A gracEmail subscriber asks: “What is your understanding of man as body, soul and spirit?”
* * *
The words most commonly translated as “spirit” in the Scriptures of both Old (Hebrew: ruach) and New (Greek: pneuma) Testament are also the words for “wind” and “breath.” When someone dies, the “spirit” (breath, life-force) returns to God who gave it (Psalm 104:29-30; Acts 7:59).
There is no reason to suppose from this that the disembodied “spirit” is conscious or even self-consciousness — certainly not that it is death-proof/immortal. On the other hand, the Risen Jesus Christ lives in believers by his Spirit, leading some scholars to expect a conscious “intermediate state” for them between death and the resurrection.
In Paul’s writings in particular, the human “spirit” sometimes refers to the godly impulse resulting from God’s indwelling Holy Spirit and contrasts with the “flesh” or sinful impulse resulting from the Fall (Romans 8:4, Galatians 5). Jesus also contrasts “spirit” with “flesh” with similar meaning (John 6:63).