart” or “mind.” This is the intelligent, non-physical part of a person that allows him to think, reason, and comprehend. Verse 11 teaches that a person's spirit is the source and overseer of his thoughts. This spirit in man is not another being within the person but simply the person's center of reason.

Next, verse 12 reveals that the world has a spirit. Like the spirit in man, this spirit is also not a separate being. But this usage of “spirit” is slightly different. Rather than being the center of reason, the spirit of the world is the world's attitude, its inclination, tendency, atmosphere, mood, or frame of mind. The spirit of the world is also the motivating impulse of the culture, which can manifest in many ways, but it will always be anti-God (see Romans 8:7).

Paul describes this spirit in Ephesians 2:2-3, saying that we “once walked according to the course of this world.” The course, or way, of the world is the invisible and immaterial motivating impulse at work in the sons of disobedience. The spirit of the world moves people whom God has not redeemed to conduct themselves in lust, fulfilling the desires of their flesh and mind, putting themselves under the wrath of God. The spirit of the world sweeps mankind along a spiritual channel to keep them in opposition to their Creator.

While spirit cannot be seen, we can see the effects of spirit. It is not a coincidence that the word for “spirit,” pneuma, can also be translated as “wind” or “breath”—just as Job 32:8, quoted above, parallels the spirit in man to “the breath of the Almighty.” We cannot see the moving air molecules in wind, but we can observe leaves and branches being moved and know that wind is present. In the dry areas of the West, tumbleweeds roll along and dust-devils form, spin, and disintegrate, revealing that the wind is at work.

In the same way, we cannot see spirit, but we can see the actions and attitudes of mankind, and thus find evidence of the spirit that is working. The spirit of the world influences and stirs up the spirit in man, inducing the individual to think and feel in a certain way, and ultimately, to act.

Returning to I Corinthians 2:12, Paul mentions a spirit that we have received. This is in addition to the spirit in man, with which we were born, and in opposition to the spirit of the world. This additional spirit is from, and of, God. We can conclude that, like mankind, God also has a Spirit. God has a mind, one of unfathomable depth, capability, and intelligence. But more than simply an overwhelming intellect, God's Spirit includes His attitude, principles, thoughts, feelings, temperament, character, disposition, and will. To put it simply, God's Spirit is the essence of His incredible mind, and it is the new motivating principle that God's children receive.

I Corinthians 2:16 shows that God's Spirit is not another supernatural being. It begins with a quotation of Isaiah 40:13 (“who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”), but then Paul follows up with, “But we have the mind of Christ.” This is Paul's explanation of the spirit we have received. It is a principle, a disposition, a motivating influence that comes from God Himself. “Spirit,” “heart,” and “mind,” while not identical, are used interchangeably. It is the mind of Christ that we have received that allows us to know the things of God, to know what God has prepared for us, and to know the things that have been given to us. Thus, Paul equates the Spirit of God to the mind of Christ. The essence of His mind enhances our minds, giving us spiritual understanding.

The Father and the Son are one, not in the sense of being the same Person, but in the sense of being perfectly united in will, thought, and intent. They are of the same mind, the same heart—the same spirit. It is that Spirit that we receive when we are baptized and have hands laid on us. As a result, we can begin to understand the things of God, which the world cannot understand. Without God's intervention, mankind is only influenced by the spirit of the world, which has its source in “the prince of the power of the air.”

Because God is holy, His Spirit is also holy. God has many facets and qualities, yet the four living creatures in Revelation 4:8 praise Him day and night for being “holy, holy, holy.” The fact that they say “holy” three times does not mean that He is three persons. It means His holiness is superlative—it is the very highest possible. Our holy God's Spirit, the essence of His perfect mind, is also holy. That holiness is not merely an attribute, but it is also what God's Spirit will incline His people toward: holiness in conduct, in attitude, in speech, in every facet of living. God says, “Be holy, for I am holy,” and His Spirit will move us toward His holiness, if we cooperate.

David C. Grabbe
What Is the Holy Spirit?


 

1 Corinthians 2:10-12

We see three things here:

1. There is a spirit in man that enables him to understand physical things.

2. God reveals to man through His Spirit, which enables man to penetrate the deep, spiritual things of God.

3. We have received the Spirit that is from God, and there is a spirit of this world.

Here, Paul shows at least three different spirits: the spirit in man, the Spirit of God, and the spirit of this world.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

1 Corinthians 2:10-11

There is a human spirit in which all of mankind shares. It is what, more than any other component of what we are, that enables us to be in God's image, and yet each person is a different personality. We are distinct from each other so that each person's spirit is also distinct. It is his own. Your spirit is yours, and my spirit is mine.

My spirit projects John Ritenbaugh. It projects my personality, my mind, my attitudes, my knowledge, my understanding, my wisdom, and my discernment - things that have come to me as a result of my experiences. Yours is exactly the same way.

What spirit goes back to God when we die? Is the spirit that goes back to God after your death different from the one that goes back to God from me when I die? Of course it is. Mine is mine, and yours is yours. In reference to God, His Spirit is Holy Spirit, but it is uniquely His. Are not He and the Son distinct from one another? They are.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 3)


 

1 Corinthians 10:3-4

Yes we walk in the flesh—meaning we have fleshly bodies. God has made us physical. But, we are not really supposed to walk according to the flesh. "We walk by faith, not by sight."

We live in physical bodies. We have physical lives. We have our physical problems. But the battle we wage is not physical at all! The battle is fought in the realm of belief, ideas, philosophies, teachings, words, principles, and laws. To sum it up, we could say, "We fight the battle in our minds."

That is where it is—in our minds. Or as the Bible often says—within our hearts, our emotions, our personalities, our developing character. Why is that where the battle lies? "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). A person is what goes through his mind, what he allows himself to do, all the decisions that he makes.

We say, "We are what we eat." We know that what we put into our mouths goes into our bodies, and supplies our bodies' needs as energy or raw materials for building and maintenance. We know that our bodies over time replace all the cells that we have! That is the way that God has made us. Our food is the raw material—fuel—that makes us what we are physically.

Well, spiritually it is the same thing. We are what we think! We are what we allow into our minds. René Descartes said, "I think therefore I am [Cogito ergo sum]." It is essentially a true statement because it is our thoughts, and the character that our thoughts have helped to form, that will pass through the grave. Our essential being beyond our physical flesh and blood is what is going to be preserved by God.

Job 32:8 informs us that "there is a spirit in man," and Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:7, "Then [at death] the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." And God does whatever He does with it. What is recorded on that spirit? The person's thoughts, his memory, his beliefs, his desires, his habits, and his character traits!

God does not work with us through however many years of our lives just to throw away what He accomplished in us through His Spirit.

When we die, He takes what He has made, and He stores it for the resurrection, so at that time, He can return it to us in a spirit body that will live for eternity with Him. What He stores is what goes on in our minds with the human spirit coming into alignment with God's Spirit: what we think, what we believe, all the experiences we have gone through, the habits we have formed, and the character traits that God, by His Spirit, has created in us. Those are the things that pass through the grave.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Is God in All Our Thoughts?


 

 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2017 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.
Share this on FacebookGoogle+RedditEmailPrinter version
Close
E-mail This Page