The Threefold Nature of Man

1 Thessalonians 5:23  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.

There are some Bible teachers that say man is made up of only two parts, a spiritual part and a physical part. The body and the spirit. They state that the soul is actually the entire being when the body and spirit come together. They use the Scripture in Genesis that states:

Genesis 2:7  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.

When the spirit is breathed into the flesh, man becomes a living soul. Therefore they use this Scripture to state that the soul is what the man as a whole is instead that man has a body, soul and spirit. There are many Scriptures that we could use to weigh into this issue, but let’s look at the definitive Scriptures which answers all questions.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

In this verse it shows us that the soul and spirit can be divided. Therefore they are not one and the same. You can only divide something that is unified and also distinct. A husband and wife are one and yet unfortunately, they can be divided. However, a husband himself cannot be divided because he is a simple unity. Something that is divided can be divided because it is a compound unity. The Word of God is so powerful that it can separate the unified soul and spirit.

Now, let’s look and see the difference between the spirit and the soul according to the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 2:11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The verses preceding speak of the plans that God has for us. Our human spirit knows our plans, thoughts, and purposes. Our spirit “knows” and therefore we can conclude that the human brain is connected to the human spirit. In fact, it is the spirit that knows and this spirit is connected to our body via our brain. Since the spirit is the place where knowledge resides we can conclude that our spirit has various abilities or senses. Our spirit can reason, imagine, determine right from wrong (conscience), remember things (memory), and like or dislike things (affection).

1 Corinthians 16:18  For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such.

Our spirit can become weak and tired and need refreshing. We have all experienced at various times in our lives when our mind becomes worn and weary. Then a friend or relative comes whom you enjoy, and they are able to refresh you with their fellowship.

2 Corinthians 2:13  I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.

2 Corinthians 7:13  Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.

We’ve experienced this where we are searching for someone but cannot find them. We become restless in our spirit and feel compelled to keep searching. When he is finally found, how much comfort do you take, especially from a dear friend that wishes to serve and minister the Word to you? You literally have a revival in your spirit.

2 Corinthians 7:1  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Here we read that the flesh and the spirit can have filthiness and need to be cleansed by the Spirit of God. It is our human flesh and spirit that become filthy through sin. We see then that it is not merely the flesh that is impacted by the nature of sin, but that the human spirit is also impacted and defiled by sin.

Ephesians 4:23  And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

The very spirit of our mind needs to be renewed by the regenerative powers of the living God within us. He says it is not merely the mind, but the spirit of your mind; all of its faculties and powers must be thoroughly and completely renewed from start to finish. The human spirit is connected to the human mind and all its faculties. It is stained by the nature of sin and needs to be cleansed. It grows tired and weak and needs refreshing.

Let’s look more closely at the human soul. Throughout the Scriptures the word soul can speak of the whole person, as the real you, and as an inner faculty. Let’s begin to look at some Scriptures.

Matthew 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Here we see that the soul is distinct from the body. The body can die, but the soul goes on living. God can kill the soul or in other words, put it to death in hell.

John 12:27  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

The Lord Jesus was praying and in his prayer confessed that his soul was troubled. This shows that since his soul felt trouble, thus his soul had senses. It felt troubled. Our soul can be in turmoil over difficulties as it interacts with our spirit.

Revelation 18:14  And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

In this case the soul lusted after wicked things. The soul therefore can possess the nature and seat of cravings.

1 Corinthians 2:14-15  But the natural (soulish) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

1 Corinthians 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God. A man that is governed only by his own soul cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God. Only the spiritual man can receive the things of the Spirit of God. That doesn’t mean that we receive them via our human spirit, rather it speaks of the necessity that we receive the Holy Spirit and be made alive in Christ. In that state we can receive the things of God. From these three verses we see we have the natural man (soulish man), the spiritual man, and the carnal man. Neither the carnal nor the soulish can receive the things of God. Only the spiritual man can do so.

2 Peter 2:12  But these, as natural (soulish) brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

Again, it is governed by the nature of the soul, and here it is connected to a negative connotation. Paul also connects it to a negative. We can see that the governing nature of a man is in his soul. Therefore, we say that the soul is the nature of the spirit. Brother Branham says in the sermon Souls That Are In Prison Now:

And the soul is something that’s the—the nature of the spirit. And then when the nature of a man… When he said, “We are dead,” the Scripture plainly tells us that, “we are dead, and our lives are hid in God through Christ, sealed there by the Holy Spirit.” Now, it wasn’t that your body died; it wasn’t your spirit died. It was the nature of your spirit died; see, the nature, which is the soul. The nature of your soul is—is God, if you’re born again. If it’s not, it’s of the world.

It is the soul that governs the behavior of the man. The soul is the control tower. I want to briefly connect this to genetics. Everything that we are is a result of how the genetics of our parentage came together. This DNA dictates our physical, mental, and natural aspects. It impacts our body, spirit and soul. Hence, Levi paid tithes when he was still in the loins of his father Abraham. Our genetics are passed down generation to generation, starting with Adam and the Serpent. These genetics became mixed into the human race through the mixing of the sons of God (Adam’s line through Seth) and the daughters of men (the Serpent’s line through Cain). In Future Home brother Branham says, “Adam was a direct descent from God. And you only take the nature of your parent.” Your genetics come from both of your parents. Our parents are sinners and therefore we receive the nature of sinners. I want you to notice that within the soul there are two natures for those that are elect of God.

If somebody back there would say, “William Branham, he was a rank rascal,” see, because I was born of Charles and Ella Branham. In their nature I was a sinner, I came to the world, a liar, and all the habits of the world laid right in me. But down in there, too, was another Nature present, see, predestinated, was in there by God. In this same body, see, two natures in there.

It is within our soul that we have an evil and wicked nature. It is also within the soul that the elect have a gene from God that can be quickened to eternal life. These natures are passed down as DNA through our ancestors.

It is our body that has the senses that connect to this natural world; see, taste, feel, smell and hear. Then it is our spirit which contains the mental faculties; reason, affection, conscience, memory and imagination. It is our soul that has the nature which governs the behavior of our spirit and body. If that nature is simply natural to this world then it is a wicked nature, yet it has a desire to worship, to connect with people, etc. When that nature dies and we are born again, now the DNA or gene of God within us is quickened to life and it becomes dominant over the wicked nature.