Category Archives: Greek meanings

Love is a Verb


Bears all things,
Believes all things,
Hopes all things,
Endures all things.

To bear…to cover with silence…to suffer…to forbear.
Love suffers.
Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. 

To believe…to have faith…to entrust…to commit.
Love entrusts.
Love is a commitment with a beginning and no end.

To hope…to put trust in…to expect…to confide.
Love expects.
All things work together for good. 

To endure…to stay under…to remain…to persevere.
Love remains.
Do not be afraid, I have overcome the world. 

Oh God,
Help me to love
As You love.

I choose
To bear,
To believe,
To hope,
To endure.

I choose
In all things
To love.



(*Wayne Hudson,  Many a Tear Has to Fall)

He Is At Work


So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. ~Philippians 2:12-13

Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to continue in obedience, even when he’s not there to “watch out” for them. As their spiritual father he feels the need to be ever watchful of their conduct. But also, knowing he must allow them to walk the path set before them, with the Spirit being their guide, he exhorts them to work out their salvation.  How? With fear and trembling.

What?? Fear? And trembling?

Yes.  Fear.  The word for phobias…phobos. It literally means with dread and terror. So much of the time we like to put the word “reverence” in place of the word fear, hoping, I believe, not to sound so “fire and brimstone.” However, in this case we must keep the word as it is meant to be.  Fear of our God…”the consuming fire”…the Lion of Judah who is able to crush our bones…the LORD whose longsuffering can be spent…the Rock who will crush civilization at the end of days.  Yes…we need to fully understand His character.

And trembling.   In case you didn’t catch the word fear, Paul adds another word to make his point…trembling:

1) a trembling or quaking with fear
2) with fear and trembling, used to describe the anxiety of one who
distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but
religiously does his utmost to fulfil his duty

It’s the second meaning which is used in this passage. 

One who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfill his duty.

Not trusting in my own ability, yet, working to fulfill my duty. 

My duty to whom? 

To Him who is able to make my paths straight. 
To Him who keeps diligent watch over my soul. 
To Him who desires my best good for His glory. 
To Him who set me apart as His own possession. 

I am not my own.  I’ve been bought with a price.  The price?  His shed blood on the cross to cover my sins.

And yet, the good news…not that I am to strive to make it to heaven…not that I work for my salvation.  Salvation is a gift given to me through faith in Him.

Do you see the next part of the verse?  He is the one doing the work.

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

He doesn’t leave us to strive on our own, hoping to accomplish all He’s asked of us. No. He is the one who will do the work in us, to bring us to a complete end. He will do all He has set forth to accomplish…why? Because it brings Him pleasure to do this work in us.

It brings Him delight to see His bride dressed in glory.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 1:6

Yes, I have a work to do, but I do not need to be concerned of the outcome. Why? Because He is faithful and will make me to stand in His presence, blameless and with great joy!

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to make you stand in the presence of His glory
Blameless with great joy,
To the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Be glory, majesty, dominion and authority,
Before all time and now and forever.

~Jude 1:25

God’s Poetry


For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~Ephesians 2:10

His workmanship. His masterpiece. His poiema…poem. Can you see it there, in the Greek? We are His poem.

Do you like to write poetry? I used to, a long time ago. Now I just write little ditties to get a laugh, or hopefully, a smile. But at one point in time, I loved to write poetry. To find the perfect word or phrase to describe a feeling, or that special moment, was a challenge I truly enjoyed.

Usually the word poiema is translated workmanship or masterpiece. No matter which word is used — poem, masterpiece, workmanship — the idea is the same: We are His creation.

I love to create.  Today I spend most of my time drawing. For a time I tried to paint. It took quite a while for me to realize the only way to make my paintings “pop” was to apply the dark colors first (for oils/tempera), then to layer with the lighter colors, ending with white highlights. When using watercolors it works best to paint the negative space and the shadows, so the lighter hues stand out. Now I’m finding in my drawings, I am most pleased when all of the details are added and the shading deep…dark.  The contrast between light and dark is quite effective.

I’ve been wondering about grace. How extravagant God is with the grace He gives.

We are so dark. The shadows of our lives, the parts we hope are kept hidden from view, the deep darkness of our souls can cause despair when we get a glimpse.  But, when I think of the forgiveness I’ve been granted, the unmerited favor He’s given, I am astounded! 

He sees my darkness.  It’s not hidden from Him. He knows every moment of my existence, every thought and action I’ve done in the shadows, hoping forever to stay hidden.  And yet…He found me.  In the dark.  Afraid.  He found me and offered His Light. 

He poured His lavish grace upon me and started painting the highlights. He began bringing beauty to the darkness of my canvas. He allowed the shadows to help create the masterpiece He sees in me.   

In you.

All the details of our lives, all the secrets we’ve kept hidden, all the darkness we don’t want to see…it all helps to make the Light He has given more glorious.   The contrast.

We are His workmanship.  His masterpiece.  His poem.

He is creating a masterful poem…a vibrant painting… a detailed drawing…for the world to behold. 

And through seeing the masterpiece, the Artist’s amazing ability is glorified.

Freedom in Christ


I have been under shame for so long, I’m not sure I know what freedom feels like.

Let me explain.  I have not been under the bondage of a works-based theology.  I escaped that years ago.  But…my heart, my feelings, have been bound under a weight of shame.  I’ve known God’s forgiveness for a very long time, but I haven’t forgiven myself.

I have always felt the need to apologize for being me.  My whole life I have felt less than others.

Does that make sense?

Probably not.  Unless you have struggled with shame, this is probably a foreign concept to you.  But if you know what it is to see yourself as hollow, bad, unlovely…then you know what I’m talking about.  This has been my understanding for as long as I remember.

It’s necessary to know the difference between guilt and shame to fully get what I’m trying to say.  Guilt is “the developmentally mature, though painful, feeling of regret one has about behavior that has violated a personal value.”¹ We are guilty of sin.  It is good to feel that guilt, to know we’ve sinned and to seek forgiveness.  If we are in Christ we are completely forgiven. 

However, shame is not letting yourself “off the hook.”  “Shame is an inner sense of being completely diminished or insufficient as a person.  It is the self judging the self.  A moment of shame may be humiliation so painful or an indignity so profound that one feels one has been robbed of his or her dignity or exposed as basically inadequate, bad, or worthy of rejection.  A pervasive sense of shame is the ongoing premise that one is fundamentally bad, inadequate, defective, unworthy, or not fully valid as a human being.”²

That is where I was.  I’m not there anymore.  No more feelings of defectiveness.  I now get you are all as defective as ME!!  But the difference NOW…I understand God loves me too.  Not just YOU.  He loves me.  I don’t have to keep a list of rules just perfectly to stay in the love of God.  While I was a sinner, He died for me.  In my ugliness, He chose me.

So — now that I FEEL the love of God clear down to my toes — I must say, I’m feeling a bit rudderless.  I’m beginning to feel the freedom that is in Christ.  I think.  But I do NOT want to go off the deep end. 

I know I’m not in bondage to shame anymore.  I know I’m not bound by a list of rules handed to me from clergy.  I know I am in a loving relationship with the God of the Universe.  And I know God is Holy.  So…my question is…

…how free am I?

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.  ~Galatians 5:1

I understand this to mean, we are not bound by rules or regulations man will try to place upon us to be “right” with God.  But Paul does give a warning:

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, but through love serve one another.  ~Galatians 5:13

I am free to serve others.  Peter gives us the same warning, but then calls us God’s slaves:

Live as free people, not using your freedom as a pretext for evil, but as God’s slaves.*  ~1Peter 2:16

What’s up with that?  I am a slave of  God? 

Next, James tells us we will be judged, but our judgment is based upon a law of liberty:

Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom ~James 2:12

So, it isn’t that I am free to be me.  That’s not the point, really.  I am free.  But being ME could be wrong, I still have a sinful nature, I do still need guidance.  I still need a rudder.  I am a slave to something, just not sin anymore.

 Now you are free from sin, your old master, and you have become slaves to your new master, righteousness  ~Romans 6:18

I am a slave to righteousness…right living. But see, the kicker is, you don’t get to tell me what that looks like anymore than I get to tell you. We have a clear word that will judge us…the perfect law of liberty (that’s the scripture, people). I’m free to follow Christ as He leads me down this path. I’m free to listen to His Spirit as He guides me in the way HE would have me go.

And do you know why that’s a good thing? Have you read any of the Gospels lately? Jesus is really cool. I mean, really! He’s not going to lead me wrong.

Now you…YOU might.

But not Him!!!


Read the rest of this entry

Sanctify Them in Truth


August 2, 2017  UPDATE:  What is the Christian walk all about?  What does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of the cross of Christ?  How are we to live?  I’m sticking this to the front page in hopes of answering some of these questions.  It’s old.  Life is very different now than then…but Truth does not change.  Please, consider Jesus.

A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 17:

HAGIAZO is rendered sanctified, holy, honored, sanctify, consecrated, hallow

1) to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
2) to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
2a) consecrate things to God
2b) dedicate people to God
3) to purify
3a) to cleanse externally
3b) to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin
3c) to purify internally by renewing of the soul

To be holy is to be “other,” to be different in a special way. The same basic meaning is used when the word holy is applied to earthly things….The things that are holy are things that are set apart, separated from the rest. They have been consecrated, separated from the commonplace, unto the Lord and His service….

References given in the video ~

Jesus prays for all those the Father has given Him:

“Sanctify them (set them apart) in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself (I am set apart), that they themselves also may be sanctified (set apart) in truth.” 
~John 17:17-19

We know He prays this for us, as well as His disciples:

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word”  ~John 17:20

Speaking of Christ and the church:

“…so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”  ~Ephesians 5:26

Please don’t misunderstand.  I am not speaking of being taken out of the world.  Jesus makes that point, also, in this chapter.  I am discussing the internal work that immediately follows justification.  God does the work and He has declared us holy…sanctified…set apart unto Him, for His service.  We cooperate in this work of sanctification by learning from, and leaning on Him.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 3:13-14

Joy for the Downtrodden?


I’m a crier.  I weep.  I lament.  It’s who I am.  It’s my temperament.

Phat laughs.  He giggles.  He jokes.  It’s who he is.  It’s his temperament.

I’ve finally come to realize it’s OK.  It is the uniqueness of God’s plan for us.  For the world. 

It takes all kinds. 

In my younger years I thought this temperament a curse.  I see “need” so desperately, and feel others’ hurts almost physically, it is difficult sometimes to be happy.  And then to have the command, “Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say, rejoice!” interpretted as “Be happy!” . . . well, you can see the “judgment” I felt from the “happy people.”

Joy . . . the second virtue given as the fruit of the Spirit. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  ~Galatians 5:23

If I have the Spirit within, then I have joy.  I can rejoice.  I can be glad.

What causes gladness?  It’s not based upon our circumstances.  When Paul wrote to “rejoice always,” he was in prison, chained to a guard 24/7.  My circumstances, the happenings of my life, are not the reasons for rejoicing.  My deep abiding friendship with the God of the Universe makes me glad.

Here are some of the ways we can “rejoice” as believers:

~being in the Lord.  Philippians 3:1; 4:4

~rejoicing in His incarnation.  Luke 1:14

~in His power which is available to us.  Luke 13:17

~in His presence with the Father.   John 14:28

~in His presence with His disciples.  John 16:22; 20:20

~in His ultimate triumph!  John 8:56

~in hearing the gospel.  Acts 13:48

~in your salvation.  Acts 8:39

~in receiving the Lord.  Luke 19:6

~in your enrollment in Heaven.  Luke 10:20

~in your liberty in Christ.  Acts 15:31

~in your glorious hope.  Romans 12:12; Romans 5:2; Revelations 19:7

~in the prospect of reward.  Matthew 5:12

~in the obedience and godly conduct of fellow believers.  Romans 16:19, 2Corinthians 7:7,9; 13:9; Colossians 2:5; 1Thessalonians 3:9; 2John 1:4; 3John 1:3

~in the proclamation of Christ.  Philippians 1:18

~in the gospel harvest.  John 4:36

~in suffering with Christ.  Acts 5:41; 1Peter 4:13

~for suffering in the cause of the gospel.  2Corinthians 13:9 (1st part); Philippians 2:17 (1st part); Colossians 1:24

~in persecutions, trials and afflictions.  Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23; 2 Corinthians 6:10

~in the manifestation of grace.  Acts 11:23

~in meeting with fellow believers.  1Corinthians 16:17;  Philippians 2:28

~in receiving tokens of love and fellowship.  Philippians 4:10

~in the “rejoicing” of others.  Romans 12:15; 2Corinthians 7:13

~in learning of the well-being of others.  2Corinthians 7:16

Many, many reasons are given for rejoicing!  I can choose to have joy in suffering, trials, tribulations and persecutions.  Joy is much more than happiness.  Even a brokenhearted, downtrodden person can rejoice IN. THE. LORD.

The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.
~Psalm 28:7

Scripture references taken from Vine’s Expository Dictionary (rejoice — chairo)

The Soul and the Spirit


Yesterday, an intense, yet polite discussion occurred at Tam’s blog. I sat out because the questions by Ed were so deep, I couldn’t see how to give a complete answer. And still, this response is only for one of the questions concerning the difference between the soul and the spirit. 😳

Anyway, my definitions of words don’t really matter if I’m way off from the original meaning. So I dig.

This is the result of my search. It comes from Vine’s Expository Dictionary. I’ve only separated the definitions and tried to give paragraph divisions for easier reading. I know it’s not fun reading, but we get so mixed up in our theologies when we try to make scripture mean something it does not say. I’m no scholar so I rely upon those who are/were.

Happy reading! 😉

The ability to skim will come in quite handy.  😀


Primarily denotes “the wind” (akin to pneo, “to breathe, blow”); also “breath;” then, especially “the spirit,” which, like the wind, is invisible, immaterial and powerful. The NT uses of the word may be analyzed approximately as follows:

“(a) the wind, Joh. 3:8 (where marg. is, perhaps, to be preferred); Heb. 1:7; cp. Am. 4:13, Sept.;

(b) the breath, 2Th. 2:8; Re. 11:11; 13:15; cp. Job. 12:10, Sept.;

(c) the immaterial, invisible part of man, Lu. 8:55; Ac. 7:59; 1Co. 5:5; Jas. 2:26; cp. Ec. 12:7, Sept.;

(d) the disembodied (or ‘unclothed,’ or ‘naked,’ 2Co. 5:3,4) man, Lu. 24:37,39; Heb. 12:23; 1Pe. 4:6;

(e) the resurrection body, 1Co. 15:45; 1Ti. 3:16; 1Pe. 3:18;

(f) the sentient element in man, that by which he perceives, reflects, feels, desires, Mt. 5:3; 26:41; Mr. 2:8; Lu. 1:47,80; Ac. 17:16; 20:22; 1Co. 2:11; 5:3,4; 14:4,15; 2Co. 7:1; cp. Ge. 26:35; Isa. 26:9; Eze. 13:3; Da. 7:15;

(g) purpose, aim, 2Co. 12:18; Php. 1:27; Eph. 4:23; Re. 19:10; cp. Ezr. 1:5; Ps. . 78:8; Da. 5:12;

(h) the equivalent of the personal pronoun, used for emphasis and effect: 1st person, 1Co. 16:18; cp. Ge. 6:3; 2nd person, 2Ti. 4:22; Phm. 1:25; cp. Ps. . 139:7; 3rd person, 2Co. 7:13; cp. Isa. 40:13;

(i) character, Lu. 1:17; Ro. 1:4; cp. Nu. 14:24;

(j) moral qualities and activities: bad, as of bondage, as of a slave, Ro. 8:15; cp. Isa. 61:3; stupor, Ro. 11:8; cp. Isa. 29:10; timidity, 2Ti. 1:7; cp. Jos. 5:1; good, as of adoption, i.e., liberty as of a son, Ro. 8:15; cp. Ps. . 51:12; meekness, 1Co. 4:21; cp. Pr. 16:19; faith, 2Co. 4:13; quietness, 1Pe. 3:4; cp. Pr. 14:29

(k) the Holy Spirit, e.g., Mt. 4:1 (see below); Lu. 4:18;

(l) ‘the inward man’ (an expression used only of the believer, Ro. 7:22; 2Co. 4:16; Eph. 3:16); the new life, Ro. 8:4-6,10,16; Heb. 12:9; cp. Ps. . 51:10;

(m) unclean spirits, demons, Mt. 8:16; Lu. 4:33; 1Pe. 3:19; cp. 1Sa. 18:10;

(n) angels, Heb. 1:14; cp. Ac. 12:15;

(o) divine gift for service, 1Co. 14:12,32;

(p) by metonymy, those who claim to be depostories of these gifts, 2Th. 2:2; 1Jo. 4:1-3;

(q) the significance, as contrasted with the form, of words, or of a rite, Joh. 6:63; Ro. 2:29; 7:6; 2Co. 3:6;

(r) a vision, Re. 1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10.” * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp 204,205.]


(1) For phantasma, rendered “spirit,” Mt. 14:26; Mr. 6:49, AV, see APPARITION.

(2) For the distinction between “spirit” and “soul,” see under SOUL, last three paragraphs.

* The Holy Spirit   ~the following is a discussion on the Holy Spirit

The “Holy Spirit” is spoken of under various titles in the NT (“Spirit” and “Ghost” are renderings of the same word, pneuma; the advantage of the rendering “Spirit” is that it can always be used, whereas “Ghost” always requires the word “Holy” prefixed.) In the following list the omission of the definite article Mr. s its omission in the original (concerning this see below):

“Spirit, Mt. 22:43; Eternal Spirit, Heb. 9:14; the Spirit, Mt. 4:1; Holy Spirit, Mt. 1:18; the Holy Spirit, Mt. 28:19; the Spirit, the Holy, Mt. 12:32; the Spirit of promise, the Holy, Eph. 1:13; Spirit of God, Ro. 8:9; Spirit of (the) living God, 2Co. 3:3; the Spirit of God, 1Co. 2:11; the Spirit of our God, 1Co. 6:11; the Spirit of God, the Holy, Eph. 4:30; the Spirit of glory and of God, 1Pe. 4:14; the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead (i.e., God), Ro. 8:11; the Spirit of your Father, Mt. 10:20; the Spirit of His Son, Ga. 4:6; Spirit of (the) Lord, Ac. 8:39; the Spirit of (the) Lord, Ac. 5:9; (the) Lord, (the) Spirit, 2Co. 3:18; the Spirit of Jesus, Ac. 16:7; Spirit of Christ, Ro. 8:9; the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Php. 1:19; Spirit of adoption, Ro. 8:15; the Spirit of truth, Joh. 14:17; the Spirit of life, Ro. 8:2; the Spirit of grace, Heb. 10:29.” * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 193.]

The use or absence of the article in the original where the “Holy Spirit” is spoken of cannot always be decided by grammatical rules, nor can the presence or absence of the article alone determine whether the reference is to the “Holy Spirit.” Examples where the Person is meant when the article is absent are Mt. 22:43 (the article is used in Mr. 12:36); Ac. 4:25, RV (absent in some texts); 19:2,6; Ro. 14:17; 1Co. 2:4; Ga. 5:25 (twice); 1Pe. 1:2.

Sometimes the absence is to be accounted for by the fact that Pneuma (like Theos) is substantially a proper name, e.g., in Joh. 7:39.

As a general rule the article is present where the subject of the teaching is the Personality of the Holy Spirit, e.g., Joh. 14:26, where He is spoken of in distinction from the Father and the Son. See also 15:26 and cp. Lu. 3:22.

In Ga. 3:3, in the phrase “having begun in the Spirit,” it is difficult to say whether the reference is to the “Holy Spirit” or to the quickened spirit of the believer; that it possibly refers to the latter is not to be determined by the absence of the article, but by the contrast with “the flesh;” on the other hand, the contrast may be between the “Holy Spirit” who in the believer sets His seal on the perfect work of Christ, and the flesh which seeks to better itself by works of its own. There is no preposition before either noun, and if the reference is to the quickened spirit it cannot be dissociated from the operation of the “Holy Spirit.”

In Ga. 4:29 the phrase “after the Spirit” signifies “by supernatural power,” in contrast to “after the flesh,” i.e., “by natural power,” and the reference must be to the “Holy Spirit;” so in Ga. 5:17. The full title with the article before both pneuma and hagios (the “resumptive” use of the article), lit., “the Spirit the Holy,” stresses the character of the Person, e.g., Mt. 12:32; Mr. 3:29; 12:36; 13:11; Lu. 2:26; 10:21 (RV); Joh. 14:26; Ac. 1:16; 5:3; 7:51; 10:44,47; 13:2; 15:28; 19:6; 20:23,28; 21:11; 28:25; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 3:7; 9:8; 10:15.

The Personality of the Spirit is emphasized at the expense of strict grammatical procedure in Joh. 14:26; 15:26; 16:8,13,14, where the emphatic pronoun ekeinos, “He,” is used of Him in the masculine, whereas the noun pneuma is neuter in Greek, while the corresponding word in Aramaic, the language in which our Lord probably spoke, is feminine (rucha, cp. Heb. ruach). The rendering “itself” in Ro. 8:16,26, due to the Greek gender, is corrected to “Himself” in the RV.

The subject of the “Holy Spirit” in the NT may be considered as to His Divine attributes; His distinct Personality in the Godhead; His operation in connection with the Lord Jesus in His birth, His life, His baptism, His death; His operations in the world; in the church; His having been sent at Pentecost by the Father and by Christ; His operations in the individual believer; in local churches; His operations in the production of Holy Scripture; His work in the world, etc.


Denotes “the breath, the breath of life,” then “the soul,” in its various meanings. The NT uses “may be analyzed approximately as follows:

(a) the natural life of the body, Mt. 2:20; Lu. 12:22; Ac. 20:10; Re. 8:9; 12:11; cp. Le. 17:11; 2Sa. 14:7; Es. 8:11;

(b) the immaterial, invisible part of man, Mt. 10:28; Ac. 2:27; cp. 1Ki. 17:21;

(c) the disembodied (or “unclothed” or “naked,” 2Co. 5:3,4) man, Re. 6:9;

(d) the seat of personality, Lu. 9:24, explained as == “own self,” Lu. 9:25; Heb. 6:19; 10:39; cp. Isa. 53:10 with 1Ti. 2:6;

(e) the seat of the sentient element in man, that by which he perceives, reflects, feels, desires, Mt. 11:29; Lu. 1:46; 2:35; Ac. 14:2,22; cp. Ps. . 84:2; 139:14; Isa. 26:9;

(f) the seat of will and purpose, Mt. 22:37; Ac. 4:32; Eph. 6:6; Php. 1:27; Heb. 12:3; cp. Nu. 21:4; De. 11:13;

(g) the seat of appetite, Re. 18:14; cp. Ps. . 107:9; Pr. 6:30; Isa. 5:14 (“desire”); 29:8;

(h) persons, individuals, Ac. 2:41,43; Ro. 2:9; Jas. 5:20; 1Pe. 3:20; 2Pe. 2:14; cp. Ge. 12:5; 14:21 (“persons”); Le. 4:2 (‘any one’); Eze. 27:13; of dead bodies, Nu. 6:6, lit., “dead soul;” and of animals, Le. 24:18, lit., “soul for soul;”

(i) the equivalent of the personal pronoun, used for emphasis and effect:, 1st person, Joh. 10:24 (“us”); Heb. 10:38; cp. Ge. 12:13; Nu. 23:10; Jud. 16:30; Ps. . 120:2 (“me”); 2nd person, 2Co. 12:15; Heb. 13:17; Jas. 1:21; 1Pe. 1:9; 2:25; cp. Le. 17:11; 26:15; 1Sa. 1:26; 3rd person, 1Pe. 4:19; 2Pe. 2:8; cp. Ex. 30:12; Job. 32:2, Heb. “soul,” Sept. “self;”

(j) an animate creature, human or other, 1Co. 15:45; Re. 16:3; cp. Ge. 1:24; 2:7,19;

(k) “the inward man,” the seat of the new life, Lu. 21:19 (cp. Mt. 10:39); 1Pe. 2:11; 3Jo. 1:2. “With(j) compare a-psuchos, “soulless, inanimate,” 1Co. 14:7. “With (f) compare di-psuchos, “two-souled,” Jas. 1:8; 4:8; oligo-psuchos, “feeble-souled,” 1Th. 5:14; iso-psuchos, “like-souled,” Php. 2:20; sum-psuchos, “joint-souled” (with one accord”), Php. 2:2.

“The language of Heb. 4:12 suggests the extreme difficulty of distinguishing between the soul and the 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. …

“Body and soul are the constituents of the man according to Mt. 6:25; 10:28; Lu. 12:20; Ac. 20:10; body and spirit according to Lu. 8:55; 1Co. 5:3; 7:34; Jas. 2:26. In Mt. 26:38 the emotions are associated with the soul, in Joh. 13:21 with the spirit; cp. also Ps. . 42:11 with 1Ki. 21:5. In Ps. . 35:9 the soul rejoices in God, in Lu. 1:47 the spirit.

“Apparently, then, the relationships may be thus summed up ‘Soma, body, and pneuma, spirit, may be separated, pneuma and psuche, soul, can only be distinguished’ (Cremer).”* [* From notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 205-207.]

My thoughts:

So, if I am reading this correctly, distinguishing between soul and spirit is not always possible.  They are both housed within the body and have many of the same characteristics.  They are not totally separated in the Greek and Hebrew, often used interchangeably.  When split apart in a sentence, it appears to be done to ensure every part of man is understood.  An example:

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  ~Thess. 5:23.

The point being, may “every bit” of us be separated for God and be found without blame when Jesus returns to earth.

We also see in Hebrews 4:12 it is the word of God that is able to divide the soul and spirit.  His word will speak to us in the innermost parts of our being.  His word will lead us to truth as Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth, Your word is truth.”

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Can we know God apart from His word? I’m not so sure. If we have created a god contrary to His word,  he must be a false god. Only the word of God is truth. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.