How Are the Body, Soul, and Spirit Connected?

Our body, soul, and spirit are created by God for His glory. They are connected to each other in relation to our well-being, to our work and ministry, to our worship or devotion to God, and ultimately to God’s salvation. Contributing Writer
Oct 06, 2021
How Are the Body, Soul, and Spirit Connected?

This question assumes a tripartite nature of human being, which consists of a material part (body) and immaterial parts (soul and spirit), in contrast to a bipartite view, which believes that man was originally a unity in the duality of body and soul/spirit (used interchangeably).

Biblical Support for the View of Humanity

The scriptural basis for this view can be found in both the Old and New Testaments.

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7, KJV).

From this verse, we can learn that God created man’s body from the dust of the ground, and the word “breath” (Hebrew: neshamah) refers to the spirit (Proverbs 20:27), and through these creative works, man became a living soul (Hebrew: nephesh).

In Job 12:10, we can also see the distinction between soul and spirit, in which the “life” of every creature is referred to as “soul” (nephesh), while the “breath” of every human being as “spirit” (ruah, the same word used in Proverbs 18:14).

This revelation was affirmed by Paul, as he wrote what turned out to be the most popular verse that supports this view:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23, KJV).

This verse clearly tells us that humans are composed of body and soul and spirit (of which Paul prayed that God will wholly sanctify and preserve every Christ’s believer blameless at His coming).

The Roles of the Human Body, Soul, and Spirit

The body is the physical structure of a person, including the bones, flesh, and organs. Every cell of our bodies has a very detailed, unique genetic code carried by a long molecule called DNA, which instructs the cells to develop, function, grow, survive, and reproduce. It is through our bodies that we perceive the physical world using the five senses — the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

The soul is the immaterial part of a human being, often regarded as immortal, which gives us personality. Our souls perceive the psychological realms through our minds, emotions, and wills.

A well-summarized description of the human soul is: “Our soul is our personality, who we are. With our soul we think, reason, consider, remember, and wonder. We experience emotions like happiness, love, sorrow, anger, relief, and compassion. And we’re able to resolve, choose, and make decisions” (Bibles for America).

The spirit is the immaterial part of a person that connects and communicates with God, who is a Spirit (John 4:24). Humans are the only earthly creature who possesses a spirit, which is the breath of life from God Himself (Genesis 2:7).

Therefore, the human spirit can perceive spiritual realms or matters and the things of God. The human spirit is the deepest part of a person.

The Connections Between the Body, Soul, and Spirit

Now, the Scripture says that we are fearfully and wonderfully created by God, in His own image.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well (Psalm 139:14, NKJV).

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27, NKJV).

Our bodies, souls, and spirits collectively define our existence. Despite the different parts and roles, however, they are connected and influential to each other, and here we will see the connections between the body, soul, and spirit.

1. In Relation to Our Health or Well-Being

Science has revealed that our minds, emotions, and wills are connected to the body through our endocrine, nervous, and immune systems, in a very complex way.

Good physical health is related to emotional health. A popular classical Latin phrase mens sana in corpore sano, meaning “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” is often used in sporting and educational contexts to emphasize the importance of physical exercise for mental and psychological well-being.

The Bible affirms there is a strong connection between our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. For example, it is written, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22, NIV). This verse tells us that the conditions of our souls and spirits affect our physical health.

2. In Relation to Our Work and Ministry

Paul also realized the importance of physical discipline in his ministry (evangelism): “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NKJV).

Even Jesus revealed the importance of harmony between the body and spirit, especially in prayer times as he warned his disciples: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41, NKJV).

Jesus understands that we need a work-life balance. He commanded us to work (John 6:27; 9:4) and rest in Him (Matthew 11:28). This means that Jesus recognizes and takes care of our whole being, that is our body — soul — spirit connections.

3. In Relation to Our Worship or Devotion to God

It is a common belief that God is more concerned with our inward being than outward appearance. While it is true that the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), this does not mean that He is not concerned with our bodies.

In fact, the Bible tells us that we truly and properly worship God by offering our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and pleasing to Him:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1, NIV).

As believers, our bodies are temples of God’s Spirit, so we are to honor Him with our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and offer every part of ourselves to Him as an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13).

When we come to God in worship, we express our thanksgiving with our souls through songs of praise to Him, for who He is and for what He has done in our lives, as Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47, NIV).

Now, interestingly, just as our physical bodies are endowed with five senses, our souls are also endowed with spiritual senses as we are born again by putting our faith in Jesus Christ.

The Bible gives examples, which demonstrate that we have actually been given capabilities to discern spiritual matters (or the things of God) through these spiritual senses of sight (Psalm 34:8; Matthew 5:8), hearing (Romans 10:17), touch (Matthew 9:29), smell (Philippians 4:18; Ephesians 5:2; 2 Corinthians 2:15), and taste (Psalm 34:8; 1 Peter 2:3).

In other words, we can experience God’s manifested presence in worship through these spiritual senses: see His heart, hear His voice, feel His touch, smell His love (as we walk in love by presenting a fragrant offering and sacrifice to Him, according to Ephesians 5:2), and taste His goodness in our lives.

4. In Relation to God’s Salvation

God’s complete salvation encompasses man’s entire being. His plan includes regeneration in our spirit, transformation in our soul, and transfiguration of our body.

As the first step, He regenerates man’s spirit through new birth, which happens at the moment of salvation, when man receives and believes in Jesus Christ (John 3:5-6). In this new birth, God’s own life (i.e., the Holy Spirit) is added to our spirit. This new birth is also the fulfillment of God’s promise, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you” (Ezekiel 36:26, NIV).

As a result of regeneration, a change in life began to take place at the center of our being. This transforming work is carried out through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), giving us the desire and power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13) and ultimately conforming us to the glorious image of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Following the lifelong process of transformation in our soul, God will culminate His salvation process by transfiguring our mortal bodies (1 Corinthians 15:52-53; Philippians 3:21). This transfiguration of our body is the ultimate consummation of God’s salvation.

The goal of this whole process is to make us the same as Christ in all three parts of our being.

What Does This Mean?

Our bodies, souls, and spirits are created by God for His glory. In Christ Jesus, we are God’s workmanship, so we are to honor God with our bodies, praise and magnify Him with our souls, and worship Him in spirit and truth.

Spirit is what gives life. We are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ. This living and saving faith should be manifested in good works, otherwise, it is a dead faith – just as the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26).

Let us dedicate our entire being to please His heart and glorify His name. Amen.

For further reading:

Spirit, Soul, and Body – How God Designed Us

Biblical Support for the Tripartite Man

What Is the Difference Between a Soul and a Spirit?

What Are the Fruits of the Spirit?

What Does ‘Your Body Is a Temple’ Really Mean?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Maria Korneeva

Philip Wijaya, Ph.D. currently lives in Vancouver, Canada with his wife, Sandra, and their daughter, Shalom. His interest in science and faith in God has motivated him to actively write in his personal blog (, in addition to his professional research work in the area of clean energy and chemical engineering. In his leisure time, he enjoys sports, football games, music, and traveling with family.

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