Doctrines of Salvation Study Lesson #3 The Body, Soul, and Spirit

Doctrines of Salvation Study

 Lesson #3 : The Body, Soul, and Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The subject for this lesson is the body, the soul, and the spirit of man. In this lesson we will look to the word of God and identify each of these three parts as well as show where they go when a person dies. This will give us a good understanding for the subject in the next lesson of this series which is spiritual circumcision.

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.”

According to this verse we see that man has 3 parts the body, the soul, and the spirit. This verse also shows us that these 3 are not the same. Below we will give a brief description of each one of these parts.


The body is the easiest part to define the body is the flesh. It is the part that we look at every day in the mirror. This is what we see when we look at one another, I cannot see your soul or your spirit, but I can see you flesh.


The soul is the real you and has a bodily form that is on the inside of your physical body. The soul cannot be seen with the natural eye, but it is still there. A good way to see this in the scriptures is by looking at the death of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. The rich man who went to hell in Luke 16:19-31 had eyes and a tongue and a body of some kind. He also had a memory and knew things. Therefore, we say that the soul is who you really are. It is kind of like if you take off all your clothes you are still, so the flesh is clothing for the soul and once the flesh is removed at death you are still you. Another good reference for showing that the soul is a bodily form is found in Revelations 6:9-11. Notice here that the souls under the altar are given white robes to wear. So, we see from this that the soul can wear a robe therefore it must have a bodily form.


In Proverbs 20:27 the spirit of man is said to be the candle of the Lord. But what does this mean? When we look at Job 18:5-6 ; Job 21:17 ; and Proverbs 24:20 we see that when someone dies it is referred to as their candle being put out. So, the spirit of man is life from God. This is the reason that Jesus is said to light everyman that comes into the world John 1:9, not everyman born is saved but he is given life. Jesus Christ is life, and this life was the light of men (John 1:4). The spirit of man is also connected with life in James 2:6. Therefore we will define the spirit of man as life from God.

The teaching that man is a 3 part being makes sense because God is a 3 part being. God is a trinity (1 John 5:7) and when he created Adam, he created him in his image. Note how the 3 parts of man are listed in Genesis 2:7.

            1) The dust of the ground (The body)

            2) The breath of Life (The spirit)

            3) A living soul (The soul)

Some teach that the soul and the spirit are the same thing. But this will not work when one looks at the scripture. First look at our main text 1 Thessalonians 5:23 they are listed separately. Next look at Hebrews 4:12 this verse says that the soul and the spirit can be divided between therefore they are not the same thing. So, it is scripturally clear that they are not the same.

The next question becomes what happens to these parts of man when he dies? We will discuss each of these three parts individually for both a saved person and a lost person.


This one is easy, according to Genesis 3:19 the flesh goes back to dust. This is true for both a saved person and a lost person. It doesn’t matter what you do to the body eventually it goes back to dust.


According to Ecclesiastes 12:7 the spirit returns to God who gave it. Now this is true for both a saved person and a lost person. Remember that a lost person’s spirit is dead therefore what does it matter whether it goes back to God even though the person is lost. Another good scripture for this is Matthew 10:28. Notice how the verse talks about destroying the body and soul in hell but does not mention the spirit. That is because the spirit goes back to God who gave it.


When a saved person dies today their soul goes to heaven (2 Corinthians 5:6-8). For a lost person who dies without the Lord Jesus Christ the soul goes to Hell (Luke 16:22-23). Remember the soul is who you really are, and it has a bodily form. In essence the soul of man is immortal it will live forever in heaven or hell depending on what you do with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now a good example for this is found in Luke 23:39-54 concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ had the same 3 parts as all men a body, a soul, and a spirit. The only difference was that he had God’s blood and had never sinned. But when he died his body went in the tomb (Verse 53). His spirit went back to God (Verse 46). Now his soul went into the heart of the earth. He told the repentant thief in Verse 43 that today he would be with him in paradise. At that time paradise was in the heart of the earth and that it why Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 that as Jonas was 3 days in the belly of the whale, so shall the son of man be 3 days in the heart of the earth. Therefore, Jesus is an example to prove to us what we have already said concerning what happens to the 3 parts of man when he dies.

With all that we have said concerning the body, soul, and spirit it is plain to see that the soul is the most valuable part of man. It is what will spend eternity in heaven or an eternity in the lake of fire. Where your soul spends eternity will depend on whether you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior, and this is why Jesus said what he did in Mark 8:36.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Doctrines of Salvation Study

 Lesson #3 : The Body, Soul, and Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

1)  What are the 3 parts of man according to 1 Thessalonians 5:23?

2)  Give a brief description of each part.

3)  Give a verse for showing that the Soul and Spirit are not the same.

4)  What do we see from Genesis in regards to man having 3 parts?

5)  List what happens to all 3 parts of man when he dies. Give references.

6)  How is the Lord Jesus Christ an example of what happens when a man dies?

7)  What is the most important part of Man? Explain why.