Three Faculties of the Human Spirit

Since Watchman Nee’s writings convey the trichotomy of man, this is likely the majority view of the fast-growing unregistered church in China. Nee’s associate, Witness Lee, described the faculties of the human spirit (what ontologically distinguishes humans from animals) in this way:


Just as our body has many parts, so does our spirit and our soul. Our spirit is composed of three: conscience, fellowship, and intuition. The conscience is for us to discern right from wrong, to justify or to condemn. Romans 9:1 compared with Romans 8:16 proves that the conscience is a part of our spirit. Fellowship is for us to contact God and to commune with God. This is shown in John 4:24 and Romans 1:9. Intuition means to have a direct sense or feeling in our spirit, regardless of reason or circumstance. First Corinthians 2:11 indicates that our spirit can know what our soul cannot. Our soul knows by reason or by circumstance, but our spirit can perceive without these. This is intuition, the direct sense in our spirit.

The Parts of Man, chapter 1,

Rather than using the term “parts,” I recommend the term “faculties.” This clarifies that man has only three distinguish- able “parts,” yet each part has faculties. The spirit is the base of intuition, conscience and fellowship (communion), whereas the soul is the seat of mind, will, and emotions.

Lee’s approach refers to individual verses to substantiate the spirit/soul distinction. These cited references do illustrate and confirm these aspects of the human spirit. However, a primary principle to classify these higher faculties as related to the human spirit is that they are higher in functioning and capacity than any animal.

1 thought on “Three Faculties of the Human Spirit

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s