The Three Parts of Man—Spirit, Soul, and Body


We human beings are complicated. Every one of us is unique, with different backgrounds and personalities. But with respect to how God created us, we’re actually all the same. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that we were all created with three basic parts: a spirit, a soul, and a body:

“And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This simple diagram illustrates these parts, showing the body as our outer part, which can be seen, the soul as our inward part, and our spirit as our innermost, hidden part.

Three parts with different purposes

Now let’s discuss each of these three parts and their corresponding functions.

Our body through its five senses contacts the visible, touchable, tangible things of the material world. It’s the most outward and visible part of our being, and by it we exist and experience the things in the physical realm. But of course, we’re more than just a physical body.

Our soul, though unseen, is just as real as our body. By our soul, we experience things in the psychological realm. In fact, the Greek word for soul in the Bible is psuche, which is also the root word of psychology. Our soul is composed of our mind, which enables us to do things like think, reason, consider, remember, and wonder; our emotions, which enable us to have feelings like happiness, sorrow, anger, relief, and compassion; and our will, which enables us to choose and make decisions. Our mind, emotion, and will make up our soul, which is our personality, who we are within.

But we are even more than just a body with a soul within. We have a part that’s deeper than our soul—our spirit, which is the deepest and most hidden part of our being. By our spirit we can contact the spiritual realm. No other creature was created with this third part, the spirit, within. By our spirit God is real to us and we can contact Him, receive Him, contain Him, and fellowship with Him.

Why we have a spirit

God created us with a spirit because He wants to know us, have a relationship with us, and even live in us.

Not only was our spirit made for God, but our spirit also has the ability to contact, receive, and worship God. As John 4:24 says,

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”

John 3:6 tells us that we are born of the Spirit in our spirit. After we are born of God, we continue to contact and worship Him by our spirit.

God’s purpose for all three parts

God’s desire for us is that we human beings with all three parts would be vessels to contain and express Him. As we saw, God’s purpose is to come into our spirit to fill it with Himself. When we believe in Jesus Christ, He comes to live in us as our new life. He is in our spirit as the new Person in us so that He would be expressed through our entire being: spirit, soul, and body. This all begins when we receive Him into our spirit and are regenerated, or born again.

Formerly, before Christ came into us as the new life in our spirit, our soul was our leading part. We pretty much did everything by the thoughts and desires of our soul. We made decisions with our soul based on our own thoughts and considerations, our own feelings, and our own discernment. Whether we lived a good life or a bad life, a moral life or an immoral life, we lived a life in the soul.

But God’s desire is that once we’re saved, with a new life and with Christ as our new person living in us, our spirit would become the leading part of our being, not our soul. When we live by our spirit, our soul begins to express God’s life instead of our own.

Every day, even every moment, we have a choice. We can live by the old, independent life of our soul, or we can live by Christ as the new life and Person in our spirit. We can choose to allow our spirit to be our leading part, using our will to turn our mind to our spirit and to take in God’s living Word, allowing our emotions to be awakened and stirred to love God, and presenting our body to live a proper human life.

God’s intention in giving us three parts—a spirit, soul, and body—was that we would be vessels to contain Him and express Him. By choosing to live by our spirit, our third part, our soul and even our body will function together to fulfill God’s purpose.

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14 thoughts on “The Three Parts of Man—Spirit, Soul, and Body

  1. This is a very helpful post, not only in showing that we were created with three parts (body, soul, and spirit), but also showing WHY it is important that we were made this way. God created us in a unique way so that He could live in us and that we could express Him. For this to be worked out, we must choose to allow our spirit to be our leading part.

  2. I agree with u bro. It has made me to really understand how God created us and the reasons why it is important to be aware of our spiritual being

  3. Thank you for explaining the 3 parts of man in a simplistic manner. I realize I needed to remember just who I am in Christ and what our purpose on earth really is.
    I am a spirit, I only live in a body, I have the spirt of God and the mind of Christ.

  4. I am in AWE. This has helped me. You explained it so good. I now know who I am and what every purpose of me means. Now when you graft the beatitudes and fruits of the spirit with this knowledge its explosive. Thank you again. Great teaching.

  5. I thank God the Father and my Lord Jesus Christ for the knowledge of the body soul and spirit and it’s functions.

  6. I was so confused of who I am? What Am I ? Untill God reveal to me since 2008, after I got born again. Am so blessed, by this very revelations, and since then God has been using me to share this very truth, which I have a feeling, that every born again person need to know to experience more of our Heavenly Father’s Love for each one of us.

  7. Thank you for this simple explanation of spirit, soul, and body. I was able to use this illustration in ministering to a person about walking in the soulish realm verses the spirit! Great post!

  8. Thank you for explaining the body soul and spirit. Now I can understand clearly. There was an great explaining of the body soul and spirit from a great Pastor here in Atlanta Ga I understood a lil but now after reading this now I understand what the Pastor was saying? And this is why Satan hates us we’re created in the image of God and when our soul gett inline with our spirit and then the flesh will die this is a daily process. Again thank you!🙏🏽👍🏾❤️❤️❤️

  9. I truly enjoyed this post and the writing of God’s clear purpose for the spirit of man. The soul of man continually seeks to appease its selfish appetites and that journey will only the bring temporary pleasure of sin which leads to death. However, when we chose to live by the spirit we will enjoy a peace that surpasses all understanding. Thanks for providing this awesome work. May our Lord continue to use you.

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