By Richard Seymour, D. D.
3. The Major Divisions of Man’s Being.
a. The question – Does man’s being consist of two or three divisions?
(1) Is he “dichotomous”?
(2) Is he “trichotomous”?
b. There are many passages in the Bible where the terms, “souls” and “spirit” are practically synonymous, designating simply the immaterial part of man. (cf. Jn.11:33 and 13:21 with Matt. 26:38)
(1) Those departed from this life are sometimes called “souls” (Rev. 6:9)
(2) Sometimes called “spirits”. (Heb. 12:23)
c. There are some passages where the Bible presents man as a dichotomous
being. These expressions simply mean the “material and immaterial part
(1) Body and soul. (Matt.10:28)
(2) Body and spirit. (James 2:26)
d. There are other passages that make a clear distinction between soul and
spirit, indicating that they are not the same. (1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12)
(1) This is further illustrated in the Life of Christ, where we note in the
Gospels that He had a body (Jn. 19:38-40), a soul (Jn. 12:27) and a spirit (Jn. 13:21).
e. The soul is the immaterial part of man which reacts to self, and to the
environment of natural life.
f. The spirit is the immaterial part of man which enters into relationship with God. The spirit of an unsaved man is dead.
g. The body is the house in which we live.
h. The most accurate statement is that man is a soul and spirit, and possesses a body, in which he may be “at home: or from which he may be “absent”. (2 Cor. 5:1-8)
– R. Seymour, Systematic Theology, p. 46